About Us

About Us

Nelson’s is a catering company that is in the business of creating value. Value for you, your guests, and your entire organization. Whether you host a catering event or fundraiser, you can smile and relax, knowing that with Nelson’s there are no hassles, no worries.

You may think it unique for a food service organization to state its goal is to create value. And so do we. But then, we think Nelson’s is a unique organization—let us show you why…and how. Nelson’s desires to build a relationship with your organization and to be a partner you can rely on. View our testimonials page to read a sample of what others are saying about their catering and fundraising experiences with Nelson’s.


Nelson’s History (We go back, way back!)

As a manager of a small poultry processing plant in Wakarusa, Indiana, Nelson Gongwer continuously toyed with new and innovative ways to promote poultry products. He was convinced that there was a better way to cook large quantities of chicken while still maintaining the high quality only found in “grandma’s” kitchen. Weekend after weekend, he labored over makeshift grills, trying to determine a means to automate the grill while also improving the quality of the end product.

Eventually, in 1967, Nelson accomplished exactly what he had set out to do, and the Port-A-Pit® system and Nelson’s™ Food Service Corporation were born. After years of persistence, Nelson had simplified his hobby of entertaining guests while promoting poultry and also had, more importantly, created the process that would soon make Nelson’s a household name throughout northern Indiana.

The Port-A-Pit cooking system gave Nelson’s business a competitive advantage in both product quality and production capacity. The quality of the product, cooked over an open flame and periodically dipped in a family-secret sauce, wowed customers around the Midwest. Everywhere Nelson took his automated barbecue machine people became intrigued, and when they tasted the product, they became immediate fans.

The Nelson’s brand took off and has been growing throughout the region ever since, with several franchises serving more than 1,000,000 halves of chicken annually.


The Diptisserie System

The Port-A-Pit® Diptisserie Cooking System is an exclusive property of Nelson’s, invented by Nelson Gongwer himself. The diptisserie system, the first outdoor cooker approved by the National Sanitation Foundation, gives Nelson’s competitve advantages…advantages passed along to Nelson’s customers.

The first advantage is product quality. The Port-A-Pit system rotates meat products over an open flame and systematically dips them in Nelson’s steaming secret sauce. This process not only results in Nelson’s products having a distinct, delectable flavor but also ensures that Nelson’s products are cooked with delicious consistency.

The second advantage is that Nelson’s has the ability to cook high volumes of products in a short time. For instance, using the Port-A-Pit Model 22, Nelson’s can grill up to 220 halves of chicken in one hour.

The third advantage is on-site cooking. The Port-A-Pit is mobile and able to come right to your location. This is especially beneficial for fundraisers, as the Port-A-Pit attracts the public to your event by its unique design and by sending a mouthwatering aroma into the air for blocks around.

Start Today

Call 1-86-NELSONS-1 OR you may email your question to info@nelsonsohio.com to speak with one of our food service professionals about how Nelson’s brand of products can help your...
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Nelson's Fundraising has a simple purpose: to help your organization help itself. We do this by working with and for you to generate the funds necessary to fulfill your group's plans and...
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Nelson’s offers complete menus customized to fit your budget—all at unbeatable prices. Depending on your needs, you can choose from various catering options. For smaller groups...
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