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By Thea Theresa English

Ditch the cake: Go for a delicious food bar at your next party

Most parties have a cake, but how about ditching it for your next party and instead having a food bar? Food bars offer variety of delicacies for the guests, and this is especially helpful if some of your guests are picky eaters. You can have several mini food bars at the party or you can have one that reflects the theme of your party. For example, if you're going with a country western theme, you might have a barbecue or Tex-Mex bar at the party.

Pancake and crepes bar

This is an excellent choice if you are planning a pre-wedding brunch for family and friends. In addition to the pancakes and waffles you can place bowls of fresh berries, creme fraiche, honey, pure maple syrup, oranges and cups of hot coffee or tea for guests to have with the pancakes and crepes.

Fruit salad bar

Summer parties often feature light snacks and entrees, and a fruit salad bar is ideal for your summer celebration. Inside small and elegant white ramekins, place cupfuls of fruits that your guests might like, such as watermelon, strawberries, red grapes, peeled green apples, bananas and honeydew melon slices. On the main table of the bar, include some plain and flavored yogurt, honey, mint leaves and lemon juice for guests to put on the salad. You can also serve glasses of orange or apple juice based cocktails such as mimosas.

Iced coffee and brownie sundae bar

This food bar would appeal to both kids and grownups. On your table, place glasses filled with ice and then have pitchers of iced coffee in flavors such as mocha, caramel, coconut, and vanilla. On another table, you would have a large and fancy platter with the brownies on it, and then you would have different types of ice cream such as chocolate chip, strawberry and butter pecan. In small decorative bowls you can place toppings for the guests to choose from and these might include chocolate sprinkles, M&Ms, caramel sauce, hot fudge sauce and fruit toppings as well as nuts.

Seafood bar

If you are going for a healthy kick at the party, you can set up a seafood bar. On one table, you can have various shrimp dishes for guests to sample on small plates while on other tables you might have oyster dishes, lobster dishes and clam dishes. Include a variety of wines that guests can have with the food along with decorative napkins.

Southern comfort bar

The South is well known for its down-to-earth cuisine and if you are a Southerner who moved elsewhere, bring back memories of home with a Southern food bar. On a large table, you can have popular and simple dishes such as fried chicken, jambalaya, cheese grits, black eyed peas, cornbread and fried okra. Serve your favorite beers and lemonade or sweet iced tea with the foods.

These food bar ideas will keep your guests full and happy at your party. You should plan what you will include at the food bar a few weeks before the party and delegate some of the tasks when necessary to reduce stress.

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Graduation Party Food Bar Inspirations

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