James J. Hill Center Statement Regarding Current Closure

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Catering to Success

Thao Moore is the chef and co-proprietor at local catering company, Green Mangos. She followed her passion for food and studied culinary arts at The Art Institutes International Minnesota and has experience working in the catering and restaurant industry. You can follow Thao on her culinary and life adventures through her blog, Small Bites. We had the opportunity to talk with Thao about her experiences running a business over the last 10 years.

What is your organization and when and how did it begin?
My husband Tom and I own a boutique catering business and started it in 2007. My employer at the time was relocating to another state so I decided it was time to follow my dream.

What do you want people to know about Green Mangos and what sets it apart from other catering companies?
We are passionate about what we do and we believe it shows in our food and service. When you hire us, you work directly with the owners and not a sales person. For us, it’s about quality and not quantity.

What has been the largest hurdle and/or success your organization has faced?
Since I have an Asian background, it’s hard to not get stereotyped into one style of cuisine. Over the years we’ve overcome that stereotype because we’ve now catered for many different people from all over the world.

What advice would you give to others interested in the catering businesses?
It’s never easy to start any business. Catering can be especially competitive, especially when you’re competing against large caterers. Focus on your vision and see it through. It’s extremely hard work, but the hard work will pay off.

What is your favorite part of catering at the Hill Center?
I love how the venue transforms from a reference library during the day to a magical event space at night. It almost appears to be two separate venues, which is why the Hill Center is great for both Corporate and wedding events.

What do you love most about Saint Paul, Minnesota and having your business here?
St. Paul has such a rich and diverse history. This is a great fit for us because we are a diverse company. St. Paul is a natural niche for us and our business.


The James J. Hill Center mission honors the legacy of its founder by continuing to support entrepreneurial spirit in the 21st Century. We offer research, programs, and networking for each stage of business development. Our efforts also include services to the broader community through the hosting of cultural and artistic programming and events.  Visit us in downtown Saint Paul at 80 West Fourth Street, off the corner of Market and Fourth.  


Patrons with accessibility needs please access our ground floor elevator entrance via Kellogg Ave at the back of the building. Please ring the doorbell on the right hand side of door and a Hill staff member will assist you. If you have questions or concerns please call 651.265.5500. We look forward to having you visit.