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Caterers for Funeral/ Columbia Area

I'm looking for suggestions for a place to either hold a reception or to cater a reception for a service at Riverside Church (Columbia area). Any suggestions are welcome!

Please help! I need a place quick! Anyone who can deliver food to the area would be great. Preferable not Ethnic foods as we've got a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds attending. I'm guessing about 60 people. We're looking to do buffet style.

Even if someone can advise of places to stay away from, it would help.

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  1. not sure what type of food you are looking to serve, but spoonbread is a good choice. they have two locations. on is on 110th a block up from the park. the other is up near harlem hospital.

    5 Replies
    1. re: cdog

      Thank you. I was considering them but I've never eaten there so I didn't know how the food/service was.

      I'm actually from Ohio but spend at least a week in NYC every year. So I kind of know the area but I usually eat in the Village or Chinatown while I'm out. I'm never actually hungry when I make it back uptown.

      1. re: Blackness

        the food is good. plus, they are nice people and will do there best to help you out.

        1. re: cdog

          Thanks. Just emailed them. Hopefully I'll hear back. It's so hard picking food for a funeral! I'm trying to find something that the deceased would have enjoyed while still keeping with the "somber" tone. It's just weird. Plus I don't even know half the people who are coming.... I'm so lost!

        2. re: Blackness

          Spoonbread is ethnic in a way--all soul food. If you like soul food it's ok, and they're very nice people. But I wouldnt suggest it for a reception.
          How about Turquaz? (Bway and 100th) It's very broadly ethnic--i.e. representative food from many areas around the Mediterranean (not just Turkey) and delicious, and a wonderful buffet (based on Sunday brunch experiences). A gorgeous large dining area in back

          1. re: zopacat

            I think Spoonbread will be a bit more for everyone. While the deceased did like mediterranean, it was only from ONE restaurant in Ohio. She wouldn't eat it anywhere else because she said it was never as good... go figure.

            While soul food could be considered "ethnic" I come from a family that just considers it more "regional". I think it might work. If you have any other Soul Food suggestions (since you don't think Spoonbread is a good idea) I'd be grateful. I'm shooting in the dark and I'm unable to go try these places ahead of time since I'm still in Ohio taking care of everything.

            Our first choice was Saigon Grill (she loved their food...not their service) but apparently they're on strike or something.

      2. Perhaps the people at Riverside Church can help. They must deal with this rather frequently for both weddings and funerals and perhaps even have rooms that might be appropriate and caterers to recommend.

        5 Replies
        1. re: JoanN

          We've had several funerals there in the last few years. The first was catered by them and we weren't really impressed. We might use their hall. That's a possibility. But the food was certainly forgettable (to put it nicely).

          1. re: Blackness

            Ethnic??? Soul??? isn't it just southern cuisine...

            you could also try amy ruth's in Harlem and i believe rack and soul is in the general riverside church area. Dinosaur is also pretty close, but i've never had anything from them and i think they get mixed reviews.

            all are southern/BBQ or i guess SOUL and ETHNIC

          2. re: JoanN

            Whatever you do, you want finger foods that don't drip/spill/fracture and small plate items which are fork only. Think about foods which are good for stand up receptions even if you have seating. It will make it easier and people who are already a bit distracted won't have to deal with making a mess on their hands and clothes. Wine is up to you, sodas/light drinks are a must including plain seltzer, citrus for same, and certainly a pot of coffee and hot water for tea. If catering, don't forget to have them include the ice, salt & pepper, sweeteners, milk/cream for coffee, serving utensils and napkins. Perhaps even tablecloths. Flowers for the table(s). Candles. Lots of nice folded paper towels for the ladies and mens rooms. Everything you can think of. You don't want to have to scurry around looking for stuff when you get back from the cemetery.

            1. re: Jane A.

              Thanks so much for the tips. As she was cremated, we don't have to head to the cemetary...this is just a memorial. But I never though about the hot tea and coffee and crap like sugar/salt/pepper.

              I don't know what I'm doing!

              1. re: Blackness

                Hey, Blackness - happy to help, especially at a time when you have other things on your mind. Keep the list someplace - it's always that little stuff that we forget - and it's the same list for every sort of gathering.

          3. Milano Market does catering. I like Milano Market's food although some people say they are rude or their food isn't that great. Maybe if you called them on a day or hour that's not busy? I imagine their kinds of food to have mass appeal. Also, I think their ingredients are of good quality. Bistro 1018 also caters but may be more expensive. I have tried their boxed lunch catering and I loved their sandwiches. I also go there to eat sometimes and love everything I have ever tasted (except the crab cakes, which don't really taste like crabcakes). IMO, barbeque or southern cuisine reminds me of summer and picnics so it may not be totally appropriate for your situation. I guess it all depends on the entree... In any case, I am sure everything will turn out nicely!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Foodvergnugen

              I live up in the area and have two thoughts:

              For soul food (ribs/chicken/bbq/sides and the like), try Rack & Soul. They do catering and am sure would do a nice job. Ask for Michael, the owner.

              http://www.rackandsoul.com/

              For more mainstream platters, crudite, appetizers and such, try Westside Market. They catered a wine event we had and everything was very good quality and abundant in portion size. Wide range of items available:

              http://www.wmarketnyc.com/

              Hope that helps...

            2. After mentioning Spoonbread and seeing their catering menu, the family seems interested in serving breakfast. Does anyone know any good brunch caterers???

              Thanks to everyone for all the help and suggestions! I really appreciate it!

              1 Reply
              1. I would suggest Fairway, Zabar's or Balducci's.

                1 Reply
                1. So, after going on and on about not wanting anything too "ethnic" the family is considering going ethnic. I found a place called Havanna Central. Seems to be a local franchise. Does anyone have any experience (good or bad) with this place? We'd be looking to rent space there versus having them come to us.

                  Thanks!