Owners of Hartford restaurant buy Canton catering company

July 26, 2019

The owners of Blue 42 Sports Grill in Hartford have taken over a Canton catering company.

The purchase of On the Spot Catering allows Courtney and Tony Axtell to expand their offerings. In addition to the Hartford restaurant, they have the adjacent Dakota Plains Event Center, the Prairie View Event Hall near Tea and Empire Productions.

“We’ve been going through growing pains,” Tony Axtell said of the catering services that operated out of Blue 42. “We were about to buy more equipment so we could expand.”

They learned that the owner of Canton’s On the Spot Catering, who also had the Pizza Ranch there, wanted to sell, so they bought the business. The Axtells will use that name for all their catering services.

“It allowed us to expand our menu and gives us the ability to cook it fresh,” Axtell said. “With the mobile kitchen, we can cook 90 percent of the food right there. … We also have a towable smoker and Traeger grills.”

The menu includes pizza, broasted chicken, grilled chicken, pulled pork and brisket.

“We’re still known for our cheesy hash browns too. … We basically took the best of both companies. We had a better pizza recipe out of our restaurant.”

Axtell said On the Spot Catering “can cook for up to 5,000 people at one time,” but it also does smaller events with fewer than 50 people.

“We’ve got lots of price points,” he said.

It can create menus based on the type of event and easily accommodate dietary restrictions, Axtell said.

The catering company has a workspace in Canton and a crew that lives there, and it has the kitchen and crew in Hartford, so that makes covering a larger territory easier, Axtell said.

Blue 42, which the Axtells opened in late 2017, just wrapped up a remodeling project and revamped its menu, and work has shifted to the events center next door.

Dakota Plains is getting a new bar and an expanded cocktail area and new carpet. It’s also adding a second prep kitchen to give caterers more room. Both event centers in Hartford and Tea allow outside catering companies, Axtell said. Dakota Plains also is getting a new entrance and signage.

No events have been booked until Aug. 17 when there’s a wedding, and Dakota Plains will host an open house and mock wedding with vendors, including On the Spot Catering, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21.

The Axtells also recently wrapped up exterior work and a few other “little cosmetic” changes at Prairie View Event Hall near Tea, the former All Occasions by Hy-Vee. They did a major remodeling project after buying it in 2017, and now they’ve added a patio and landscaping.

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Owners of Hartford restaurant buy Canton catering company

On the Spot Catering, which has been based in Canton, has a new owner and an expanded territory.

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