Hungry for business

Above: A polenta square with goat cheese and pickled mushrooms is sure to impress the vegetarians in your group.

How to put on the perfect working lunch

By Eric Floyd, WAC Executive Chef

Eric Floyd WAC Executive Chef

Have you ever had buffalo wings at a business lunch? Me either. That’s because there’s food for a couch crowd and then there are meals for polished professionals. Don’t get me wrong, I love both. But when you want to run a productive meeting that fuels great ideas and lasts through lunch—or dinner—food selection is critical. That’s why I’ve been working on a few beautiful dishes that are sure to impress the next group you host at Torchy’s.

When putting on a business meal or work group, consider the following:

  • The atmosphere
  • The purpose
  • The food

Obviously, you want to choose food that’s delicious. You might also want to think about a theme. One of my favorites is Latin American. It offers a huge flavor profile while being relatively mess-free (most of the time).

Take our cochinita pibil pork. It may be difficult to pronounce, but these bone-in pork shanks will delight your meeting guests and keep the discussion rolling. Marinated and roasted in flavorful achiote paste, bright orange juice, and tart lime, the shanks are served with wine-braised red onions, queso fresco, and herbaceous cilantro oil. This dish bursts with Latin American flavor, and a stack of corn tortillas makes them easy to eat while powering through a full agenda.

Developing the perfect small-group menu also requires meeting the dietary restrictions of your guests. Chances are, you will have at least one vegetarian in your group. They might like my new crispy golden polenta square laced with earthy goat cheese and topped with an assortment of pickled mushrooms, rich sea salt butter, and a smattering of fragrant herbs. It’s visually striking and delicious.

For atmosphere, Torchy’s on the 2nd Floor has two private dining rooms for groups up to 10, and Torchy’s Den can accommodate slightly larger groups. For menu customization—meaning each person gets to choose their meal from up to a half-dozen options that you and I choose ahead of time—it’s best to think about groups of 12 or fewer. When hosting an even larger group, a catered approach will generally be better as fewer options allow for faster service.

Next time you’re wondering where to host an important business meeting, give me a call. I’d love to sit down with you and discuss how we can bring together the perfect menu that wows guests and delivers bottom-line results.

—Reach Executive Chef Eric Floyd at 206.464.3081 or

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