“I feel like the best way through everybody’s heart is through their stomach,” said Ali Teymouri, head chef at The Caterers+Kitchen, who is now offering a new dining experience at 1728 Mainstreet in Hopkins.

Teymouri, along with his wife, Tessa; cousin Mohsen Zadeh, and his wife, Barbara, have teamed up to offer not only a catering service for large events, but also an intimate dining space three days a week.

“It’s a family affair here,” said Tessa, who handles the event planning for the business.

Two years ago, the partners purchased the downtown Hopkins building and transformed the former Kentucky Fried Chicken into their catering kitchen and restaurant.

The Caterers grew from Ali’s work as a personal chef, in which he cooked for intimate, private events and rented kitchen space in Minneapolis.

Now, they have their own kitchen that will allow them to cater large events, such as weddings. “It’s a dream come true,” Tessa said.

In addition to providing off-site catering, the space allows them to host private events, such as groom’s dinners, bridal showers and birthday and anniversary parties.

The Caterers+Kitchen is open three days a week, except for private events, where guests can experience a prix fixe menu, created by Chef Ali, that changes monthly. The restaurant will also host cocktail parties, offering small plates and a full bar.

Teymouri’s passion for cooking began in his mother’s kitchen in Iran, which offered an abundance of fresh produce, and seafood from the Caspian Sea.

The importance of using fresh food in his cooking is “tremendous,” Ali said. “It changes everything.”

This is evident by the small freezer that is typically used for storing ice cream, berries and bread, he said.

Having worked with athletes and nutritionists throughout the years has changed his perception of food.

“What you put in your body means a lot,” Ali said. “Our food is supposed to feed your soul, not weigh you down.”

This is also why they chose their business mantra – “eat well, be happy.”

When catering events, Ali works with clients to customize menus, choosing from a variety of cuisines, such as Mediterranean, Persian, Italian and modern American.

“It’s all about flavor for him,” Tessa said, noting her husband is not one for taking shortcuts and will often use spices such as cumin, turmeric, and saffron in his dishes.

Most recently, The Caterers hosted a prix fixe dinner, in which Ali prepared a four-course meal, as a homage to his background that included a modern twist on Persian cuisine.

The first course included roasted eggplant and grilled naan, the second course was stewed lamb, the main course included roasted chicken with bayberries in a saffron brown butter served with steamed rice; and dessert was a traditional Persian sundae with pistachio ice cream.

In February, The Caterers will offer a Valentine’s Day dinner that will include surf-and-turf, along with raspberry chocolate Ganache shortbread for dessert. The dinner also will include a bottle of champagne for the table.

Ali said his hope for guests is to find the space inviting, where they can experience full-flavored food that isn’t pretentious, but rather satisfy both their eyes and their taste buds.

The Caterers+Kitchen is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, depending on private event schedules. While they take reservations, they will accept walk-ins when possible.

Visit them online at thecaterersmn.com for catering menus and a calendar of events, including prix fixe dinners and cocktail parties. For reservations or inquiries, call 612-790-4678.

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Kristen Miller is the community editor for the Sun Sailor, covering the communities of Plymouth and Hopkins. Email story ideas to kristen.miller@ecm-inc.com

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