All-Access Eats

Eat Your Heart Out Catering
252 Queen Ave. S., Minneapolis; (612) 374-1965


Figure the members of Black Sabbath, Oasis, 10,000 Maniacs, the Harlem Boys Choir and David Copperfield have anything in common? Anything at all? How about all of them, plus Slipknot, Trisha Yearwood, REO Speedwagon, Destiny's Child, Marilyn Manson, Dolly Parton, Blink-182, Barry Manilow, and Snoop Dogg?

Craig Lassig

Aside from the basic apparatus, the heads and livers and all, could they really have any link at all? Oh, you saw it coming, of course they do, and the basic apparatus is the link, because all those stars have bodies, and the bodies require food and drink, and Eat Your Heart Out is the caterer who has provided the food and drink for all of them when they've been in the Twin Cities area. Them, plus a zillion others, from AC/DC to Tracy Chapman to Three Doors Down. Eat Your Heart Out does much of the backstage catering for the State and Orpheum Theaters, was the longtime backstage caterer for the Guthrie, does many of the outdoor festivals like X-Fest and Ozzfest, and even just started providing backstage grub for the State Fair.

So what do Marilyn Manson and Dolly Parton eat backstage? Anything they want, of course. But outdoors, a lot of grilled salmon and such; indoors, a lot of elaborate theme meals, like a Greek feast with spinach and feta pies, lemon chicken, tuna steaks, couscous, and plenty of side dishes, or a Cajun meal with blackened red snapper, Cajun-rubbed roast turkey, jalapeño cornbread, and the like.

Personally, I've never tasted Eat Your Heart Out's food, but I'm guessing it's pretty good. Kathy Hayes says she's been asked repeatedly to leave the Twin Cities and accompany bands on their tours, most recently by--actually, let's pause here, so that all readers currently possessing fruit-scented lip gloss might please sit down, and all other readers sitting near the persons possessing such lip gloss might cover their ears to block the shrieking. All right, everyone sorted? Then--the Backstreet Boys. The Backstreet Boys! This is the kind of information that will be of only marginal interest to some, but to others, will cause hysteria, swoons, trembling. It's of little interest to Kathy Hayes, who says she responded by asking: "Do you have a Lear jet?" for she has no interest in living tour life from a tour bus.

It's interesting to me, because there are probably a couple of Edina nine-year-olds who would regard this as the utter pinnacle of human achievement, and once upon a time Hayes was herself an Edina nine-year-old with a life-changing interest in a boy band. "I just remember driving around and listening to the Beatles with my mom," says Hayes. "Music was the most important thing to me. There was nothing else close. My room was plastered with Beatles posters, my life was Beatles, Beatles, Beatles."

Hayes told me this over dinner one night, a dinner to which she had brought Steve Barone, the former guitar player and keyboardist for local band Lifter Puller, current star of performance-art/comedy/rock project Mr. Hawaii Dude (, and, most important for this story, Hayes's trusted right-hand man, lieutenant, and friend. Barone took a moment in the recounting of Hayes's Edina Beatles childhood to interrupt: "Come on, weren't you just a groupie who wanted to get close to bands?"

At which point he received the best dirty look I've seen in a long time. Imagine the face of a baseball coach who goes to draw on the strength of the bench, but instead discovers the entire dugout is high and eating pizza. Like that. "No," said Hayes. "What is that going to sound like?"

But of course there seems to be a bit of truth to the notion: Hayes was once married to someone in Lamont Cranston, someone whom she says the Blues Brothers characters were later based on, and she managed to get at least enough on-tour-with-the-Rolling Stones experience to be able to recall the days when backstage dining meant as many lobsters as you could eat--in Iowa, no less. "You could have had eight lobsters if you wanted to," says Hayes. "Ice sculptures, crabs, shrimp--ridiculous!

"But 'groupie'? 'Groupie' has a bad connotation," she continues. "Did I always like music? Did I always hang out with bands? Yes. The food part came in [18 years ago] when a friend, a concert promoter, needed a deli tray for backstage. I was always the instigator and coordinator for parties. I made everything [for that first deli tray] from scratch--we still make everything from scratch--and it just turned into what it is."

What it is is an operation with a dozen employees who can turn any sort of field with a hose and some electricity into the site of three meals a day for 500 people--yes, 500 people. Think drivers, managers, dancers, tech people, security, and assorted "crew dudes" for perhaps five bands on a big touring festival. Also eating are girlfriends, and that's my flimsy excuse for working in this irresistible Backstreet Boys anecdote: Barone says the best thing he's witnessed backstage in recent years was a Boy debuting a new haircut, and the Boy's girlfriend weeping inconsolably at the sight of it. "Don't worry, baby," said the Boy, "People are going to like it. People are going to like my hair. You'll see." Embrace. Fade.

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