By Cort Smith
As an anecdote to a pretty tough economy, Jacques Exclusive Caterers is promoting a special “cocktail party” this holiday season for home parties and businesses, says Lisa Tevis, catering sales director.
People are not renting out halls like they used to; rather, “they want to keep things in-house,” she says. Another trend, she notes, is throwing more preholiday parties, especially businesses that wish to thank clients or staff.
Cocktail parties Jacques-style come with a selection of hors d’oeuvres – light bites are in this season, heavy foods out, notes Lisa – with pre-set platters, a server and paper ware. (The company uses PrestigeWare, a heavy plastic plate that looks like china.)
Jacques Caterers can handle the liquor, too, and if requested, throw in a carving station.
“We listen to customer needs,” says Tevis. As for cost: A selection of six hors d’oeuvres, three pre-set platters, the requisite paper ware and cocktail napkins, a server, and coffee service runs $19.95 per person (minimum 40); with shrimp cocktail, $22.95.
Jacques Caterers, originally founded in Brooklyn in 1955, expanded to New Jersey as Jacques Exclusive Caterers in 1981. Now the company maintains its “off-premise” catering office in Hazlet, and an onsite reception center in Middletown that can accommodate 500 people. Total packages come with a full bar.
One of Tevis’ main clients is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. “We cater all his holiday events – from simple to full-fledged sit-down dinners and gala cocktail receptions,” she says. Other clients include brokerage houses such as Morgan Stanley.
Lisa starts the process with an onsite inspection of the client’s facility. “They might want to do something that’s not actually feasible,” she notes. “For example, some buildings might prohibit the use of a fryolator (or deep fat fryer). The space and what they have determines what they can execute, and we’ll explore all options.”
Prepared Christmas dinners are very popular, says Lisa. A complete turkey-special feast for 22 people, for example, costs $230. Included on the menu are: a 32-pound cold turkey on a frame, three pans of stuffing, two pans of candied yams, three cans cranberry sauce, a gallon of gravy, plus a choice of bread and sausage or rice stuffing. Bon appétit!
And of course there’s catering for bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, engagements, private and corporate parties, social events, and special occasions. Oktoberfest was huge this year, as were and are events for seniors and “theme” parties, notes Tevis.
“What’s nice about Jacques is we’re one stop shopping, where you could have the food and beverage service, the service staff, and rentals, china, glass, silver, tents if necessary. Depending upon the type of affair you’d like to have, virtually almost everything.”
Jacques Exclusive Caterers is located at 403 Route 36, Hazlet, and can be reached at 732-495-2600. The company’s reception center is located at 500 Palmer Ave. in Middletown, 732-671-0700.