At Catalyst Ranch, Chicago’s most creative meeting space, we try to anticipate our clients’ every need, so they can focus on their agenda and have the most innovative and productive off-site meeting possible. We want to fuel creative thinking and problem solving in a variety of ways. We start with an inspiring environment, plenty of coffee, tea, and cold beverages, and, of course, food. Lots and lots of food. Many visitors at the Ranch have expressed what a challenge it can be to eat healthy when they are traveling or in meetings all day, and we’re here to make it easy with options to suit every palate.

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Big Delicious Planet

We’re lucky to work with a fabulous caterer, Big Delicious Planet. Our friends at BDP deliver hot breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and appetizers made fresh in their West Town kitchen using many ingredients from their own herb and vegetable gardens. Big D can accommodate all dietary requests – gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegan, vegetarian – you name it, without sacrificing flavor. Yesterday, one of the special desserts was gluten-free chili chocolate chip cookies with lime icing!

In 2013, Big Delicious Planet became the first caterer in the nation to receive 4-star Certified Green Restaurant status and has been named “The Greenest Caterer in America” by the Green Restaurant Association! BDP has turned undeveloped vacant land into green space by building and planting vegetable & herb gardens. They now have two city lots with 50 raised beds of organic soil and a new beehive! At Catalyst Ranch, we pride ourselves on being a Green meeting venue, and Big D helps us achieve that mission. Don’t worry if you can’t eat every bite! All of our leftover food is donated to the Pacific Garden Mission.

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Eat your Breakfast!

My Grandma says, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and Grandmas are never wrong! That’s why many of our dedicated Ranch Hands arrive at the Ranch at 6:00 am to start carefully preparing your Continental Breakfast. We try to change it up so no two Continental Breakfasts are identical – who wants to have the same breakfast every day of a multi-day meeting? One of our Friendly Ranch Hands, Cam, picks up freshly baked pastries every morning from The Swedish Bakery in Andersonville.  YUM!! We serve those pastries along with bagels, artisan cheeses, fresh fruit, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, and hot and cold cereals. Our cereal bar is very popular with an awesome assortment of childhood (and yes, some grown-up!) favorites from Count Chocula to Cap’n Crunch.

At the beginning of this year, as many of the Ranch Hands were implementing healthier resolutions for 2014 in their own lives, we decided to offer even more healthy breakfast options so our clients can start their day right. We’ve added a bunch of new choices such as gluten-free granola and Greek yogurt to the breakfast bar along with a bunch of nutrient-rich mix-ins like chia seeds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds. So, grab one of our colorful quirky bowls, and make yourself an energizing breakfast of seasonal fruit, yogurt, and whatever else you need to seize the day!

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Snack Time

Snacks are a great way to keep your energy up throughout the day and to avoid overeating at mealtimes. We provide our guests with a basket of assorted snacks in the morning and then present our famous snack service in the common area each afternoon. We’ve added more healthy choices including mixed nuts, organic apple sauce, and dried fruit, but don’t you worry, all the goodies like candy bars, cookies, and chips are still in the mix! Our afternoon snack service is lovingly prepared each day by our creative Ranch Hands. The Ranch Hands chop up plenty of fresh veggies for dipping and a set out a wild whimsical assortment of sweet and savory treats from chocolate-covered coconut to flax-seed crackers to Korean BBQ pork jerky. Swing by the snack bar for that afternoon boost and finish your meeting strong!

Well, all this talk about food is making me hungry. I think I’ll wander down the hallway to see if my favorite berry trail mix is available! We’re always looking for fun new options to add to our offerings at the Ranch. What is your favorite snack to keep your energy up?