As many people know (and others may not know), Katz’s roots begin in New York, by way of Austin. Though no relation to the “When Harry Met Sally” “I’ll have what she’s having,” Katz’s Delicatessen, there are a smattering of funny little coincidences. For instance, that Katz’s Deli is on Houston Street in NYC, and currently co-owned by three people, two of which are Martin Dell and Fred Austin. Dell, Inc. (no relation) was of course founded in Austin, Texas. Marc Katz (Barry’s father) moved the family from New York when Barry was 10, eventually opening the original Katz’s Deli in Austin in 1979, where Barry Katz grew up, was bitten by the foodie-bug, and went on to study at the Culinary Institute of America and the restaurant management program at Florida International University, before eventually opening his own Katz’s in Houston in 2000.
…Well that was fun.
But returning to the actual purpose of this write-up, Katz’s infamous motto has a slightly different meaning than what most people associate with it. While it’s true the downtown Houston location is open 24 hours as the Austin location was; the less-well-known meaning stems from Katz’s industry-rare commitment and ability to accommodate last minute catering orders at both Houston-area locations. “We can handle catering orders big or small, with as little as two hours notice,” Barry told us. “Of course, we may not be able to get certain catering menu items out on that short of notice, but that’s the beauty of it – our catering menu is so large, and so diverse, we can come up with something to fit your needs,” explained Sandi Maslak, Katz’s catering manager for The Woodlands area.
“We just don’t want to say ‘no’ to people,” Barry added. In order to be that flexible – not to mention being able to cater full-spread breakfast buffets all across town before the sun comes up, or bring some hearty meals to an office full of executives burning the midnight oil – the catering side of the business relies on the kitchen staff of both locations to be at the top of their game all the time, at any time.
Beginning November 1, customers will be able to place orders from the new Holiday Catering menu. Some of the stand-out selections include the Katz’s Combo ($9.99 per person), which includes sliced turkey breast, turkey-ham, gravy, cranberry sauce, a buttered roll, dressing, a choice of two sides (from garden salad, Caesar salad, broccoli cheese rice casserole, sweet potato casserole, corn casserole, macaroni and cheese, glazed carrots, buttered corn or pan-fried cabbage) and a peppermint or plain brownie.
Also available is a Corporate Package ($10.99 per person), which would give each person one of seven entrees (turkey breast [with dressing and cranberry sauce], turkey-ham, blackened chicken Alfredo, half a citrus-glazed Cornish hen [with pecan rice dressing], stuffed chicken breast [with sun-dried tomato-basil pesto Bechamel sauce], pot roast [with potatoes and carrots] or grilled salmon [+$1]), buttered roll or garlic bread, and choice of two sides (those listed above, plus roasted asparagus, scalloped potatoes or garlic mashed potatoes).
And when you’re really going for that ‘I had no idea a deli could do that’ meal for your guests, coworkers, friends or relatives, may we suggest the Signature Dish? Each person gets their own whole citrus glazed Cornish hen with pecan rice dressing, a buttered roll or garlic bread, and their choice of two sides from all of those listed above. All of that, expertly made, beautifully presented, for only $17.99 per person.
For large groups (50 or more) there is the option of an Appetizer Carving Station($4.50 per person, plus carver), which includes a choice of one meat (herbed roast beef, oven glazed turkey breast, or glazed turkey ham), split rolls, horseradish sour cream, spicy mustard, herb aioli and au jus.
Speaking of appetizers, the holiday appetizer options include everything from the timeless fruit & cheese or vegetable & cheese displays with gourmet crackers, to new and unique items like the spinach & artichoke dip or theItalian Torte (pictured) made with cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh pesto, served with toasted bagel chips.
And don’t forget dessert! In addition to the decadent 7 Layer Chocolate Cake (pictured), which includes generous
slices of an assortment of dessert bars, homemade brownies and beautiful chocolate covered strawberries ($55, serves up to 25) – for the holiday season, enjoy Holiday Croissant Bread Pudding or perhaps some White Chocolate Raspberry Eruption.
The Katz’s Combo, Corporate Package and Signature Dish packages above require a minimum of 10 per order; but if you have a smaller crowd, there are plenty of options on Katz’s every day catering menu. Take a look:
Katz’s has every meal, for every occasion, for any size crowd – completely covered. The menu that is available for catering orders is incredibly large, containing many dishes and sides that aren’t available when you dine in at either location. And it’s not just deli-type foods, either. On Katz’s breakfast menu, for instance, there’s theHearty Bagel Bake: layers of bagels, turkey-ham, potato pancakes and cheese baked into a warm casserole. Katz’s offers five different breakfast buffets: a Belgian Waffle Breakfast, Pancake Breakfast, French Toast Breakfast, Build Your Own Breakfast Taco Bar (all $10.99 per person, minimum 10 per entree) and the Big Business Breakfast Buffet ($14.99 per person) with scrambled eggs, potato pancakes, huge fresh fruit bowl, choice of one meat from spicy sausage, turkey-ham or beef bacon; choice of bread from silver dollar pancakes, waffles, French toast, wheat toast or croissants – with all the necessary butter, syrup & jam.
We’ve only just covered the first four of the 22-page catering menu Katz’s offers. There are dishes big and small, from all sorts of nationalities. Items like Bite Size Chicken Cordon Bleu, or Chicken Dijonaise, a Lemon Chicken Piccata or for vegetarians, Grilled Veggie Quesadillas. There are eight different salads, plus a build-your-own salad bar, three different sizes of customizable box lunches, platters with everything from deluxe sandwiches to a bagel and lox platter. Plus those desserts! Makes us wish we had more people working for us!
Sandi and Barry filled us in on just how well that well-oiled machine can work. First of all, there’s the training. It’s weeks-long, it’s intense, and yes, there’s a test at the end. Everyone has a job to do, and most everyone can also do most anyone else’s job. Which is why it’s perfectly normal to see Barry himself working the line, chopping, cooking, baking, packaging. And then there are of course the checklists, “the most colorful highlighting system of lines and charts you’ll ever see,” Barry says. All of this comes together to bring the customer a complete, worry-free, no-hassle catering experience.
Sandi explains, “when we bring your catering order to you – and here in The Woodlands area, I do everything I can to be right there with the drivers delivering it – everything is included. We bring in the chaffers, the sternos, the plates, napkins, flatware; if you order drinks, we’re bringing cups and ice, if you ordered coffee, we’re bringing the sugars, sweeteners, creamers and stirrers, if you ordered tea, fresh lemon wedges… you get the idea. And we set it all up, too. Tell us where you want it and what time, we come in, set it all up. It’s beautiful, it’s complete, and you’re the hero.” Another unique thing that Katz’s does is treat the person placing the catering order to a complimentary box lunch or salad. And just like when you dine at Katz’s, when they cater, no one goes hungry. The same great portion sizes you see at the restaurant carry over into the catering side. For instance: a typical pan of Lasagne is cut into 12 servings, 3 x 4. At Katz’s, it’s nine servings (3 x 3). For a lot of people, that’s enough for two meals! Same thing with say, the Build Your Own BBQ Sandwich Bar; no small quarter-pound/pre-cooked-weight servings of beef, sausage or chicken per person. Servings are much larger, and based on post-cooked weight.
We can’t possibly cover it all here – there’s just too much! For just a fraction of an idea of how good some of these things are, check out our most recent review of Katz’s Express . And if you’re in the Woodlands area, including Conroe and Spring, give Sandi Maslak a call at 713-836-0337; she can tell you all about Katz’s catering and answer any questions. All throughout the greater Houston area, check out Katz’s Catering page, where one of the five dedicated catering staff can help you get your order squared away, or you can even order online – a whole new way to get your Katz’s – that just went live! And starting October 1, be sure to mention the John Cooper School when you place your catering order. Katz’s is donating 10% of all catering orders to the John Cooper School through December 31, 2012.
Related:Katz's Express Breakfast