Hosting a large event can be a stressful task for even the most experienced planners. Keeping track of the many moving parts throughout the day is an important job that’s not to be taken lightly. Rather than attempting to manage the catering aspect of an event all on your own, consider working alongside Judi Sommerfeld, catering manager at Budd Bay Cafe, who’s eager to lend a helping hand.

Budd Bay Cafe Interior
Try out a few dishes at Budd Bay Cafe before hiring them to cater an event. Photo courtesy: Budd Bay Cafe

Judi moved to the Olympia area from Nashville in 2010 with her now husband, Kirk Sommerfeld. Having been involved in either catering or event planning and production, including wedding planning, for the past 27 years, Judi is well versed in the field. “Nashville is a huge event market, which allowed me to work on all levels and types of events over the years,” explains Judi. “I sometimes think that I’ve seen just about everything. For example, I’ve grilled dinner for 200 people in the middle of a corn field and produced a wedding for 1,600 guests from four states away. The worst thing someone can say to me is ‘It can’t be done,’ because if there is a budget, it can be.”

One of Judi’s biggest beliefs is that it’s the vendors responsibility to take on the duty of removing the stress of planning and executing events. “The only way to remove the stressors is through proactive systems and communication,” she says. From menu planning, decorations and flowers, to catering facilities and rentals, the well-equipped staff at Budd Bay Cafe take great pride in their preparation, presentation and service.

Budd Bay Cafe dinner menu at catered event
Budd Bay Cafe can help with menu planning, decorations, flowers, catering facilities and rentals to make your event one to remember. Photo courtesy: Budd Bay Cafe

When it comes to the catering, Budd Bay Cafe can help with everything from full scale weddings and legislative events to backyard barbecues and boxed lunches. Even if your event is not located in the Thurston County area, their catering services can travel to your destination. “Our catering team went to Tacoma, Willapa Bay, Pe Ell, Shelton and Winlock just in 2018,” says Judi. “We do charge for travel time, although the clients who wish to use our catering services are happy to pay for additional cost. If a selected location is more remote, there will be higher costs, although the price of a remote venue often offsets the travel time for the vendors.”

There are a wide variety of customers and clientele that Judi has worked with over the years. “A customer is someone who shops for a product and a client is one who buys that product repeatedly,” she says. “I always have a personal goal to nurture my customers into clients.” Budd Bay Cafe works alongside many crossover clients who use their catering services for both meetings as well as personal events.

All of the menus that are offered by Budd Bay Cafe include disposable service ware, serving utensils, and chafing dishes to serve up the delicious menu. Various Dinner Packages are available and include Italian Pasta Buffet, Summer Barbecue Buffet, Braised Tenderloin with Mushroom Demi Glaze and Rosemary Chicken or Marinated Flank Steak with Mushroom Demi, just to name a few. There are also many other options listed under their Breakfast and Lunch Packages, Appetizers, Build Your Own Lunch or Dinner Buffet and Dessert categories.

Budd Bay Cafe meat and cheese platter
Budd Bay Cafe offers many dishes for catered events that will delight the crowd. Photo courtesy: Budd Bay Cafe

Many clients have their own personal favorites that give them everything that they need, such as corporate meetings typically ordering the taco bar as it allows for all of the dietary restrictions – gluten free, lactose intolerant, vegetarian, vegan, and most food allergies. “If there are any dietary specifications on the front end of planning,” explains Judi, “we will include the items in the proposal. Last minute changes are always going to be something that we deal with, so if I can work with both the client and the chef ahead of time, it’s a win-win.”

The level of service for each event depends on the needs of the client. Depending on the venue and time frame, the Budd Bay Cafe staff can set up and take down the entire event once the meal has been served, or set up the buffet and return for clean up at a later time. Staff is kept onsite for any event that is going to require replenishing of the buffet line or if the client asks for that level of attention. For larger events, service staff is included to maintain buffet.

Budd Bay Cafe shrimp at event
Seafood is a crowd favorite at parties and Budd Bay Cafe offers many dishes that highlight the fare. Photo courtesy: Budd Bay Cafe

Additionally, Budd Bay Cafe is fully licensed to provide alcoholic beverages at most events. Pricing varies and is based on the type of bar, how many bartenders are needed, how long the event will run, and if it requires disposable or glass products. “We offer two types of bars: beer and wine or a full bar,” states Judi. “Bar options include cash bars, partially hosted or fully hosted. I work with the individuals on the details of who provides the alcohol, how much is needed, and what types. The upside of having us help with the bar is that we provide the liability insurance, manage the levels of consumption, plus, they don’t have to carry a lot of extra items home once the event concludes.”

Working with Budd Bay Cafe will provide clients with the reassurance that their event is in good hands and will be executed to the highest standards. For more information regarding catering services, visit the Budd Bay Cafe website or contact Judi Sommerfeld at 360-357-6963 or


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