Burger/Brat-Salad-Sundae Bar

by Mimi Levin, Tastemaker in Residence

As Labor Day Weekend rapidly approaches, many Minnesota families are preparing to squeeze the most out of their summers. Some are gearing up to hit the cabin for one last “hoorah.” Others are planning a day on the boat or final backyard barbecue. Regardless of the specific plan, families across America often view this not only as a celebration of economic achievement but also as a day that signifies the last “real” weekend of summer.  

I love to host, but I also know that at times it can be quite stressful. So, this year, to eliminate some of the chaos from trying to please the picky eaters and meet the needs of the gluten/dairy/fill-in-the-blank)-freers, I am letting the guests “make” their own food. This year, I have put together a three-part DIY feast: a (1) burger and brat bar; (2) salad bar; and (3) sundae bar. 


Burger/Brat Bar
What You Will Need
Fresh Beef Burgers (buy at your local grocery store)
Fresh Veggie/Quinoa Burgers (buy at your local grocery store) 
Fresh Brats (buy at your local grocery store) 
Hotdog/Brat Buns
Burger Buns
Mustard; Ketchup; Barbecue Sauce; Ranch Dressing; and Relish
Sliced Onions
Sliced Tomatoes
Crispy Onions (something like these)
Bacon (cooked ahead; I like mine extra crispy) 


  1. Set out condiments, buns, and crispy onions on a table
  2. Place sliced onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and bacon on three separate plates 
  3. Cook burgers as guests arrive and let them add whatever toppings they choose

Salad Bar
What You Will Need
Pre-washed lettuce (I am planning on using different lettuce mixes)
Cherry tomatoes
Cucumbers, sliced
Shredded carrots
Rinsed and drained canned black olives
Bell peppers, chopped
An assortment of dressings (I am bringing Ranch, French, Blue Cheese, and a vinaigrette) 


  1. Set out the lettuce in a large bowl with serving utensils 
  2. Place each topping in a small bowl with a spoon to serve 
  3. Place the dressing options at the end of the salad bar 


Sundae Bar
What You Will Need

Ice Cream (I am bringing cookies and cream; vanilla; and chocolate) 
Chocolate and caramel sauce
Oreos (crushed/crumbled)  
Chocolate chips
Fresh blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries (slice these) 
Whipped cream
M & Ms
Butterfingers (crushed)


  1. Place ice cream in a cooler with ice so that it remains cold 
  2. Leave ice cream scoops outside of cooler for guests to serve themselves 
  3. Put toppings in individual bowls with spoons to serve 
  4. Put chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, and whipped cream at the end of the table