I'm hoping to protect others who are considering using Larry's as a caterer for their wedding, or otherwise.
We were introduced to this caterer at the Seattle Wedding Show and were impressed by their reasonable pricing and tasty pulled pork. At the show, we inquired about hidden fees - including travel costs or minimum orders and were told there were no hidden fees.
I called several weeks later to book Larry's for my rehearsal dinner. I had a lengthy conversation with Debbie. I asked again about travel costs and breakdown of additional charges and was told, ""the only additional charges will be the ferry fees."" I was willing to pay the ferry fees to have them cater our dinner for 40+ guests. I wanted to book our date, and was told I would need a deposit. I gave Debbie $500 to reserve the date and booked a tasting for 2 months later. At the time, I considered the tasting totally optional. We liked their food and they seemed reputable.
When arriving at the tasting, we were greeted by Larry - who seemed very nice. He cheerfully chatted with us while waiting for the rest of our party to find the restaurant. Note: not everyone's GPS will take you to the correct address, so make sure you double-check your source results.
We received a generous tasting plate of the food we would be ordering. I agree with some of the other reviewers - while a small taste of the sauce is fantastic, their sauce is overly sweet and used in their beans as well. It was much too sweet of a meal for me. However, I'd like to note that the rest of the family genuinely enjoyed the food. While we ate, Larry sat down with us and handed us a cost breakout sheet. Remember how I asked repeatedly about extra charges above the cost of food? Here's the breakout I was given for a catering event for 40: $480 for food + $44 tax + $200 minimum gratuity (breaks out to 42%) + $200 roundtrip ferry (nearly double what I estimate the actual cost would be, using the WSDOT site) + $100 gas + $200 ""travel time when required"") = $1,224. I was stunned.
I asked Larry about the charges, and he seemed irritated explaining them to me. He condescendingly mentioned that I ""should expect to pay for the servers' time."" Eventually, he was willing to remove the $200 ""travel time"" charge on the basis that I reminded him that Debbie had not mentioned it at all. Thereafter, he launched into a broader conversation in front of my soon-to-be in-laws discussing what I would consider extreme political views. Not wanting to make a scene in front of the family, I left the restaurant feeling like I'd taken part in a bait and switch.
I called the following week and asked to speak to Debbie. I requested our deposit back and respectfully told her that while we enjoyed the food, we were not expecting the additional charges. She was unable to find our order form while I was on the phone with her, but assured me that she would call me right back. She did not call.
The next day, I re-explained the situation to Larry. Hebecame very agitated, and told me that I just ""wanted something for nothing."" I respectfully pointed out that I was willing to pay reasonable charges in addition to the food, but ultimately what I was looking for was transparency in the charges upfront. There's no way I would've wasted everyone's time and resources if I knew the total bill would be nearly triple the cost of food. Larry continued to maintain I ""wanted something for nothing"" and told me he would call on Monday and hung up on me.
It's Tuesday, and they have not called back. I have called the credit card company and requested an investigation into the charge.
Should you enjoy Larry's food enough to hire them to cater your event, at least you'll go into business with the transparency in pricing that they were unable to provide me.