By Jacqueline Runice

Of course, you can spend hundreds on a sparkly outfit and drop even more for a a hosted party and perhaps a hotel room to sleep it off – or, you can get exceptional catering that will thrill friends and family while celebrating the denouement of 2017 for a lot less money and in complete comfort.  Impress with barbecue, good old Chicago style sandwiches, au courant poke bowls, fried chicken drenched in honey butter or a comforting Bohemian spread. If you’re lucky, there will be luscious leftovers on New Year’s Day.

Portillo’s
Various Chicagoland locations
(866) YUM-BEEF
www.portillos.com/index-catering.html

Who doesn’t love Chicago style hot dogs, Italian beef and Portillo’s chocolate cake? Portillo’s Fast Packs include pre-wrapped sandwiches (condiments on the side), salads, sides and desserts that are ready to eat. If you’re expecting a crowd, consider Portillo’s Home Kitchen offers a full catering menu served buffet style, ready to heat and serve at home. The menu features trays of Italian beef ($29.75); chopped salad ($23.99); Portillo’s Famous Chocolate Cake ($19.49); plus fresh pasta; barbecue ribs; veg and fruit trays; wings; sides like scalloped potatoes and roasted vegetables; entrees like chicken Marsala and eggplant Parm; and heating set-ups. 

Aloha Poke
843 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago IL 60657
(773) 242-9820
www.alohapokeco.com/catering

Fast casual Aloha Poke was born in Chicago and continues to enchant locals as evidenced by continuous lines at six locations throughout Chicago and Evanston. New Year’s Eve partiers who yawn at another sushi platter will go for fresh poke bowls: There’s P.Y.O.B. (Pack Your Own Bowl) which allows guests to create their own poke bowl with white rice, brown rice, mixed greens (choice of two), ten different vegetable/fruit toppings, and fresh ahi tuna or salmon or tofu ($130 per 3 pounds of fish, feeds 8-10); The Sumo Bowl is ($100) and feeds 8-10 people; and Bites & Lil’ Bowls are perfect for a celebration with passed bites ($60 for a dozen bites / $100 for a dozen bowls). Catering is available at all locations, but call about holiday hours and locations open for NYE.

Honey Butter Fried Chicken
3361 North Elston Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 478-4000 ext. 2
www.honeybutter.com

One of the most popular eateries in a town packed with ’em, Honey Butter Fried Chicken makes a perfect pairing with Champagne on New Year’s Eve. Put together a catering package that includes signature fried chicken (with melted honey butter, crispy and glazed wings, schmaltz smashed potatoes with chicaken fat gravy, yummy pimiento mac and cheese and crisp cabbage and kale slaw, among the choices. Open New Year’s Eve from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Related: Best Ways To Spend New Years Day With Your Family In Chicago

Bohemian House
11 West Illinois
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 955-0439
www.bohochicago.com 

Bohemian House aims to capture the joie de vive of Bohemian culture and if there’s a day to be lighthearted, it’s New Year’s Eve. Bring Central Europe to your Midwestern party: sweet and sour cabbage, buttered spatzle, roasted root veg, horseradish potato salad, schnitzel, bratwurst, paprikash, kolacky and more. Tell your guests that babushkas and endless smiles are encouraged!

Dineamic Group
Barrio, Siena Tavern, Public House
(312) 527-1065
www.dineamicgroup.com/privateevents.html

Most of Dineamic Group’s impressive eateries will be offering catering options on New Year’s Eve so you can order Siena Tavern’s famous gnocchi made by Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani,  Katsuji Tanabe’s tacos from Barrio or get both for a global gourmet experience. Get gastropub fare from Public House including nachos, burgers and wings and for dessert, go for some bomboloni from the West Loop’s Bar Siena and/or BomboBar.  All orders can be accommodated  as long as the order is placed a week in advance by emailing events@dineamicgroup.com.

Barbecue
Wicker Park ‘cue shop, Pork & Mindy’soffers Jeff Mauro’s smoked meats; signature pig candied-bacon; Buffalo Blue Hog Slaw; Chicago Smokehouse Beans; Fried Mild Giardiniera and Spicy Pickles; brioche, Italian, and bao buns; plus Mauro’s signature sauces. Wrigley BBQ has a fully customizable New Year’s Eve catering menu including smoked ham and full turkeys, jumbo whole chicken wings, chopped and sliced brisket and pulled pork platters for sandwiches, sliders and salads. Order sides like half or full pans of mac & cheese, coleslaw, mashed sweet potatoes, potato salad, baked beans and jalapeno corn bread, too. Smoke Daddy’s meats are slow smoked with apple, cherry and hickory woods and served with signature sauce. Choose a la carte or packages like Taste of the Daddy  -choice of ribs, two smoked meats and two side dishes. You can even add a roasted whole pig for $8.95 per person (20 person minimum).

Related: Best Unique Soup Spots In Chicago

Watch & Listen LIVE