The New York City Party Planning Guide
Pulling together the right event mix—whether it’s a wedding, a birthday, or a party for no real reason at all—is all about a certain special sauce. Great food and drinks, spot-on music, maybe a few extra shenanigans and flowers for fun, plus a great photographer to capture it all. Below, our New York City rolodex of great vendors.
Oliver Cheng Catering & Events12-16 Vestry St., Tribeca | 212.625.3151
Oliver Cheng Catering and Events mimics the white table-clothed, fine-dining experience in catered form. This boutique company represents the gold standard in catering industry, concepting a totally bespoke New American menu, infused with Asian and European flavors (the level of artistry on each plate is breathtaking) for every job. Conveniently, Oliver Cheng also offers a comprehensive cocktail list with drinks expertly mixed on-site.
Cloud Catering's Michelin-trained chefs spend the same amount of time and effort on presentation—the dishes seriously look like edible works of art—as they do on crafting insanely delicious recipes, which is precisely why we love them (and had them do the food for both our Diane von Furstenberg collaboration dinner and our Net-a-Porter celebration).
Pinch Food Design212.244.7000
Seriously not your average catering crew, Pinch brings a playful, almost theatrical vibe to party food presentation. It’s run by chef Bob Spiegel and designer TJ Girard who collaborate in equal parts: With Pinch, it’s as much about the experience as it is the taste. Picture chef’s tables with quick prep demos, food stations that literally move, clever dishes that rest atop wine glasses, custom-designed utensils, floating pizza slices, and so, so much more.
Peter Callahan has been in the catering business since 1985 and has long since created a name for himself with his popular bite-sized comfort foods. The majority of the events PCC caters are around NYC, but you can book them to come to you elsewhere in the States (and even abroad). Callahan’s crew is accustomed to working in a variety of locations, including unconventional event spaces that may not come equipped with any sort of kitchen access.
Sonnier & Castle554 W. 48th St., Hell's Kitchen | 212.957.6481
This is fancy, white-glove catering at its best. Sonnier & Castle is famous for hiring experienced chefs from the finest NYC restaurants, which in turn translates to sophisticated finger foods, plated dinners, and buffets. What's great is that they can take care of all the details—waiter uniforms and wine pairings included.
People’s Pops & Shaved Ice347.850.2388
You've probably seen People's Pops all over the city (they regularly set up shop at the High Line and Brooklyn Flea), and if you haven't tried their real-fruit pops or shave ice, you really should. For special events, they do custom flavors and fancy champagne-popsicle cocktails.
Pies ‘n Thighs Cateringcatering@piesnthighs.com
In addition to being a great fried chicken joint, with easy-going locations in Williamsburg and the Lower East Side, Pies ‘n’ Thighs caters parties and weddings (to every guest’s delight). Their Southern food is supremely authentic, and although the fried chicken is, again, particularly standout, their pies are just as good.
Parties don’t always lend themselves to healthy meals. The idea behind this food service is that simple, good food can be special-event-worthy. Woldy’s will work with you to come up with a menu (whether it’s breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner) that is seasonal and local, without skimping on taste. Sample dishes include: chia seed breakfast bowls decorated with shaved coconut and edible flowers; roasted Brussels sprouts with white beans and almonds, served with blood orange vinaigrette; Vietnamese-inspired meatballs with sriracha aioli; and (flourless) chocolate cake.
Lady M. ConfectionsThe Plaza Food Hall, 1 W. 59th St., Midtown | 212.452.2222
Even those who are not big on dessert can appreciate the paper-thin layered crêpe cakes that made Lady M. Confections so famous—not too sweet, and with a delicate consistency that literally melts in your mouth. The interiors of all nine international locations are kept strictly stark-white, with the cakes displayed like precious jewels on tiny podiums: there’s the Checkers cake, a chocolate gâteau, tarts, and so much more. While the original outpost is on the UES, the two Midtown boutiques are a blessing when a 3pm sugar craving kicks in.
Roberta’s Cateringinquiries@cateredbyrobertas.com | 718.417.1118
Brooklyn-based Roberta’s has been warmly flourishing for years. They cater events and weddings throughout the five boroughs (and will travel beyond the city). Their catering menu is fairly similar to their Bushwick restaurant menu: wonderful pizzas, seasonal veggies, meat and cheese plate apps—with raw bar additions. You can also host an event in their attached garden space (holds up to 180 for standing events and 120 for seated weddings).
The Fashion Chef Cakes220 36th St., Industry City Food Hall, Brooklyn | 718.369.3003
The reason why Charlotte Neuville is dubbed the Fashion Chef is because she spent close to three decades in the biz (she was pretty high up at Gap Inc.) before leaving it all behind to bake couture cakes full-time. But it seems the industry refuses to let her go; she's been asked to design cakes for everyone from Alber Elbaz to Barneys.
Sogi’s Honey Bakeshopsogishoneybakeshop@gmail.com
Brooklyn-based Sogoal Zolghadri turned her love of watercolor and baking into a full-time gig a couple of years ago quietly launching Sogi's Honey Bakeshop on social media and starting a Kickstarter to help her get the business off the ground. (Check out her hilarious Instagram here.) Her exacting hand takes food coloring and a paintbrush and applies it much like watercolor onto delicately glazed sugar cookies. The result? Cheeky phrases, like "Sorry for things I said when Mercury was in retrograde," edible emojis, and ones painted to look like avocado toast that are almost too pretty too eat.