About Wendi’s Kitchen & Catering Services
Celebrating 10 Years of Service
Ever since I was a young girl, I have always had a passion for comfort food. This was the case from toasting marshmallows when I was two years old to grilling out as a teenager in a large family, and even to working food service jobs growing up. When you are used to such a big family in a small house, you learn to live off the land and the food that it blesses you with.
Much of what I learned about catering came from my twelve years working at the Longaberger Company. Having worked in multiple positions, eventually I took over their banquet and catering facility, which taught me food cost and how to manage an event from beginning to end. It was truly a working education. Not long after that work I came to Columbus and worked for Applebee’s, which taught me more about how to do high volume in a fast pace.
After a few years, I needed a break and stepped back for a few months. Then I ran into Mary Lou Callander.
Mary Lou knew me from my days at Longaberger; she actually sold baskets for them I had originally met her there. When I was doing a baby shower for a friend of mine, she recognized me and asked me what I was doing. I told her I was taking a break from everything and was cleaning apartments. She was disappointed to hear that I was not catering, because I loved it and did it well. Before I knew it, Mary Lou had me doing events at her home and also at the Thirsty Turtle (she owned it at the time). Also, I began operating a mobile concession stand selling all kinds of dishes and sandwiches. It was a huge success!
When I asked Mary Lou what I should name my business, I’ll never forget her response: “Duh? Wendi’s Wagon!” With my last name being Wagner with a mobile unit, to her it was a no-brainer! Mary Lou believed in me, and I would not be here today if it were not for her.
More catering projects with some new clients began to open up. On one day, we fed 1,200 people three different meals in two locations in less than twelve hours. It wasn’t long after that I was introduced to Kevin Gorham from the Pizza Cottage, who built a dream kitchen in Buckeye Lake. It was part of an operation that was closed down, and it was perfect for our needs, despite the distance from Columbus. We spent a lot of time on the road.
When the economy took a hit in 2009, it impacted the catering business. That’s when we decided to open the carry-out restaurant out of our operations center at Buckeye Lake. From that point on we slowly started picking up more corporate clients, in addition to private events such as weddings and parties. But we also knew that we needed a more central location.
I was introduced to Chip Brooks at Old 40 Tavern in Bexley, and we helped them get their kitchen up and running while still catering events. The catering just kept growing and growing and no advertising whatsoever. Not long after, the opportunity to partner in opening up a full kitchen for catering production and carry-out services. With a great acquisition of the kitchen equipment from Kevin Gorham in Buckeye Lake, and some major expansion and renovation, we are pleased to offer true, comfort food from Wendi’s Kitchen, made from only the freshest ingredients.