Budd Bay Cafe’s Catering Manager Combines Experience with Passion to Help Events Serve Up Success


Are you or have you planned a wedding, work party, high school reunion, or other large event? If so, then you know all too well the stress that often comes with the honor of taking the lead as party planner. Rather than attempting to organize mouthwatering appetizers, drinks, a main course followed by a delicious dessert, on top of the dozens of other duties that are required of the job, consider partnering with Budd Bay Cafe for all of your catering needs.

Budd Bay Cafe catering manager Dan Merscher
New Budd Bay Cafe Catering Manager, Dan Merscher, implements his many years of restaurant experience to create the best services for clients. Photo courtesy: Budd Bay Cafe

Recently taking over as Catering Manager at Budd Bay Café is Dan Merscher. Dan was born in Port Angeles before moving to Olympia as a young child. “There’s an old saying we have around here, ‘it’s the water,’” explains Dan. “One drink of that artesian well water that Olympia is so famous for and I was hooked. I knew that this was home. I still can remember the whistle from the old brewery telling me it was time to head home for dinner.”

Dan’s restaurant career began in 2003 when he was hired to wash dishes at Anthony’s HomePort in downtown Olympia. While it was nice for him to be in his own little world in the back, Dan quickly realized that he wanted more out of his career. “I changed teams from back of house to front house as a busboy,” states Dan. “Early on, I noticed how working directly with the guests made it fun to come to work. I was making people smile with stupid jokes and genuine concern for how they were doing.”

When Anthony’s HomePort was ready to open their second location, Dan was first in line to apply. After an enjoyable three years at Anthony’s Hearthfire Grill, Dan proceeded to wonder what it might be like to work at an entirely new restaurant. Having seen an ad for a newly redesigned restaurant opening in Tumwater called Rivers Edge, he decided to make a change and apply. While at Rivers Edge, Dan quickly moved up the ladder to serving within his first year before being offered the position of shift supervisor within his second year.

Budd Bay Cafe catering at cafe
Budd Bay Cafe offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner packages; appetizers; build your own lunch or dinner buffets; and dessert to make your event deliciously easy. Photo courtesy: Budd Bay Cafe

“I stayed until February 2018 when I joined local restaurateur, Chis Knudson, as Director of Personnel at Well 80 Brewhouse,” says Dan. “Being part of the opening team at three, high-volume restaurants has taught me how to thrive in absolute chaos at times. It’s because of this that I have really found myself at home in the catering department.” After years of experience, Dan was eager to take over the catering department at Budd Bay Cafe in early October of 2019. Having worked with Patrick Knutson and Pam Oates at Budd Bay Café’s sister restaurant, Rivers Edge, Dan knew that he would be working alongside a strong team of owners that care about their community.

Dan is a proud dog dad of a 110-pound, 3-year-old mastiff-rottweiler named Brody and can often be found in his shop restoring a 1960 Volkswagen Kharman Ghia. When not chasing Brody around or working on his sometimes out of the box projects, Dan is excelling in his new position with Budd Bay Café.

As Catering Manager, Dan oversees anything from elaborate weddings to casual summer barbecues. Organizing everything from set up and take down of equipment, box lunches, onsite event staff, bar packages, and menu creation. Budd Bay Café also caters events outside of Thurston County, opening the doors for many different jobs and sometimes adding an additional layer of planning that Dan is always willing to assist with. “I once built a homemade t-shirt cannon for an event at Well 80 to give away swag for our one-year anniversary,” explains Dan. “The t-shirt cannon was so incredibly stupid, but it created a lasting memory for our guests. I want to do what I can to improve our community for the next generation and help plan memorable events both large and small.”

Budd Bay Cafe caterimg table of food
Dinner packages offered by Budd Bay Cafe’s catering team have scrumptious offerings including king salmon, carved prime rib and marinated steak. Photo courtesy: Budd Bay Cafe

One of Budd Bay Café’s most notable recent changes has been implementing a 24/7 cell phone contact number. Imagine finding out the day before your wedding that Uncle Jim is now vegan. With the 24/7 contact number now in place, customers are now able to shoot Dan and his team a quick text to adjust the menu or amend any other changes. “I’ve already had a client call two hours before their event was scheduled to start after realizing they hadn’t planned for dessert,” remembers Dan. “We were able to put together chocolate mousse cake for 40 people in about 10 minutes.” Peace of mind is something that we all can appreciate, and this direct line lets clients know that Budd Bay Cafe really is there for them at all times.

“A wise man once told me that service is the sale of a product and hospitality is how that product is delivered,” concludes Dan. Working alongside Budd Bay Cafe will give you the assurance that your catering needs are in good hands. For more information visit the Budd Bay Cafe website or contact Dan Merscher dan@buddbaycafe.com.


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