Lisa Stonehouse knows her way around the kitchen. Her mother’s cooking skills, or lack thereof, forced Stonehouse to learn how to make meals her and her brother would enjoy at a very young age. Over the years, those skills have served her well—and put her on the path that led to opening Stonehouse Catering.
Things started out small as she catered from her home in Shoreview. As the business grew, she moved into a commercial kitchen in Little Canada. Then in 2018, Stonehouse purchased the old North Oaks Car Wash building and turned it into a private kitchen with dining space, giving Stonehouse Catering a new home and the ability to try something a little different.
The new venue seats 50 people and can be rented out for small private events. Stonehouse Catering is also the preferred caterer for Kellermen’s Event Center and 7 Vines Vineyard. Stonehouse began doing mostly corporate events (still their bread and butter), but they’re branching out into a variety of events. “Now that we’re coming out of the pandemic, we’re starting to get a lot of weddings and other events,” Stonehouse says. “But corporate events are still big for us.”
Stonehouse’s approach to food service is unique. “We’re not just trying to feed the masses,” she says. “We’re a scratch kitchen with our own executive chef.”
Chef Adam Johnson, a working chef for over 15 years, is part-owner. He’s worked for a few Twin Cities restaurants and also served as private chef for the Pohlad family in its suite at Target Field. He joined the Stonehouse staff in 2018.
With the 2020 plans derailed by the pandemic (like many food-related businesses), Stonehouse Catering is finally able to sell ticketed events hosted at its venue. Customers can purchase a ticket in advance for an evening with a set menu and run a drink tab in addition to the ticket price. The open floor plan and bar-area seating give customers full view of the kitchen, where they can watch Johnson, and sometimes Stonehouse, cook. “These events offer a way for people to enjoy a nice evening, eat some good food and check us out,” Stonehouse says. “They get to see much of what happens behind the scenes in a commercial kitchen.”
All of the sauces and salad dressings are made in-house. During the holiday season, Stonehouse puts together gift baskets stuffed with the house-made sauces and dressings and other culinary delights. In the past, baskets have included caramel corn, candied pecans and seasoning blends. The seasoning baskets include a recipe customers can follow using the spices. Baskets can be purchased online at stonehousemn.com or at the White Bear Lake location.
Looking to book Stonehouse Catering for an event? The contact form is online. Keeping things personal is important to Stonehouse. “People start out as clients, but over time they turn into friends,” Stonehouse says. “Relationships are just as important to me as the food.”
Stonehouse Catering; stonehousemn.com