After 20 years in the dining and event planning industry, Julie Krause knows a good catering venture when she finds one. The former general manager of Patrick’s Grille is using her expertise to spearhead Patrick’s Catering & Events, a new business rising to meet the demand for a high-quality catering service in the area.
Krause developed her career in the industry at Pottawattomie Country Club in Michigan City, starting on the business side of the coin and making her way into special events and member services. It was through the club that she met Patrick Wilkins. After finding success in operating Club House Bar and Grill, Wilkins decided to open his own restaurant. He had the foresight to round up Krause, executive chef Rick Bruggeman, and a few others from the Pottawattomie Club team to join him. In 2015, Patrick’s Grille officially established itself as a Region destination, and Krause has been thrilled to be along for the ride.
“[Wilkins] brought the best of three worlds together and created this lovely restaurant,” Krause said. “He handpicked his staff and combined his love of travel with the caliber of service and experience he wanted to provide guests.”
Before Wilkins sought her out, Krause had been transitioning to the world of catering and sales for casinos. While she enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the casino, Krause knew she was making the right decision to come on board as general manager of Patrick’s Grille.
“At the casino, it was all a little impersonal. At Patrick’s, it’s like we’re all family,” Krause said. “[Wilkins’] support of Rick and myself is really what led to our success and happiness.”
The familial atmosphere makes it easy for the whole crew at Patrick’s Grille to feel at home in their roles, but Krause is excited to lift the lid on another endeavor. With Wilkins’ guidance and Bruggeman’s talent in the kitchen, Krause is streamlining all her managerial and catering skills to operate Patrick’s Catering & Events.
“It all started with our customer base,” she said of the company’s beginnings. “We first began catering for small, in-home dinners at customers’ requests, and then it dawned on us that there was a real need for higher end catering. It all just bloomed from there.”
Now, Patrick’s Catering & Events serves gatherings on scales small and large—from dinner parties to corporate fundraisers to festivals. Krause is training her replacement at Patrick’s Grille so that she can grow the business even more.
“We are full-service, which is definitely something that sets us apart,” Krause said. “We offer high-end appetizers, dinner, a full bar service, and we work with rental companies to organize additional arrangements like tents and tables.”
Krause said she enjoys the variety that comes with catering for so many different types of gatherings—one day she’ll cater to a crowd of 150, and the next she’ll serve an intimate group of 24 people.
“No event is too small or too big for us to work with,” she said. “Just because we offer a high-end experience doesn’t mean we’re not willing to work within a tighter budget. We can make it as fancy or as simple as you like it.”
The team hopes to keep growing in the wedding market and is looking forward to catering for Washington Park Zoo’s Zoobilee event on April 18 and Brew at the Zoo on June 8. According to Krause, Chef Bruggeman relishes any chance to get creative with the menu, and the zoo theme offers plenty of opportunities.
For more info on Patrick’s Grille and Patrick’s Catering & Events, visit their website or call (219) 873-9401.