Local chefs and catering companies add dedicated event venues (via Smiley Pete Publishing)
by Tim Knittel
From the 15th floor of Chase Tower, Tom Evans, general manager and co-owner of Dupree Catering and Events, surveys the hustle and bustle of downtown Lexington. Behind him, a construction crew is equally hustling to complete the city’s newest — and highest — event venue, The Mane on Main.
Located in the former Lafayette Club space, The Mane on Main features rustic-chic décor with a refined, contemporary flair — not unlike the vibe of Lexington itself, which the design is meant to evoke. The space includes the Lexington Room, which can be used for meetings and presentations, as a bridal suite and for more intimate events; as well as the much larger East Side room, which is anchored by a rock-faced bar and can be configured for sit-down dinners, cocktail receptions, buffets or for nearly any purpose a party planner might need. There’s also a separate lounge area and audio-visual equipment to support live music, presentations, slide shows, live auctions and more.
“We can customize the space to any group that may come in,” Evans said.
Every room, including the 3,500-square-foot kitchen, features floor-to-ceiling windows that frame a panoramic view of downtown Lexington and beyond.
The venue’s kitchen is as large as Dupree Catering’s entire current facility on Delaware Avenue, Evans said. The need for a larger kitchen initially prompted the move, but when the opportunity arose to also acquire and build out a unique event space tied to the catering company, Evans and his partners, including Jeremy Ashby of the Azur Food Group, were quick to realize the potential benefits.
“We’ve been an off-premise caterer for 30 years, and catering chefs are often behind the scenes,” said Evans, who, along with his partners, purchased Dupree Catering from founder Harriet Dupree Bradley in 2014 and merged it with Azur Catering to form Dupree Catering and Events.
With The Mane on Main, Evans said the catering company can not only better showcase the talents of Executive Chef Jane Thompson and her culinary team in a more front-and-center fashion, but also enjoy a “home field” advantage when it comes to hosting and servicing events at the venue. The size of the venue — The Mane on Main can host up to 400 people for seated events, or as many as 500 in a cocktail setting — will also allow the company to accommodate larger events that might otherwise locate at one of the area’s hotels.
“We can capture a piece of the business that we weren’t getting before,” Evans said.
Source: Smiley Pete Publishing