Courtyards of Andover has new caterer

A catering company that started seven years ago in the garage of an East Bethel home is the new lessee of The Courtyards of Andover.

Unique Dining Experiences is the new lessee of the Courtyards of Andover. Jeff Conner said his ultimate goal is to own the facility within the next 24 to 30 months. File photo by Eric Hagen

Unique Dining Experiences is the new lessee of the Courtyards of Andover. Jeff Conner said his ultimate goal is to own the facility within the next 24 to 30 months. File photo by Eric Hagen

Unique Dining Experiences started out in Mike Conner’s garage in 2006. One year later, he got a permit from the city to build an accessory structure next to his home.

Mike’s son Jeff Conner, who became the business co-owner last year, said Unique Dining Experience signed a 24- to 30-month lease to own document April 11. He plans to obtain financing in the next two to two-and-a-half years to be able to purchase the facility outright. He did not disclose how much he is leasing the building for.

Jeff, who will be in charge of operations at the Courtyards while his father and younger brother Brian oversee the off-site catering business, said it is a natural progression for the business to go to this larger facility.

“To go from a garage to a small catering facility to this beautiful facility in the heart of Andover… is pretty cool I think,” Jeff said.

If you have a favorite recipe, they will prepare it. Pig roasts and North Shore lunches with pan fried walleye cooked over a makeshift brick fire pit is Unique Dining Experiences’ specialty, but the state-of-the-art kitchen at the Courtyards will allow an expanded menu for weddings, proms, galas, concerts, fund-raisers and much more. Brian’s St. Francis High School prom was here.

Jeff plans to hire a pool of 20 to 30 part-time cooks just for the Courtyards. The facility can be reserved at any time. He is just in the process of letting the community know the Courtyards of Andover is open for business again.

Former Jade’s Catering owner Anne DeLuca had leased the Courtyards of Andover from its opening in 2000 through the end of 2012 when she retired.

The building has an ownership group of about 15 people under the name of 116, LLC. One of the owners — Mike Quigley — said after DeLuca retired that the owners want to sell the building rather than lease since they are not in the food business.

Quigley confirmed that the transaction is official.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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