Food-o-File

Small-Business Holiday Ideas

'Tis the season for planning that holiday party, and have I got some great ideas – the good news is that all these businesses still have some holiday dates available if you act quickly!

• Sicola's – A Culinary Experience, 5416 Parkcrest, 323-6907. This cozy Northwest Austin event venue comes complete with custom menus designed by chef Stephen Sicola and wine consultation from manager Melanie Wiltz. The restaurant location can accommodate 40-45 guests for a seated meal and 65-70 for a cocktail reception. Chef Sicola also offers entertaining interactive cooking classes complete with wine-pairing suggestions. They do off-premise catering, as well. Check out photos of the facility and sample menus at www.sicolas.com.

• Ciao Chow Catering Special Events Center, 6019 N. I-35, 301-4443. Culinary Academy of Austin graduate chef Mark Brad­ley is one of the few Austin caterers with his own mobile kitchen – a completely tricked-out former UPS truck bearing the company logo. When Bradley's business volume outgrew the truck, he began searching for a commercial kitchen and discovered 1,000 square feet of kitchen space attached to a former restaurant location in a strip center at the corner of North I-35 and Highway 290. The price was right, so he set about turning the restaurant interior into a functional, attractive special-event venue offering 1,500 square feet of meeting and reception space. Ciao Chow can seat 50-75 guests inside and another 60 on the outside patio, where smoking is permitted, or it can accommodate 100-150 for cocktail receptions. Chef Bradley will customize menus for any event or dietary restriction (ask about his gluten-free menus), or you can rent the venue and hire other caterers. Check out the building's floor plan and some sample menus at www.ciao-chow.com.

• Eastside Cafe, 2113 Manor Rd., 476-5858, and Yellow Tape Performance Company. These two Manor Road neighbors have come up with an ingenious plan to offer small businesses or groups a unique holiday celebration opportunity. Groups of 12-30 can enjoy a two-course dinner with a glass of wine at Eastside Cafe starting at 6pm and then make the short trip down the street to the Salvage Vanguard Theater, 2803 Manor Rd., where Yellow Tape is presenting The Ultimate Christmas Musical: The Musical!, an original mixed-media, interactive adult production, at 8pm. Thursday evenings, Dec. 6, 13, & 20; $90-110 per head, depending on the menu chosen. For reservations, contact Amanda Butterfield, co-artistic director, at 466-5221 or amanda@yellowtape.org.

• Fête Accompli, 917 W. 12th, 478-3383. Caterer Quincy Adams Erickson has a new company and a new base of operations in the former Gina's Kitchen near Downtown. She plans a retail operation for this space in early 2008, but during the holiday season she's catering events and preparing custom cocktail appetizer platters for clients to pick up. Call to discuss dates and menu offerings.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Food-o-File, small business, Sicola's, Ciao Chow Catering, Eastside Cafe, Yellow Tape Performance Company, Fête Accompli

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