Borough Bites | Home for the holidays: In-house dining takes on new meaning amid COVID-19

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A Thanksgiving feast prepared Silver Spoon Catering. (Jamie Giambrone/08108)
A Thanksgiving feast prepared Silver Spoon Catering. (Jamie Giambrone/08108)

There’s no place like home for the holidays, right? The sentiment has taken on a new meaning as the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on and keeps families from travelling to visit relatives this holiday season.

But what are you to do if you’re not typically the one cooking dinner on Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah? Sure, you could attempt to cook something yourself. But hasn’t 2020 already been stressful enough? So, if you’re considering having your holiday meal catered this year, these local eateries are here to help.

Silver Spoon Catering

Husband and wife catering team Jillian and Dennis Kelley have owned Silver Spoon Catering since 2010. The duo specialize in family catering, and prior to the pandemic, their food was a fixture at weddings, showers, birthday parties and the occasional corporate lunch.

All of their food is homemade with offerings that change with the seasons. Previously located in Haddon Township, in July, they moved the business to a new space in Oaklyn that offered them a bigger kitchen and space to host events on the premises.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, almost all of their events were cancelled. Julie said the spring is typically their busiest time of the year between graduations, Easter, communions and a variety of other events.

Given they are a catering company, when the shutdowns hit, they had to shift gears. They began temporarily offering meal bundles for takeout that people could purchase. Their menu was comprised of some of their most popular catering items such as chicken francaise, green beans and roasted potatoes.

They continued offering takeout from April through June, but once people began feeling comfortable having small gatherings again, they stopped the takeout services and made their full-time return to catering. Throughout the summer and fall, Silver Spoon catered micro-weddings and outside gatherings and even expanded their services by offering decor and rental services.

And now they’re gearing up for the holiday season. Every year, they offer a full Thanksgiving spread that customers can pick up by noon on Thanksgiving Day along with reheating instructions. They offer turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies and other typical items, with all of their dishes made from scratch. Given everything is homemade, they can tailor menus to meet dietary restrictions for those who may be gluten free or vegan.

While some companies offer Thanksgiving meals at a set price, Silver Spoon offers items a la carte. So, if customers are just interested in picking up a turkey, they have that option, or if they’d just like to pick up sides, they can do that, too. Meals can be tailored to suit customers’ needs.

Around Christmas, they’re offering fish dishes for families who host Feast of the Seven Fishes, as well as other traditional holiday items such as meatballs and baked ziti. Items are available for pickup by noon on Christmas Eve and come with reheating instructions.

Julie said they’ve already seen quite a bit of interest in their Thanksgiving offerings. She said cooking a Thanksgiving meal can be overwhelming to do on your own and now that people aren’t gathering with extended family this year, she expects there may be more demand than usual for catering on Thanksgiving.

To find out more about Silver Spoon Catering, visit silverspoonnj.com.

Haddon Culinary

Opened nearly a year ago, Haddon Culinary is a Collingswood speciality market that offers casual dining and catering services. Owners James Liuzza and Joe Muldoon’s primary focus is on cooking “the right way,” according to Liuzza. So, they offer speciality products and make all of their items from scratch.

The store offers stocks, soups, pie doughs and other items made in-house and by hand. They also have a variety of prepared foods including meals and sandwiches to go. The store has a full service butcher shop where they make their own sausages and hot dogs, and they also have a catering menu with a wide selection of options.

Liuzza said when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they were scared and unsure of what to expect. While Haddon Culinary typically offers specialty items, when grocery stores began running out of basics, they quickly pivoted to try to help the community get these items and began stocking up on chicken breasts, ground beef, produce, flour and other supplies.

“We were doing pretty much anything we could to make sure we were there for Collingswood and the surrounding areas because a lot of the supermarkets were depleted,” Liuzza said.

Now, Haddon Culinary is focusing on the holiday season. Liuzza describes their Thanksgiving menu as “very basic, but it’s done right.” Customers have the choice to take home a fully dressed and ready to cook turkey or can pick up a boneless turkey roulade that just needs reheating.

The a la carte offerings include Thanksgiving staples such as sage sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, Brussels sprouts and salted caramel root vegetables. Their chefs are also cooking up a variety of homemade all butter crust pies.

“Everything is from scratch; no corners are cut,” Liuzza said. “We’re very proud of [the menu].”

As of now, their Christmas menu is still in the development stage, but Liuzza said they’re looking to cater small groups and have offerings that fit a variety of tastes.

Since posting their Thanksgiving menu, there’s been a definite response, according to Liuzza. He said given some customers’ holiday plans have changed this year, some people who wouldn’t ordinarily cook want a convenient way to host the holidays at home.

“We just want to provide good food for everyone – especially at a time like this when it’s still uncertain, and if we can provide any kind of comfort and convenience, then we want to do that,” Liuzza said.

To learn more about Haddon Culinary, visit www.haddonculinary.com.

Villa Barone

Opened in 1994, Villa Barone has been in business for 26 years. Owner Giovanni Barone started the business with his father and brother and took over the business from them about 15 years ago. He currently runs the Collingswood restaurant with his wife Paula.

Barone said the restaurant industry has certainly felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and forced them to adapt their way of doing business. Prior to the pandemic, Villa Barone’s primary business was dine-in service, and while they offered takeout, it wasn’t nearly at the same level they’re currently offering.

Given the current capacity limits on indoor dining, the restaurant now offers more delivery and takeout options to those interested in the restaurant’s Italian offerings.

“There’s been enormous support from the community [ordering] takeout to support us during this hard time,” Paula said.

Additionally, they began creating family meal packages that offer customers their choice of salad and pasta and can be tailored to serve either a family of four or six.

Villa Barone is currently open for both indoor and outdoor dining. Servers have their temperature taken every day, and there are sanitizing stations located throughout the restaurant. All tables are spaced at least six feet apart.

During a typical year, December is a busy time for the restaurant, and they’d usually host Christmas parties for anywhere between 20 to 60 guests. With indoor dining limited to 25 percent capacity indoors, those parties aren’t happening this year.

Instead, the restaurant is offering takeout and catering trays for anyone interested in hosting their own dinner or small gatherings at home. They’re still working on the menu, but John said he anticipates they’ll try to tailor their offerings to be festive and in line with the holiday season. On Christmas Eve, the restaurant would typically serve a seven fish dinner special, so they’re considering doing some sort of spin on that with their Christmas Eve offerings.

To learn more about Villa Barone, visit www.villabaronesite.com.