Let the experts prepare the fare for your summer blowout.
By Steve Mosco
Planning a party in your backyard can be a stressful undertaking wrought with menu malaise, guest-book guesswork, decoration despair and preparation perspiration.
An outdoor extravaganza can be a massive undertaking for any host. Those who foolishly think they can stage a memorable party without any professional help are setting up themselves—and their guests—for disappointment, grill-shaped burns and sunstroke all in the name of shriveled hot dogs and overcooked burgers.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Make sure your neighbors talk about your outdoor party for all the right reasons this summer by enlisting the help of one of the many Long Island caterers. From large, esteemed companies to the detail-oriented mom-and-pop options, a smorgasbord of choices are available.
Innovative purveyors of fine foods, Birch Hill Market in Locust Valley (516-671-3242), caters high-end events across the Gold Coast. From residential backyards to the Bailey Arboretum and Chelsea Mansion, Birch Hill brings the splendor of succulence with an ever-changing selection of savory meats, the finest seafood, fresh vegetables and more—all handpicked and thoughtfully created for your custom menu by head chef Bryan Naylor.
“Everything we do is completely handmade and personalized,” says Naylor. “From the food to the glassware to the linens and everything in between. We know our clients have been to other parties in the area and we know they want to top those other parties.”
Along with his gourmet craftsmen, Naylor creates lusciously satisfying feasts of unique cuisine. Birch Hill Market offers aged in-house prime beef, organic poultry, lamb and pork, artisanal cheese and wild-caught seafood, which is delivered fresh daily. The caterer even makes its own sausage and bacon and prepares its own dressings, marinades, pasta sauces and ketchup.
Birch Hill doesn’t have printed menus for customers to choose from columns A, B and C; instead, Naylor sits with clients to find out their likes and theme and then discusses how the food can elevate the party to the next level.
“It’s all about attention to detail,” he says, adding that Birch Hill only caters one event per weekend to ensure clients receive the utmost in attention. “Our menu is 100 percent customizable. But it’s about more that just food. We also look at the space, make recommendations, find out if they want specific themes and find out what they are drinking so we can pair it with the perfect food.”
Birch Hill also employs a staff to set up the event, serve the food and break it all down when the party comes to an end. It’s old-world customer service that Naylor says is Birch Hill’s specialty. “We are an old-world market and the relationships we’ve built with our clients is extremely important,” he says.
Another catering option is Fairway Market (www.fairwaymarket.com), the well-regarded gourmet grocery with Nassau County locations in Westbury and Plainview. It is equipped to satisfy every culinary whim you desire. Fairway’s catering menu is extensive, from standard platters to fully customizable options.
“We cater everything from small cookouts to larger weddings and other special events,” says Adam Miller, vice president–fresh foods. “But our summer offerings are unique at Fairway. We cater from the everyday to the upscale.”
Aside from fully prepared restaurant-quality meals, Fairway also offers barbecue packages of premarinated meats, seasoned ribs and high-quality burgers. Fairway’s complete ready-to-cook BBQ Bash includes grill-worthy boneless chicken breast or pork ribs, eight-ounce hamburgers and beef hot dogs, along with sides, all the fixings and dessert.
The market also offers a New England Lobster Bake, featuring all the classic seafood accoutrements, such as clams, mussels, chorizo, jumbo shrimp cocktail, corn on the cob, potatoes, coleslaw, baguettes, lemon wedges and garnish—they even provide the lobster pot.
Fairway offers an enormous selection of prepared foods. From simple lump crab cakes to grilled porterhouse steaks, Fairway prides itself on being able to customize anything their customers desire. Its Complete Summer Party includes starters, entrées, sides and dessert. Fairway also prepares hero arrangements, as well as Mediterranean and Italian feasts.
“If you give us 48 hours, we can do anything,” says Miller, adding that Fairway works with an array of reliable third-party companies that will set up, serve and clean. “Fairway prides itself on the ability to customize and think on our feet.”
So, kick back and enjoy. Let the experts do the cooking.