How to buy a Server

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Firstly, what is a server?  Generally a server is a unit to be used in a dining room for placing food on for when you are having guests over or family events.  Often the top of servers would be stone so that you can place hot trays on top of them without destroying the finish of the unit.  It’s an easy and convenient way to have hot and warm foods in the room with you so that the host and hostess don’t have to keep running off to the kitchen during a meal.


stickley buffet with granite topMost servers are smaller than a hutch or a sideboard.  A common size for a server would be 26” to 30” high, 12” to 18” deep and 42” to 60” wide.  These small cabinets also have a storage component to them as well with some units being all drawers, some are all storage cupboards and some are a combination of the two.  The common construction materials are solid hard wood, soft woods, combinations of wood, and metal.  Stone tops are another common feature.

Before buying do your checklist at the showroom.  Do the drawers open and close easily.  What is the construction method of the drawers, (nailed, screwed, glued, dovetail joinery)?  Do the cupboards swing open and shut easily and are they square, (do the tops line up with each other?).  What type of hinges have they used?  Are they adjustable in case you need to tweak them in the future?  Does the cabinet feel solid?  Like I always say jump up on the unit and wiggle around.  If it feels wiggly and doesn’t feel like it can support your weight then keep looking.  Most servers will have at least 100lbs of storage items added into them so they need to solid and secure.  The last thing anybody wants is all of your food during a social engagement crashing onto the floor.

This is another one of those items that have countless sizes and style to choose from.  I would recommend that you research on-line before heading out to showrooms as most will have a web-site so you can get a fairly good overview of the products they carry.   Check for buffets, sideboards and servers and see what they have.  Many stores may not have servers on the floor but have access to manufacturers that have in-stock units or can custom build a server for you.  Ask your sales rep when you are in the store to see catalogs for other options.

The most important thing with a server is; if you are going to be using the unit to actually serve food please be sure to have a top surface that can stand up to the wear and tear you will require.  Potential food and beverage spills can be tough on most materials.  Choose wisely.