The History of Kelber Catering

The incredible reputation of Kelber Catering is indelibly linked to the evolution of the Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC). As business in Minneapolis grew, so did Kelber Catering’s capacity to serve the ever-increasing MCC visitors.


1927 Auditorium opening crowd
The new Minneapolis Auditorium opens with over 10,000 seats.


History photo Joe KelberJoe Kelber, operator of a downtown Minneapolis sundries shop in the West Hotel lobby, began Kelber Catering by servicing the new Auditorium with a couple free standing counters selling candy, soda and renting opera glasses, growing his business to meet the ever increasing catering needs of the Minneapolis Auditorium.


Exhibitors in auditorium

Minneapolis Auditorium is renovated, along with 100,000 sq. ft. Exhibition Hall addition renamed Minneapolis Auditorium and Convention Center (MACC).

Joe Kelber retires, sells Kelber Catering to long time friend and business acquaintance Max Kurnow, manager of the local Auto Show, along with a small group of local businessmen, one of whom is son Robert, and the modern day Kelber Catering is formed. Kelber Catering remains in operation servicing MACC until it is razed in 1987.


Minneapolis Convention Center in 1987Demolition of MACC begins in order to make way for the new Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC). Kelber Catering moves out of MACC and opens Maxi’s Café at 1st Ave. and 14th St. to provide meals for the construction crews building the Minneapolis Convention Center.


New Minneapolis Convention Center in 1990Minneapolis Convention Center opens its doors with over 500,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space. One of Kelber’s first opportunities to showcase their newly created culinary team of professionals was hosting Cargills 125th Anniversary Celebration for 5000 guests.


MCC expands to 1.5 million square feetMinneapolis Convention Center expands to 1.5 million square feet and the partnership continues with Kelber Catering as the exclusive caterer.


Dunn Bros. franchise opensKelber Catering secures a Dunn Bros. Coffee shop francise, which opens in the Main Lobby of the Minneapolis Convention Center. Kelber Catering begins roasting coffee beans right on premise that are utilized for concession outlets and catered events.


Craft Bar and Lounge photo

The Craft Bar and Lounge, operated by Kelber Catering, opens within the Minneapolis Convention Center, featuring locally brewed craft beers and small bites.


Majority Women Owned Kelber Catering, management photoKelber Catering evolves into a majority woman owned and operated business featuring a widely diverse professional staff that represents the community we live in and the clients served at Minneapolis Convention Center.


Kelber History Today photo of grand ballroom eventKelber proudly continues its work as the locally owned, exclusive caterer for the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Our alliance with the MCC has helped us become an award winning, high-volume on-premise catering company, delivering an exceptional guest experience with world class food and service.

Our experience with Kelber was flawless. Their outstanding staff went above and beyond to ensure our events were a success with top notch service and professionalism. And, wow! The food! Without a doubt the best taste and presentation I’ve experienced onsite. Our guests are still talking about the French toast. The only drawback is that they aren’t available in every city we visit.

Kate Edsey – Development and Events Manager
Elks National Foundation

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