like going out to a restaurant or visiting the home of a good cook?
Eating someone else's cooking is exciting and something to look forward
to if you're a foodie. If you need help feeding a group of people,
planning party decor and cleaning up, call a caterer.
"It used to be the majority of my business were weddings, but I'm
noticing an increase in individuals requesting catering for functions at
their home such as a football party, baby shower or graduation party,"
said Patty Sparks of Personalized Touch Catering LLC in Hollywood, Md.
"Clients say they just don't have the time. Some simply want to be able
to enjoy their guests. Others say they aren't sure of how much food to
cook for bigger groups. To hold down the cost, more of my customers have
requested that we bring the food and set it up, but not to serve the
meal or clean up. They are also putting the food we provide in their
serving pieces to add their own personal touch."
Almost all caterers offer three types of service: delivery only;
non-service buffet set-up; or set-up, service, and cleanup. Everything
needed for a catered affair can be negotiated with the caterer from
serving trays to dinnerware.
Other roles of a caterer may be to provide party décor, linens,
tableware, flatware, bartending/liquor service and a beverage station.
The fee for a bartender averages $150. Drink packages range from beer,
wine and soda only, to a mixed drink bar with champagne and after-dinner
liqueur. The average price begins around $7 per person. Plastic cups,
napkins and ice should be included in that price.
Good caterers are always striving to be innovative. Personalized Touch
Catering LLC, for example, offers specialty drinks and seasonal entrées
on their holiday menu. Quality Street Kitchen and Catering out of
Leonardtown is making it a priority to use local produce to help support
local farmers. Food just tastes better with fresh ingredients and is the
Mom's in the Kitchen, located in Prince Frederick, offers a vast
specialty menu to please every palette that includes Breakfast on a
Budget, Tropical Party, Mediterranean, New Orleans, Southwest-ern,
Italian or Southern Maryland fare.
"Theme parties have been very popular, but lately we've gotten a lot of
requests for family-style platters," said Trish Weaver of Mom's in the
Kitchen. "Clients have even brought me their own family recipe to be
prepared for their party. Whatever they want, that's what we're here to
Anita Sullivan of Catering by Anita in La Plata suggests, "Don't forget
to ask your guests if they have any food allergies or special needs we
should be aware of to ensure everyone will enjoy the food."
The price range for catering menus that are delivered, set up, but not
serviced, ranges from $5.95 per guest for a breakfast menu to
lunch/dinner platters or buffet trays that start at $14 per guest and
up. Price would be dependent on the dishes chosen.
Here are some questions to ask when shopping for a caterer for your next
o Do you offer on-site or off-site catering?
o How many guests can you accommodate?
o What types of service do you provide? Delivery only, non-service
buffet set-up, or set-up, service and cleanup?
o What is the cost breakdown for each option?
o What is the staff to guest ratio for serviced catering?
o Can a tasting be arranged? Is there a fee for that?
o Are gratuity and taxes additional to the cost of the catering?
o Do you offer bartending services and/or have a liquor license?
o Can you provide party décor?
Sullivan said it is important to be clear with caterers on other service
needs because the planning process can be overwhelming and a good
caterer should make the experience pleasurable.
Catering: who to call
Whatever your next party or celebration is, if you're looking for
someone to help shoulder part of the responsibility or all of it,
consider these companies to help you. These caterers will deliver, set
up, service and clean up.
Adam's The Place for Ribs
Beefalo Bob's Caterers
Du Paul's Catering & Gourmet
Mamma Lucia Italian Restaurant
Maryland Country Caterers Inc.
Mom's in the Kitchen
Red Hot & Blue Restaurant & Catering
Houligans Drafthouse & Eatery
Salsaritas Fresh Cantina
Apple Spice Junction
Catering by Anita
Creative Cuisine Catering
Divine Elegance by Deborah
Exquisite Catering Service
Scrumptious Entrees Catering & Cakes
St. Mary's County
Blue Wind Gourmet
Personalized Touch Catering
301-373-3253 or 301-904-9899
Quality Street Kitchen & Catering