A Kitchen, Anywhere

Picnic Basket Catering Collective: Three Distinct Caterers Under One Roof

The year was 1989. The owners of a deli at Constitution and Union were selling. Business partners Kathy Dreiling and Michelle Talarico wanted to buy.

“We didn’t have any money,” Dreiling says. “The odds were really against us.”

But they worked out a deal, then scraped together $1000 per year for four years with no interest—a total of $4000. Even then, Dreiling says, “it was tough to make those payments.” 

They kept the name, but transitioned the deli to a catering company. Picnic Basket grew steadily and over the last 35 years, Dreiling and Talarico added two other divisions to their thriving collective – Buffalo Gals Grilling and Catering and Cravings 5-Star Catering. This top-notch catering trio has served hundreds of thousands of meals and racked up award after award. 

What makes Picnic Basket Catering Collective different? While many local restaurants offer catering, Picnic Basket is a 100 percent off-premises catering company.

“I know what is involved in taking a kitchen 25 miles away or 100 miles away,” Dreiling says.

A stroll around the facility illustrates this point. Truck after truck. Multiple commercial-sized grills. A huge kitchen lined with refrigerators on wheels and shelves bearing hundreds of kitchen utensils, containers and appliances. A tasting room. Even a building solely dedicated to decorations, including live plants.

Outstanding Employees

The food speaks for itself. Equally important, founders and co-owners Talarico and Dreiling say, are their roughly 100 employees.

“They’re every bit as important an ingredient as any ingredient,” Talarico says. “They really just care about the quality.”

Dreiling agrees. Each of those employees were trained in-house. They know the food, the region, the side streets, how to get around traffic jams and how to quickly resolve other issues. In short, they know how to help orchestrate a successful event – whether it is for five or 5,000 people.

“They have a Swiss Army Knife and know where the nearest 7-11 is,” she says.

That’s important, Dreiling says, because catering isn’t simply about providing “some sort of knock-em-dead fancy” meals. It’s also about reliability and convenience – about making their clients’ lives easier.

“Really Good Food”

One collective; three catering companies serving three different styles of cuisine.

Picnic Basket

If you’re looking for casual, contemporary cuisine, the original Picnic Basket is simple, fresh and affordable.

Breakfasts range from breakfast enchiladas to omelet, benedict and waffle bars – and everything in between. Boxless lunches include various sandwich, soup and salad options. And there are lots of buffet, station and casserole options.

“People really love our lasagnas and our pollo verde,” Dreiling said, adding that the latter, a stacked enchilada casserole “built the kitchen.”


Upscale. Custom. Unique.

Have a dream? Cravings can bring it to life. No event is too big or too small. From intimate six-course dinners to black-tie cocktail parties to stunning wedding spreads, this is a one-stop shop rooted in presentation and creativity.

Think Tasmanian honey-glazed duck and oysters crudo. Cravings promises guests a “joyful culinary adventure.”

Buffalo Gals

Meats and vegetables sizzling over red oak, this Santa Maria-style barbeque traditional style dates back to the 1800s along the central coast of California. Dreiling fell in love with it during a visit with friends in San Diego and resolved to bring it to Colorado.

“They taught me everything about tri-tips,” she says. “I take a lot of pride in it… We do it exactly the way it’s supposed to be done.”

The secret is simple – equal parts black pepper, salt and granulated garlic for seasoning and high-heat grilling on-site on Buffalo Gals’ custom grills. Two hours from start to finish for beef, chicken, wild game, seafood or other main attractions. Tasty appetizers, salads and desserts round out the experience.

“It’s just really good food,” Dreiling says.

Facebook: @picnicbasketcatering
Instagram: @picnic_basket_catering_co

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