What’s Galentine’s Day? “Oh, it’s only the best day of the year,” said beloved sitcom character Leslie Knope of “Parks and Recreation.” The holiday has fallen on February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day, since 2010. Galentine’s Day is celebrated as a day for ladies celebrating ladies — it’s similar to Valentine’s Day, but for gal-pals!

While Valentine’s Day traditionally focuses on romance and love, Galentine’s Day is a fun and lighthearted way to celebrate the importance of platonic friendships while saluting the support women have for one another. Here are a few strategies to help gussy up your offerings in collaboration with Mardi Gras celebrations – that’s right, these two holidays fall on the same day this year, all before love’s big day!

“If there’s a law against friendship, then lock me up” – Leslie Knope

Set up a special activity — whether it’s something sweet and simple, like making friendship bracelets or creating handmade cards; offering a fun activity can set your establishment apart from the competition. Gather the gals by partnering with a local artist to promote a Paint Night that pairs with drink specials or have event workshops like a small-course food and booze pairing, cocktail-making class, or other craft activity.

Bite-size sampling and tasting menus are in! This is a great way for your guests to experience and try several of your menu items in between their group chit-chat. Upgrade your bar menus by adding beer, wine, or cocktail flights for guests to try a range of drinks, just in smaller portions. Be inspired by fruity flavors and colorful garnishes — anything deemed Instagram-worthy.

Galentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated through activities that include gift exchanges, spending quality time with besties, and BRUNCH. So, what’s another name for Mardi Gras? That’s right, it’s Pancake Day! Tie-in both festivities by adding brunch selections to your menu for all who celebrate.

Cake is King

Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” is a colorful celebration, preparing for the season of Lent leading up to Easter. Honor the last day of the carnival season by participating in the tradition that involves eating pancakes.

Be creative with the cake — use pancake batter for dessert bases such as fried Oreos and beignets or as the shell for a sweet and cheesy, deep-fried mozzarella stick appetizer. Brunch offerings are appealing all day long. Consider adding a range of pancake platters and crêpes, both sweet and savory, inspired by the flavors of the celebration.

Partner your pancakes with other classic brunch dishes featuring a Cajun twist. Try shrimp ‘n’ grits featuring wild caught Bay Winds® beauties with a sweet and mild profile, accompanying those buttery grits. Feed the Louisiana spirit and stock up on West Creek® Andouille Sausage to bring a little spice to your rotation. Andouille is also a great addition to plates featuring eggs, potatoes, or breakfast casseroles.

Fat Tuesday Hits

Mardi Gras is known for music, from jazz to blues, and other genres contributing to the festive atmosphere. Consider arranging performances throughout your busy hours for an added experience. Level up your bar area for diners just passing through or wanting to have a more intimate experience with your drink menu and performers. Add favorable seating arrangements, both indoor and outdoor, with warm lighting and heated assets.

With two holidays rolled into one, the goal is to create a festive, memorable, and enjoyable experience, so patrons can celebrate friends while exploring delectable food and drinks. Cheers!

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