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Vendor Feature: Two Boots

We had the chance to interview Leon Hartman one of the owners of the oh so popular chain Two Boots!
Why did you want to own / run a restaurant or catering business?
To make the world a better & more delicious place.
What sets you apart from all the other caterers in your cuisine?
Two Boots is on a mission to bring organic, healthy, vegan, gluten-free & Cajun! food to the masses, and we pair it with a family-operated, homemade touch that incorporates lots of local art, hosts community events and provides a place where folks from all slices of life are welcome.
What is your personal favorite dish on the menu and why?
It’s hard to beat The Bayou Beast, our flagship Cajun-Italian pizza – it’s the best of both boots. This pie is loaded with spiced shrimp, crawfish, andouille sausage & jalapeños. Bring it on!
What is the background story behind the opening of the catering business?
We know that Two Boots is beloved across all segments of society, so we wanted to get ourselves in a position to serve more of our customers, to provide our amazing pizza to all kinds of special events – from the corporate conference in the penthouse to the kids’ birthday in the park, from the community arts center fundraiser to the green room at the Guns ‘n’ Roses concert. There is a lot of opportunity for us to make an impact, and we’re excited to turn more people on to our unique menu.
What is the most enjoyable part about your business?
That’s so easy – seeing people happy! Nothing is better than a fresh pizza pie, paired with a pitcher of beer or soda, shared with friends & family.
What is your secret to keeping customers coming in?
Executing on our commitment to serving wholly distinctive premium pizza at an affordable cost.
What is the biggest challenge you have over come in the restaurant/catering industry?
The online/ordering services that act like they’re helping you but only actually cut into your business. Our numbers clearly show that it is a losing game for established small & medium-size restaurant business owners to participate in the online marketplace. Sure, they can help you out when you’re launching your business/brand, but for a company like ours, with 30 years of success (mostly pre-internet), it is mainly just an operating loss to use these services.
Advice to anyone thinking about opening their own restaurant.
 
Have a strong stomach!
0 comments on “Vendor Feature: Bon Chovie”

Vendor Feature: Bon Chovie

Bon Chovie brings affordable seafood straight to your office. When Renae Holland, Owner, was tired of her 9-5 she started Bon Chovie at Smorgasburg. Fast forward 6 years and now we can bring Bon Chovie to your office. See what Renae had to say about Bon Chovie and how you can have them catered for your next office meal.

Why did you want to own/run a restaurant or catering business?

I love food! It makes me so happy to see the enjoyment on a customers face who is loving what they are eating.

What sets you apart from all the other restaurants in your cuisine?

Usually, seafood is a big, and quite pricey adventure in dining – we make it fun, easy and casual while maintaining exceptional quality.

What is your favorite dish on the menu and why?

I’m a huge fan of the crab mac and cheese.

What is the background story behind the opening of the restaurant?

After running  my business at Smorgasburg for 6 years, I was offered to take over a restaurant space, and jumped on the opportunity!

What is the most enjoyable part about the restaurant?

We have an amazing staff, and great food – winning combo!

What is your secret to keeping customers coming in?

Providing a quality product with a smile.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in the restaurant/catering industry?

The long hours and stress can be very difficult – I stay dedicated to spending time in the gym to keep me centered.

Advice to anyone thinking about opening their own restaurant.

Have a unique product, maintain quality standards, and be prepared to work harder than you  ever have in your life!

Contact us at catering@foodtoeat.com to book your next catered meal with Bon Chovie.

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Vendor Feature: Pisillo

Find out how this authentic Italian panini vendor, Pisillo, is winning over New Yorkers hearts and stomachs. These huge sandwiches are perfect to share with a fellow coworker or to tackle all on your own. Antonella Silvio, the owner, sat with me last Wednesday to talk about Pisillo and how we can bring these paninis to your office.

What sets you apart from all the other restaurants in your cuisine?

This is a new concept of “Fast Food”, we only use fresh and high-quality Italian products. The bread we use comes from on of the finest bakeries in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, which has been in business for 30 years. It is delivered to us every morning, right out of the oven, still warm, and with its fresh fragrance.

We only use high quality Italian cold cuts and all the ingredients and condiments are imported directly from Italy, like our buffalo mozzarella delivered fresh every week.

We do not make hot paninis and we do not use a press, because by using only fresh bread and the best products we want to preserve the quality of the Italian cold cuts being served so that we may offer our customers the very best tasting paninis.

What is your favorite dish on the menu and why?

No.26 is a customer favorite because of the 2 types of meat. It is not a traditional Italian sandwich but everyone seems to love it.

What is the background story behind the opening of the restaurant?

Pisillo opened almost three years ago, as a white-tiled homage to my home town in Italy, Sant’Agata de’ Goti, an arresting stone bastion nestled in the hills above Naples.

What is your secret to keeping customers coming in?

Meat lover? Vegetarian? Dairy enthusiast? Pisillo has something for everyone. From sweet to spicy selections, the combinations are limitless.

Critically acclaimed, Pisillo has been raved about for offering massive-sized panini sandwiches and giving customers bang for their hard earned bucks.

Contact us at catering@foodtoeat.com to book your next catered meal with Pisillo.

 

 

 

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Vendor Feature: Q Events

Q Events started back in 2003 when Kristine Quattrone the Owner left her 9-5 job and decided to open her own catering business. This vendor’s food packs a ton of flavor into all of its dishes. Last week we had a tasting of a variety of their food; the steak was a huge hit among our employees as well as their goat cheese salad. Between the delicious food and excellent service, Q Events proves they will be a big success in the office.

What sets you apart from all the other caterers in this cuisine?

Q Events has provided catering for events ranging in size and complexity from 10-person corporate breakfasts and lunches for Fashion Market Meetings to 20-person private brunches for a client. For three years, including 2013, provided daily catering for the Times Square New Years Eve Production Crew during the week-long preparation and concluding with the 350-person buffet dinner for the midnight celebration.

 

What is the background story behind the opening of Q Events?

Q Events is the product of years of life experiences, education and my passion for event planning. Since its inception, Q Events has worked with many well-known companies. Over the past ten years, Q Events has successfully fulfilled well over two thousand catering orders since its start in 2003.

What is the secret to keeping customers coming in?

Q Events strives to continue exceeding its clients’ expectations for the next ten years and beyond through my commitment to professionalism, quality, and reliability.

Contact catering@foodtoeat.com to set up your next catered meal with Q Events.

 

 

 

0 comments on “Vendor Feature: Distilled NY”

Vendor Feature: Distilled NY

Over the past year, Distilled has become one of our biggest vendors. From the magic dust popcorn, the fudgy chocolate brownies, to the glazed wings our office has fallen in love with the food this vendor has to offer. Not only is the food amazing, but their restaurant space has great vibes! – we’ve even held some of our own events at their location. Adam Wile, Co-Founder, sheds some light on how Distilled has gotten to where they are today and what it takes to keep their business thriving.

Why did you want to own / run a restaurant or catering business?
At its very core, to feed people. Food evokes such an emotional response and can bring people so much joy. It’s a great way to bring people and a community together.

What sets you apart from all the other restaurants in your cuisine?
We really try to bring people delicious, approachable food. It comes back to the question of what is the reason you cook for someone? We want to bring people something they’re familiar with that can evoke that strong emotional response while still keeping our food fresh and interesting.

What is your favorite dish on the menu and why?
We’re really well known for our wings. The recipe took years of tweaking to perfect and get it where it is today. It’s a great example of taking something someone is familiar with and presenting it to them in an approachable new way that’s delicious.

What is the background story behind the opening of the restaurant?
The restaurant went through a few iterations before we got to where we are today. These included a pop up for Bravo’s Top Chef Kitchen as well as a brief stint where we used it as a private events space.

What is the most enjoyable part about the restaurant?
The community of the whole thing. The communal relationship we have with the neighborhood and our guests. Restaurants have a way of bringing people together that few other industries are able to replicate.

What is your secret to keeping customers coming in?
Good food, good drink, and great hospitality. We want guests to feel like they’re dining in our home with friends, and I think that really comes through in the experience we provide.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in the restaurant/catering industry?
Hurricane Sandy was a huge challenge for us very early on. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have been able to come back from that and still be here when so many of our neighbors were not as lucky.

Advice to anyone thinking about opening their own restaurant.
Find good people. That probably goes for any industry, but it’s true. There’s no way we’d be we are today without the great individuals that make up our team.

Contact catering@foodtoeat.com to set up your next catered meal with Distilled NY.

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Vendor Feature: Just Salad

Everyone loves a good salad bar, but what makes an exceptional one? Kyle Feggins, Director of Catering, from Just Salad dives into why their menu is one of the best. On September 9th, we had one of our new vendors Just Salad cater our office. Whether your office orders the custom salad bar or individual salads you can’t go wrong. The custom salad bar has toppings ranging from different greens to premium toppings to fit everyone’s taste buds. On the other hand the individual salads are great for eating on the go. If you missed the Snapchat series of our tour be sure to add us @FoodtoEat on Snapchat for more segments.

What sets you apart from all the other restaurants/caterers in your cuisine?
Just Salad serves deliciously healthy food using quality ingredients in a fast, affordable, and in a more fun way than other restaurants. We make healthy happen and we do it better than the rest.

What is your favorite dish on the menu and why?
The Smokehouse Steak is awesome! The combo of steak with feta tastes like a healthy steak dinner, and I love steak dinners!

What is the most enjoyable part about working at Just Salad?
The people. There are so many different kinds of people who make working here a great experience.

What is your secret to keep customers coming in?
Making sure we do our part to give them the experience when they order from us. We do an incredible job in helping them eat well and feel good about it.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in the catering industry?
Convincing people that we don’t serve Just Salad, we do salads, wraps, sandwiches, and even desserts!

Advice to anyone thinking about opening a catering business.
Be local but think global. Start out by getting a few people to really love what you do. If they love it, they will tell more people. Those first customers will be the ones that will help you get to where you want to go.

If you want Just Salad catered for your next meal contact us at Catering@foodtoeat.com.

 

 

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Vendor Feature: Atlantic Bagels

On August 16th, we got to tour the Atlantic Bagels Cafe. I met with Alex Max who co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Milana. Atlantic Bagels has been in business for 5 years conveniently located right off of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. Atlantic Bagels has kept a tight knit group of employees ensuring this place feels like home when you walk in. 

Do not let the name fool you, they do way more than just bagels. From sandwiches, burgers, bagels, salads, and of course desserts they have you covered. They recently added a Salad Bar to their menu that you should definitely check out for your next order. Alex has created a  great relationship with all of his vendors to ensure the highest quality of ingredients, “I do not mind spending a little more money on my meat or fish to make sure I have the best of what is out there”.

Atlantic Bagels tries as much as possible to give back to the community as well. Their bagels are made fresh throughout the day. When closing time comes they donate the leftover bagels to City Harvest. City Harvest helps feed New Yorkers facing hunger on a daily basis by collecting food donations. If the bagels are not donated they turn them into their bagel chips, which I highly recommend. I would also recommend a sesame bagel with scallion cream cheese, lox, tomato, and lettuce (pictured above). 

If you want Atlantic Bagels catered for your next meal contact us at Catering@foodtoeat.com.

 

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Vendor Feature: Nuchas

On August 17th, we got to tour the Nuchas catering facility and talk with Daron Dyke, the Catering & Special Events Manager. Whether you get your empanada from their food truck, one of their kiosks, a push cart, or catered straight to your office they do not disappoint. Buffalo Chicken and the Apple Cranberry Nutella are by far my favorites. If you missed the Snapchat series of our tour be sure to add us @FoodtoEat on Snapchat for more segments.

What sets you apart from all the other restaurants/caterers in your cuisine?

What sets us apart is our dedication and commitment to creating gourmet products, using high quality ingredients. All of our empanadas are made from scratch in our USDA certified facility.

What is your favorite dish on the menu and why?

My favorite dish is our Sweet Empanadas, made with a white almond dough and filled with a deliciously sweet mixture of granny smith apples, cranberries, pears, Nutella, and chocolate, it’s simply irresistible

What is the background story behind the opening of Nuchas?

Founded in 2009 by Argentinian visionary Ariel Barbouth, Nuchas was inspired by the fast-casual empanada restaurant concepts in Argentina. With his vision of wanting to bring a bite of his Spanish culture to America, Ariel created Nuchas, a caterer and wholesaler of gourmet empanadas. In 2011, Nuchas won a competitive bid to open its first kiosk in the heart of Times Square, New York City. Since then, Nuchas was awarded 2013 Rookie of the Year and the 2014 People’s Choice at the New York Vendy Awards, known as the “Oscars of Street Food.”

What is the most enjoyable part about Nuchas?

Being able to interact and bring people from various cultures around the world together with our empanadas is the best part about Nuchas. New York City is already a melting pot of cultures and being a part of Nuchas allows us the opportunity to promote cultural diversity and unity through food.

What is your secret to keep customers coming in?

Our bold flavor profiles and quality ingredients keep customer coming back. You can get a fried empanada just about anywhere in the city but Nuchas, “always baked, never fried” concept is truly one of a kind.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in the catering industry?

The biggest challenge is finding the balance of rapid growth and efficiency. We as a company strive to be the pioneer multicultural brand of all hand-held foods, but it’s important for us to do things right for both of customers and our staff.

Advice to anyone thinking about opening a catering business.

It’s a rewarding business but very demanding, so have to be dedicated, personable, and authentic in order to truly succeed.

Contact catering@foodtoeat.com to setup your next catered meal with Nuchas.

0 comments on “Vendor Feature: Tompkins Square Bagels”

Vendor Feature: Tompkins Square Bagels

On July 26th, I got to tour Tompkins Square Bagels. If you have never been or had a meal catered from them yet I highly recommend it. Whether it is a slower week day or busy weekend morning Tompkins Square bagels makes anywhere from 900-2,000 bagels daily. They are rolled perfectly, boiled for around 90 seconds and then baked to perfection. This 3 step process gives you an amazing bagel with a toasted outside and soft dough inside. Getting to watch this magic happen with my own two eyes was a great experience.

During my tasting I started out with an everything bagel with bacon, egg, cheese, and scallion cream cheese (per Frank’s, the General Managers, recommendation). The scallion cream cheese is a great twist to the classic BEC. If I was not full enough already I then got the french toast bagel with birthday cake cream cheese…yum is all I have to say. If you enjoy any type of sweets this bagel is for you.

We were lucky enough to have Christopher Pugliese, the Owner, give us a little more insight on the background of TSB.

What is your secret to keep customers coming in?

Hospitality. Our motto at TSB is ‘We are in the happiness business.’  We do whatever it takes to make people smile. That is the goal of every person on staff no matter what their job is that day.

What is the most enjoyable part about restaurant?

Restaurants are extremely hard work. When anyone asks me what it’s like I tell them it’s like taking all 128 of your undergraduate credits in one semester for the rest of your life. You can literally go to bed thinking it’s all under control and then wake up in the middle of the night in sweats because you just remembered that big project that’s due …. TOMORROW!  That’s everyday. There is always something to do. Every now and again, I will stand outside the front of my shop on a busy Saturday or Sunday and just take it all in for a few minutes; The line of laughing guests, the baristas serving coffee, the grill men flipping eggs and bacon, the baker pulling hot bagels out of the oven and dumping them into the baskets. I’ll see little kids with their parents and think ‘These kids will remember this store when they’re older the same way I remember the store I grew up with.’ To watch it all is like looking at a piece of living art. So, that is my enjoyment. THEN IT’S BACK TO WORK!

What is the background story behind the opening of the restaurant?

I had worked in my neighborhood bagel shop from about 16 through college. Then I went and worked in NYC restaurants mostly serving but occasionally managing or helping BOH. I had the time of my life. However, towards the end, I felt the industry had changed in a way I wasn’t comfortable with. The rise of the Food Network/Foodie Culture/Rating Sites had brought a pretension to the industry that really made it less enjoyable for me. It became more about people feeling entitled to some ‘life changing’ experience everywhere they went than the simple act of gathering together and enjoying some great food and interacting with others. I kind of got to a point where I said ‘Ok Chris, what’s the least pretentious kind of place you can open? Ah, bagel shop!’  I also think I was trying to recreate the homey bagel shop of my youth. That was the neighborhood meeting place where everyone got together and enjoyed on weekend mornings.

What is your favorite dish on the menu and why?

Just the classic stuff. Sesame bagel piping hot out of the oven with butter. Reminds me of being 16 and hitting up the bagel spot at 6AM after a night sleeping on Brighton Beach with my buddies. On the other side, Birthday Cake Cream Cheese on a French Toast Bagel is just a happy thing. It makes people light up and smile and, I like making people smile. That’s why I’m in this business.

What sets you apart from all the other restaurants in your cuisine?

Well, we make a classic, old style, NYC bagel. 5 basic ingredients based off a recipe that goes back to the 1950’s. We also hand make every cream cheese and salad in the shop. Everything is made fresh daily in small batches. If we run out, we run out.  We’d rather run out one day than serve something day old the next day.  Food aside, I think we have a very different mentality, as far as service and customer experience goes, than most bagel shops. I spent many years as a server in NYC. I understand how a guest thinks and I’m a people pleaser by nature. I’m always putting myself in the guest’s place.  It was very important to me to build the kind of place that everyone, meaning people from all walks of life, could come together in and  feel comfortable visiting.  The ‘Cheers’ philosophy. That place where everybody knows your name. I also put a lot of emphasis on the hospitality aspect of the business when training my staff. This was challenging at first since most deli/traditional bagel workers are more chef/food prep oriented and don’t really focus on hospitality.  It took a lot of training and explaining for me to get through how important the other side of the business is. I say things like ‘Look, imagine what a kick the guest would get if you (speaking to a grill man)  saw he was waiting to order and popped out from your station to help him! Like how cool would that be!’ Once they got on board, they dug it.        

Contact catering@foodtoeat.com to setup your next catered meal with Tompkins Square Bagels.

 

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Eat Like An Olympian

The Olympic Games are among us and while we sit at our desks we can channel our inner Olympian by eating like them. So I have come up with a few items you can order for your office’s next meal from some of our vendors to try and eat clean like all those Gold Medalists do.

Breakfast

Avocado Toast Bar from Sarah’s Artisanal Kitchen
Let your guests help themselves, creating their flavor combinations. Tray of hearty whole-grain bread and crostini and Smashed Avocado. Slices with platters of meats, smoked fish, and cheeses.

Am Energy Sandwich from fresh&co
Egg whites, grilled chicken, spinach, mozzarella on whole wheat wrap.

Healthy Breakfast from Bocca
Low-Fat Greek Yogurt, Homemade Granola, Honey, Banana and Berries.

Fresh Fruit Platter or Fruit Bowl from Kitchenette

Main Meals

Grilled Chicken from Food Trends
Grilled Chicken Breast with Mixed Greens, Tomatoes and Provolone.

Chilled Poached Salmon from Distilled NY
Gluten Free. Cucumber & Mint Greek Yogurt, Mizuna. (Served cold)

Vegan Stuffed Peppers from Landhaus

Grilled Ginger Beef Bowl from Vien
Each bowl is served with jasmine or brown rice, salad, quinoa, or noodles. We will provide a selection of our sauces and garnishes.

Drinks

10oz Protein Plus Smoothie from Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co.
(Vegetarian) Banana soft serve, chocolate whey protein, peanut butter, and almond milk.

16oz Green Scene Smoothie from Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co.
(Vegan) Mango soft serve, banana soft serve, fresh pineapple, kale, spinach, and almond milk.

So Fresh & Clean Cold Pressed Juice from Salad Pangea
Pineapple, apple, kale.

Sweet Green Zing Daily Detox Juice from Tossed
Apple, kale, lemon, spinach, cucumber, celery, ginger.

Guilty Pleasure

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries from Flavors

Popcorn from Distilled NY
Vegan, Gluten Free. Magic Dust, Cumin, Olive Oil. (Served cold)

Apple Tarte from Fig & Olive
Flaky puff pastry & caramelized apples.

If these options do not satisfy your appetite email catering@foodtoeat.com and they can come up with more options for you.

 

 

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Vendor Feature: My Kitchen

On Monday, July 11th I had the chance to tour the My Kitchen Restaurant and venue space. Just talking to Dhanny and Chef Joe you can see how passionate they are about what they do. This team of two is making their own rule book for their restaurant/catering business. Dhanny is the waitress, hostess, event planner, etc. Whereas Chef Joe takes on every role in the kitchen. This allows them to accommodate to all of their clients wants and needs while still providing excellent food and service. If you missed the Behind the Scenes Snapchat series of the tour be sure to add us @FoodtoEat on Snapchat for more segments.
1. What sets you apart from all the other restaurants in your cuisine?
We do whatever we want. We created Italian Caribbean Fusion. We developed a menu based on items we cooked at home for our friends. Then refined those items, so that at any given order, one item is grilled, one in the oven, one under the broiler and on the stove top or fryer. The physical menu also went through some trial and error. I was aiming for something I would’ve created at home for a dinner party.
2. What is the background story behind the opening of My Kitchen?
Joe and I are Caterers and needed a kitchen to cater, therefore concept didn’t matter. Do you guys see where this is headed?? The restaurant was never in our plan.
That was until 3:30am one morning, I woke Chef (true story). I told him my idea. If we’re going to do a restaurant, why not make it a Mom and Pop. No one does that anymore. In reality, catering will always be the larger percentage of our business, so being Mom and Pop will give us the flexibility to be open or closed if and when needed.

He was intrigued, until I said: “That means YOU have to cook.” Everyone was going to come to our place to dine in OUR KITCHEN, to chat WITH US and EAT YOUR FOOD. It will not be a type of cuisine but instead a blend of us and foods which we like. If it bombs, well we have catering. Haha!This is our life and so began our journey.

3. Advice to anyone thinking about opening their own restaurant or starting a catering business.

Advice: If your heart’s in it and all the pieces fall into play – go for it.
4. What is your favorite dish on the menu and why?
Any of our Fusion Dishes but sincerely everything.
(The Fusion Dishes are only available on the restaurant menu, but my favorite from the catering menu is definitely the Eggplant Rollatini).
See Dhanny and My Kitchen’s full story at So You Want to Own a Restaurant
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You Go Girl!

baz

Bari

Bari Musacchio, owner of Baz Bagel & Restaurant

For the last feature in our Women’s History Month series, we are excited to share the story of one of our favorite bagel spots, Baz Bagel & Restaurant! We learned that passion is something you fight for and isn’t to be ignored.

Interview with Bari from Baz Bagel:

How’d you get into the restaurant business? Was your initial plan to own a food business? If not, what was your initial desire?

My summers in college, where I was studying biology and sociology, were spent working at Ceci Cela, a bakery on Spring St., that has been around for 25 years. I slowly realized that the one day I worked there each week was the one I looked forward to the most, so I decided to go to the French Culinary Institute to begin my career in the food industry. I traveled to Italy to study at Alma, work with wine, and work in different kitchens to absorb as much as I could. I wanted to know everything about it. I think I really got bit by the bug in Italy. When I got back I realized there were no bagel stores in my neighborhood and bagels were how I treated myself every Sunday on my day off.

Who is the mastermind behind your recipes?

My Grandma Joyce. She is where all of the Jewish recipes come from, like latkes, and matzo ball soup. For the bagels, I worked in a bagel store for free to learn the ins and outs of baking.

How has being a woman owner of a food business impacted the way you run your shop?

In certain areas you have to be much stronger than a man would have to be. People expect you to be a pushover. You have to be a little over-assertive with the guys to make sure they respect you. For the girls at the front of house, I see that I’m inspiring the ones who have their own entrepreneurial dreams. Its like ‘you go girl!’

Who or what was your inspiration for your decision in running your own business?

My father has a lot of businesses and I’ve always appreciated the lifestyle he has. I can remember him always being on the move traveling or by the pool relaxing, and I hoped one day I would be able to do the same and not be on someone else’s clock. I also knew if I was going to work extremely hard I wanted it to be supporting myself.

What are some of the challenges you have had to overcome, if any?

I think with any business the challenge is finding your path. You have to let the business dictate itself and be able to grow and move with it. People are also a challenge. Relying on people to come together in a way to make things happen. Vendors, coworkers, etc. But when it does it’s amazing. I look around during a brunch rush hour and am thankful for how everything came together-the baker, the bagel rollers, the waiters-all the different components in sync.

What advice would you give to women who are afraid or hesitant to start their own business?

Just do it. You have to take risks for those types of rewards. Its not easy and you have to be prepared for the challenges. There will be mistakes everyday, but it’s about how you prevent them and solve them in the right way. Its about how you overcome them and keep going everyday. The world is changing. Women are at the forefront of so many businesses. And the best part of what I chose to do is realizing that I’m inspiring others to do the same.

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Just Do It.

Excell's Kingston Eatery

Excell Blog

Keelia Excell and Novar Excell, husband and wife team/owners of Excell Kingston Eatery

As part of our Women’s History Month series, this week we are so happy to feature one of our newer vendors, Excell Kingston Eatery! It was so interesting to learn about how their business is run from the female perspective as well as a husband and wife team.

Interview with Keelia from Excell Kingston Eatery:

How’d you get into the restaurant business? Was your initial plan to own a food business? If not, what was your initial desire?

My initial plan was to be a teacher, which is what I went to school for. However, that didn’t work out so I started working in the corporate world. My husband had started another food business with a partner but wasn’t satisfied in their arrangement and always felt that he could be doing more. Eventually he came to me and asked me if I would be open to starting a new business with him.

Who is the mastermind behind your recipes?

My husband, Novar, is the mastermind behind the food but I am the taster. My taste is a lot more “Americanized” than his so I’m able to keep the Jamaican flavor but make sure that the food will translate well with our customers.

How has being a woman owner of a food business impacted the way you run your shop?

When I got involved in the business, I immediately changed the presentation of the food and the decor as well as set up rules for the employees and strategies for the business. My husband prefers to deal with the food, so I do a lot of the customer service and management of the business. I’ve always been interested in event planning so I’m able to use those skills in a lot of different areas of the business.

Who or what was your inspiration for your decision in running your own business?

The initial inspiration for the business was obviously my husband. The business was always my husband’s dream. But I also grew up watching my mother cook and helping her in the kitchen. She is one of those people who is constantly being asked to cater for church events, family parties, baby showers, etc., she used to do it in Jamaica and still does in New York, so I knew how much preparation everything requires and all the hard work that goes into it.

What are some of the challenges you have had to overcome, if any?

The most challenging thing is not being home with our children more. We have two boys and it’s hard to balance the business and home life. Another very challenging thing is finding loyal and trustworthy employees.

What advice would you give to women who are afraid or hesitant to start their own business?

Just do it! I was always hesitant to start my own business, although I always saw myself opening an event planning business at some point. But my husband is a do-er and he convinced me to make that leap and I haven’t looked back since. I think that once you do it, you will be so surprised at what you can accomplish.

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Work Your Butt Off!

Food Trends

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David Moskowitz, Alison Moskowitz, and Nina Connolly from Food Trends Catering

 

This week we sat down to talk with our friends at Food Trends about the hardships, triumphs, and joys of being a part of a women owned and run business in New York City.

Interview with Nina from Food Trends:

How did you get into the restaurant business? Was your initial plan to own a food business? If not, what was your initial desire?

My mother became a single parent and she and my grandfather joined forces in what they know best-hospitality and food. About 20 years ago they started a small shop and it grew and grew.

Who is the mastermind behind your recipes?

The recipes are a collaboration between my mother and the chef, with input from our catering managers and account reps who all have passionate thoughts and opinions. We continually tweak them until we get each every one just right. When our chef comes up with new recipes, everyone is involved in tasting and giving feedback which enforces a communal environment.

How has being a woman owner of a food business impacted the way you run your shop?

A lot of our employees view my mother as a mother. Everything she does has a maternal instinct behind it. She wants everyone to do their best and does everything she can to guide them so she can see everyone grow and succeed. The guys are protective over her and take feedback to heart and want to make her proud.

Who or what was your inspiration for your decision in running your own business?

She is just a strong person in general and was put in the position where she had to become the bread winner, with the passing of her husband. She didn’t graduate college so she had to rely on instincts and the belief that this was something she could do well. Her 50 full time employees, 100 event staff and her family are the driving force behind her work everyday.

What are some of the challenges you have had to overcome, if any?

When she started 20 years back it wasn’t a common place for women to run businesses. Workers didn’t show her respect so she had to earn the respect. She was forced to be a little more firm to make an example out of people. It was also difficult being a single working mother when in the back of her mind she was thinking she was missing out on the child rearing days. It is continually tough to stay on trend, especially in New York. It’s a cut throat business.

What advice would you give to women who are afraid or hesitant to start their own shop?

Don’t listen to the nay sayers. Do not ask for too many opinions. Work your butt off. The difference between people who do succeed and those who don’t is not because they didn’t have a brilliant idea, but because they didn’t work their butt off. Especially in the initial years of starting your business, if you have a setback, don’t let it crush you. Learn from it. Restructure fast and move on.

 

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Food…It’s in our blood

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Vicki & Stella- Mother & Daughter owner combo of Mamagyro

In honor of Women’s History Month, FoodtoEat is proud to highlight some of our women owned & run vendors, who have built businesses that are an integral part of their communities.

Interview with Vicki from Mamagyro:

How’d you get into the restaurant business? Was your initial plan to own a food business? If not, what was your initial desire?

My parents have been in the food business for 30+ years. It’s in our blood.

Six years ago, my mom looked around and didn’t really see anyone doing justice to Greek food and the gyro. She started the restaurant back then, and we haven’t looked back since. Now, we finally see Greek food becoming more popular here in NYC, but we still want to make it a staple in the food world here.

Who is the mastermind behind your recipes?

Stella. My mother. Everything is her creation.

How has being a woman owner of a food business impacted the way you run your shop?

Honestly I don’t feel any differently than if I were a man. I think people have the same level of respect because they know my mother’s expertise and understand her passion. They know she’s dedicated her life to food.

Who or what was your inspiration for your decision in running your own business?

My mother.

What are some of the challenges you have had to overcome, if any?

Find the right staff is always the hard part. As the business owners, my mom and I know we have our images and reputations at stake to really showcase why we started a gyro restaurant in the first place. At the end of the day, the staff goes home, but we need to make them believe as much as we do in what we’re doing. That’s the way we can be successful and hopefully open more restaurants.

What advice would you give to women who are afraid or hesitant to start their own business?

Don’t be afraid. Being a woman doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish as much as a man. People respect passion and dedication. Don’t be afraid to show that – it’ll only take your further towards your goals.

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Women’s History Month at FoodtoEat

There has been a lot of conversation around women entrepreneurs, the gender imbalance in tech (and decision-making roles at large), and the need for greater diversity as a matter of national economic importance. There is however an industry that is already majority-run by women, one that we as consumers have contact with every day: the food industry.

More than 50% of restaurants in the United States are owned by women, and we at FoodtoEat have the good fortune to partner with many strong, courageous individuals who choose to share their passion for food with literally hundreds of people per day. In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re proud to highlight some of these vendors, who have built businesses that are an integral part of their communities.

Happy International Women’s Day!

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Featured Vendors:

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Mamagyro: Food…It’s in our Blood

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Food Trends: Work Your Butt Off!

Excell Blog

 Excell Kingston Eatery: Just Do It

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Happy National Hot Dog Day! | Papaya King

By Danielle Bimston

Looking for some of the best hot dogs New York City has to offer? Check out our friends at Papaya King. Identifying themselves with the motto “accept no imitations”, this hot dog heaven is bringing you classic, one-of-a-kind franks and delicious tropical drinks.

IMG_0088Started back in 1931 by a Greek immigrant striving to pursue the American Dream, Papaya King began as a juice bar called Tropical Hawaiian Drinks.  Owner, Gus Poulos, opened the stand to express his passion for blending up fresh, fruity drinks.  However, not everybody in NYC had the same love for juice that Gus did right away.  It took time, but eventually, Gus’s juice bar began to take off.  However, it was when Gus married a young German woman and began serving frankfurters at his joint that Papaya King was put on the map. New Yorkers fell in love with Gus’s refreshing juices and savory hot dogs.

IMG_0054Today, Papaya King is still keeping things as classic as they can; serving quality franks and delicious drinks to happy and loyal customers.  And, they’re being noticed for their efforts—Julia Child said that Papaya King serves the “best hot dogs in New York” and Martha Stewart named them one of her “guilty pleasures.”

IMG_0005It’s quite obvious that the magic that made Papaya King such a hit in the first place is still as present as ever. They’re still serving up classic Franks with toppings such as chili, cheese, and peppers as well as All Beef Sausages with coleslaw & pickles and Sautéed Onions & Peppers with Chili.  Plus, they still have all of their amazing tropical drinks to try such as Papaya Pride or Banana Daiquiri.

IMG_0038We’re sure that no matter what you try at Papaya King, it’ll bring you back to old school New York City.  And, if you want to bring the family oriented, welcoming Papaya King vibe to the office, take advantage of our catering options.  Celebrate #NationalHotDogDay right with the best hot dogs around from this amazing restaurant.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a socially conscious online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

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Mayhem & Stout: Fresh and Flavorful

By Danielle Bimston

Though it began as a weekend experiment at Brooklyn’s Dekalb Market in November 2011, this sandwich spot is on it’s way to the top.  At Mayhem & Stout, they’re serving up artisan slow-braised sandwiches topped with amazing sauces and fresh add-ons.

IMG_3730Since their debut, Mayhem & Stout has expanded to a brick and mortar storefront, participating in more than two dozen popular pop-up markets and events throughout the NYC area.  Maybe it’s because their sandwiches are always made to order and served on crisp, airy handmade bread that Mayhem & Stout is so successful; we can assure you, your taste buds will fall in love.

IMG_3715 Not only is their bread absolutely remarkable, but their meats are slow braised until they are succulent and fall-off-the-bone tender.  With options like Braised Pulled Pork, Short Rib & Brisket, and Braised Vegetarian “Meat” Balls, what’s not to love! Creating a sandwich at Mayhem & Stout is like finding the perfect combination of savory flavors that build upon one another to create something magical.  So, make sure you try some of their delicious homemade sauces such as Blueberry Sriracha, Horseradish Creme, or Black Cherry Mustard.

IMG_3723And, if you’re not feeling a sandwich, Mayhem & Stout’s menu includes satisfying salads, hearty rice bowls, and indulgent twists on mac & cheese, as well as desserts from Robicelli’s. Our clients have loved both the sandwiches and rice bowls for lunch in the office. Plus, there are a variety of gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian options; everyone is sure to find something they can enjoy!

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a socially conscious online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

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Lumpia Shack: Bringing Smorgasburg to Your Office

By Danielle Bimston

At Lumpia Shack, they’re all about fresh, Filipino-inspired eats; from traditional spring rolls to gourmet burgers galore, they definitely know how to feed their customers right. Husband and wife team, Neil and Angie, started Lumpia Shack to serve up food that best represents their very diverse culture and upbringings.

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Photo Credit: lumpiashack.wordpress.com

While they currently live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the couple is originally from the Philippines and were born to third generation Chinese immigrants.  Both Neil and Angie moved to the United States and Canada at a very young age, however, this did not stop them from being greatly influenced by their Filipino roots.

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Taking their love for traditional Filipino flavor to the next level, Neil and Angie strive to add their own personal touch to one of the culture’s most popular snacks: the lumpia, a small spring roll.  By mixing traditional flavors with locally-sourced and responsibly-produced ingredients, the couple is serving up lumpia with several fillings such as pork, mushrooms, and the daily special.

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Photo Credit: lumpiashack.wordpress.com

And, if you’re in the mood to try a different Filipino favorite, give Lumpia Shack’s rice bowls a try.  With proteins available like chicken, pork belly, and tofu mushroom and over 3 different types of sauces such as adobo, bicol, and afritada, there are an endless number of options.  You can even select how spicy to make your dish.

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Photo Credit: eatingwithziggy.com

Lumpia Shack offers so many of the best Filipino eats in NYC, they have a brick and mortar located in the West Village and can also be found at Smorgasburg and South Street Smorgasburg.  By doing this, they’re spreading their delicious treats to even more hungry customers!

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Photo Credit: yelp.com

And, it doesn’t even have to stop there…. you can bring this amazing food to your office! There’s nothing more delicious that will help you get through your Monday, we’re sure about that!

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a socially conscious online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

0 comments on “Havana Central: Cooking with Love”

Havana Central: Cooking with Love

By Danielle Bimston

Keeping things fun and fresh are our friends at Havana Central, known for their exciting environment and delicious eats. Started in 2002 by entrepreneur Jeremy Merrin, this Cuban restaurant has become one of the best around!  People love having the ability to get large plates of rice and beans for reasonable prices, and that’s just what Havana Central strives to give their customers.

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Photo Credit: newyork.seriouseats.com

Havana Central is such the people pleaser that they’ve managed to create a list of fun facts and restaurant accomplishments (that they thank their customers for!).  Check them out:

  1. Number of Mojitos sold: Over 700,000
  2. Number of Empanadas sold: Over 1 million
  3. Number of Cuban sandwiches sold: Over 800,000
  4. We cook over 4,000 pounds of pork a year
  5. We use over 130,000 limes a year – mostly for our Mojitos
  6. Our guests eat over 40,000 avocados a year
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Photo Credit: newyork.seriouseats.com

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of any other place that sells so many Cuban sandwiches.  And, that’s not even all that they have on the menu! If you’re in the mood for a classic Cuban favorite, try the Arroz con Pollo or Pimiento Relleno.  Or if you’re dying to try a sandwich, try Sandwich de Pernil Asado, there are a ton of options!

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Photo Credit: nydailynews.com

Wonder where these delicious dishes come from? Well, Cuban food is known for it’s many influences: Spanish, French, African, Arabic, Chinese, and Portuguese cultures (that’s alot!). Traditional cooking is primarily peasant cuisine that has little concern with measurements, order and timing, but oddly enough, that’s what makes the food so unique. In fact, most of the dishes are sautéed or slow-cooked over a low flame and rely on very basic spices.  Though they’re not the most complicated, intense recipes, it’s the love used when cooking that makes Cuban food so good!

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Even though Cuban food is a melting pot of so many cultures, they can all seem to agree on one thing: it’s delicious! No matter what you’re craving, Havana Central has the best atmosphere; allow us to help you transport the good vibes to your office!

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a socially conscious online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com