Category: News

The Life of a Party, Part 1: The Planning Stage & Setting Parameters

Over the last 15 or so years, we’ve had the pleasure of helping thousands of New Yorkers figure out the ins and outs of throwing a catered party. While it may not rank up there with getting married, buying an automobile or putting a downpayment on a home, hosting a catered event in NYC is still a big deal.

The table is set

For one thing, there are a number of working parts—food, beverages, service, party supply rentals—and the costs can add up quickly.

And for another, throwing a catered event—whether it’s a wedding, a celebration of life, a year-end holiday party, mitzvah or any of the other events we serve—can make you feel as though you and your decision-making skills are up for public review.

While it’s normal to feel a little stress around the process, we want to assure you: Throwing a catered party is easier than it looks. As we’ve done previously with the “How Do I Arrange Liquor Service?” blog—still one of the most-visited resources on our site—we’ve created this multi-part blog to serve as a resource to help guide you through the process. Let’s begin!

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Red Table Catering’s Expanded Bar Packages Blog

Champagne toast

Spring is in full swing now, and that means the NYC wedding and special events season is in high gear. We’ve been spending an awful lot of time at some truly spectacular spaces lately, plating up an armada of Peruvian-style ceviche peruano, shouting “Mazel tov!” at a delightful afternoon wedding at the Foundry, and even competing for table space with a brand-new Cadillac.

As we’ve written before, one detail of party planning that that seems to flummox clients more than any other is how to coordinate legal bar service. It’s true the New York State Liquor Authority doesn’t always make it easy. But there’s an easier way to arrange alcohol service: Unlike most caterers, we’re able to manage the bar side of the equation smoothly, legally, and cost-effectively.

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Red Table Catering Blog: Holiday Artisanal Foods and Christmas Treats from Brooklyn

Brooklyn Kitchen at the Meat Hook

If you squint your eyes hard enough on a blustery evening, eyes, watering just a bit from the cold and the wind, the traffic lights and taillights of Williamsburg blur into the gaslights and oil lanterns that lit these streets some 130 years ago. Everything softens a bit and it’s easy to imagine horse-drawn carriages and sleds bearing holiday delicacies and stocking stuffers from the neighborhood’s many artisanal food purveyors to rowhouses up and down Grand Street.

Okay, maybe I’ve watched Miracle on 43th Street one dozen too many times (or is it A Tree Grows in Brooklyn?). But Christmas in NYC is truly a special time and place, and because we’re foodies at heart, we love touring the neighborhood for some favorite local Brooklyn foods to give our friends and loved ones. (Sometimes we do taste them first, just to be sure.)

Here are a few of our top picks for artisanal foods in Williamsburg and the surrounding area. They’re made, packaged and sold by truly lovely people we’re honored to call our neighbors and friends.

But stock up quick, because many of these holiday treats will go quickly….

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How Do I Arrange Liquor Service at My Catered Party or Special Event?

Bar Services

As we plunge into the holiday party and special event season in New York, clients come to us with all sorts of questions. And given that end-of-year celebrations often involve some sort of alcohol service, one of the most pressing is: How do I legally serve alcohol at my catered New York party or holiday celebration?

Many of us find dealing with alcohol service intimidating, largely because it requires interfacing with the New York State Liquor Authority (NYSLA). And as we all learned in grade school, when you deal with authority figures, there’s the possibility you’re going to get punished for something.

I understand this fear. But believe me: While serving liquor at a party does demand attention to the legal details, it’s not rocket science. And most importantly: Unless you’re trying to break the law, you’re not going to get punished.

So let’s dive into the thrilling (not thrilling) world of liquor service permitting. By the time we’re done, you’re going to feel like an expert.

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How to Hire a Party Rental Company in NYC

Chairs at 501 Union

Party, Wedding and Event Planning in New York City

If you’re reading this, you’re already on the right track towards finding the ideal caterer for your special event. But regardless of whom you hire, even if you’re planning a simple event, you’re going to need all the “stuff” that goes with the food: Tables, chairs, decorative elements and so on.

This can be a confusing part of the process, but it needn’t be. As busy NYC caterers, we help many clients navigate the world of party rentals on a daily basis, and we’re here to make the process easier, not more complicated.

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Finding A Special Event Venue in NYC

In a way, our job as Brooklyn caterers is simple. (It’s not, actually, but hear me out.)

We help clients conjure up their dream catered meal, figure out the most effective, expedient—and delicious!—way to transfer that dream to the plate, and then come game day, ensure that every single guest gets the exact same experience on every single plate.

Simple, right?

But the setting is just as important. And time and time again, we find that selecting a venue can be among the most challenging parts of the event-planning cycle.

Why? For starters, there’s sheer numbers: Renting a venue is expensive. People worry they’ll make a mistake in choosing, and be left regretting their decision when the space doesn’t live up to expectations (or when hidden costs get, well, unhidden).

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Hey Look: We Made a Restaurant!

Thompson Brooke

Well, it finally happened: We opened a restaurant in Williamsburg. It’s called Thompson Brooke.

As you might expect, the last few months have been pretty crazy. Designing a restaurant from scratch is a combination of big-picture questions—is it the right location? what does the neighborhood really want to eat?—to an astounding number of little details. Is this the right shape for the plates? How to best dry the malt vinegar for the fries? Does everyone actually love pickled chilies as much as I do? (Yes. They do.)

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Cakes!

Wedding cake with fresh flowers

Wedding Season in NYC Means Wedding Cakes in NYC

As a busy wedding caterer in Brooklyn, we find ourselves researching and preparing a lot of different cuisines. I mean a LOT of different cuisines: In addition to the ingredient-focused, Brooklyn-inspired food we built our reputation on, we’re called upon to deliver meals ranging from classic Italian to Latin American to soul food to Vietnamese to New England clambakes…you get the idea. A lot of different styles of food for which we need to prepare and tool up and then execute perfectly.

But if there’s one thing we’ve learned in years of catering weddings in Brooklyn, corporate events in NYC, giant engagement parties in upstate NY and seemingly everything in-between, it’s this: Everyone—or, nearly everyone—loves cake.

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