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Feb 19, 2008 07:31 AM

Gourmet Catering North Jersey

I am thinking of throwing my boyfriend a surprise 30th bday party. Funds are limited so I am hoping to hold it in the clubhouse in his parents' community in Mahwah in Bergen County. She's had parties there before and I believe used "Above the Salt" to cater. It looks as if this place has closed since then. Any suggestions on a good gourmet caterer in the area? I've heard of Market Basket, are they any good?

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  1. Call chef/owner Christine Nunn at Picnic Caterers in Emerson; I've heard nothing but wonderful things about her, the food, and the company.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Curlz

      Thanks Curlz. I'm going to check out the website first. Thanks again!

      1. re: love2cookmb

        I checked out the menu of Picnic caterers. It looks like a great place for lunch.

    2. Hi love2cookmb - your boyfriends parents don't happen to live in Rio Vista, do they? If so, my parents live there and I was actually thinking of using the clubhouse for my sons baptism party. Market Basket is a really great caterer for the area - they are in Franklin Lakes. I use them for all of my parties. And a great place to get the cake from is Desserts of Distinction in Waldwick. Their cakes are amazing!!! I've also heard pretty good things about The Best of Everything in Ridgewood for catering. Let me know how everything goes and if you happen to know the cost of renting out the clubhouse, please tell me.

      4 Replies
      1. re: lucienne78


        With all due respect to (lucienne), although I agree The Market Basket is a great business and store, and it's popularity is diverse among the public......In my opinion, The MB is greatly over-rated and expensive for the products they offer. The market itself is very impressive when you walk in and see all the selections and prepared foods on display, but the food is not overwhelming in any regards when it comes to tastes. I would agree the quality of ingredients are very good. The truly great caterers though are Country Clubs and Catering Halls, but it comes with a steeper prices.

        Through the years, I have seen many corporate events catered by The MB and I do not see what the fuss is all about. The food in general is very ordinary, nothing special or creative. I have also been an invited guest to many Holiday Parties where The MB was the chosen caterer for the evening. Again, the food was good but not outstanding. What The MB does well is they are a full service event planner. They have complete ability to provide the assets and products for one stop shopping. If you require staff for your party, they also have the service available as well. This is their strength. I am sure they have a number of options to satisfy any customer, but in the end, I know many who have said they were expecting more for the food itself. Many items sound great on paper.....but many times do not deliver to expectations.

        With regards, to Picnic Caterers, I cannot say I have had the experience their deli or the services of their catering department, but I have heard many good things about Christine Nunn and her passion. Visit the following links at and you can see for yourself the quality of Picnic's products. There are some other profiles at

        If you provide some more specific details as to the types of food you prefer, your budget and number of guests anticipated , you may receive more fruitful responses. Picnic Caterers and The Market Basket may conflict with "funds are limited".

        1. re: fourunder

          Thank you all for your replies and suggestions. I'm sorry that I wasn't very specific. I am new to this board but still should have realized I need to provide more information. I'm not really sure how much I want to spend yet. I was hoping to get some ideas and prices and then decide if this is something I'll be able to afford or if I will need to do something more intimate with fewer people. It's not until November so I still have some time.

          We both come from Italian families and food is a very important part of our lives so I would prefer Italian food if possible. I grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island and there are plenty of good Italian Caterers there but I'm new to New Jersey and I'm sort of lost and don't know where to begin. Another thing is, once I have decided 100% to throw this party and I mention it to his parents, I am sure they will offer some monetary assistance. Of course, I don't want to put the wagon before the horse so I can't rely on that.

          I made a list and it looks like it will be about 65 people. I will also need to find a DJ so if you know of anyone please let me know. Oh and Lucienne, it is not Rio Vista.

          1. re: love2cookmb

            The following are Italian Specialty Delis and/or Stores and Bakeries with Excellent reputations, who also support many of the finer Catering operations of many larger venues, n.g., Country Clubs and Hotels.

            Jerry's Gourmet. Visit, he has some pictures and recommendations. Google and you find a number of reviews.

            Jerry's Gourmet
            South Dean Street

            Clemente Bakery, aka Central Bakery in South Hackensack is a very good Italian Bread Baker who happens to have a very good Catering service out of their adjoining Satellite Food Operation which is very popular for lunch every day among locals. Again, Google for many review available.


            Fabulous Foods is another caterer on the lines of the Market Basket. They are a very large and reliable choice.


            FWIW, if funds are serious concern, consider using the suggested recommendations for the more serious hot foods and more difficult items to prepare, I know myself I absolutely love Fried Eggplant Parmigiana, but I also absolutely hate to make it. I can purchase eggplants locally any day for pennies, making full trays at a cost of less than $5.00 per, but this is one dish i would pay any amount for just for not having to make it myself. Consider making the cold items and Antipasti. Go some where like Costco and purchase frozen bags of shrimp and defrost them for cocktail. Purchase three bags of Mesculin and a bottle of dressing for about $15. Do the same for fresh mozzarella, artichokes, olives and salami.....and you can save tremendously. This is really no secret, but this is all many caterers do anyway. Take a product and dress it up.

            My last suggestion is to purchase from the source only trays of food and not by "per person". I have yet to find any caterer who can truly provide food for say 30 the exact same trays they use to for 20 always seems the same amount to me......

            1. re: love2cookmb

              Check out Italian Riviera in Waldwick.

              Italian Riviera
              8 E Prospect St, Waldwick, NJ 07463

        2. I would suggest Great Foods in Oradell. Their strength is hors d'oeuvres...wonderful flatbread pizzas, mini crab cakes, salmon cakes etc...They do a great poached or roasted salmon, too. Lots of choices and everyone I know has been really happy with them. Desserts of Distinction makes unbelievable cakes (they made the cake for my daughter's bridal shower)...the kind that make your guests say that it is the best cake they have ever had, but they are pricey. You can also try Carousel Cakes in Nanuet (soon to open in Westwood). I went to one event catered by Picnic and the food was beautifully presented but I think the quality is better from the Market Basket. It all depends on the sophistication of your eaters. The Market Basket will be able to handle any request, but it will be solid, catered food...nothing special or wow.