‘Our food is always good’
By David Zaslawsky
Photography by Robert Fouts
PIKE ROAD – One of Tammy Griffin’s clients wanted the caterer to duplicate the chicken parmesan that is sold at LongHorn Steakhouse. No problem.
Another client wanted Griffin to duplicate the salads at Olive Garden. No problem. You can buy Olive Garden’s dressing at Sam’s Club, she said.
A potential client requested that Griffin produce a vegan meal for a wedding. No problem. A couple of other caterers declined the request.
“We go above and beyond doing good food,” said Griffin, who is president of A Catered Affair in Pike Road. “I think that’s the main thing – our food is always good. Our staff is very knowledgeable.”
Griffin, who started her catering business in 2000, said that unlike some other caterers who use prepared food and heat it up, “Most of my food is from scratch.” Some of her most popular items on a wide-ranging menu are fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits and her little signature sandwich, a mini BLT.
She is definitely popular. A Catered Affair was “booked solid” until July and that was back in February. Griffin said she has employees who do most of the prep work as well as catering lunches. She calls in help for large weekend events and once had 22 servers working at a 400-person wedding. It turned out to be her most lucrative catering job as the client ordered high-end items such as beef tenderloin, crab claws, fish, shrimp and oysters. The catering was $35,000. The client provided their own bartender.
That is not the largest event she catered. There was a 600-person wedding and 500 people attended a Mardi Gras fundraiser. Griffin did say she has a minimum of 75 people to cater a wedding.
“I run a pretty tight ship,” she said. “It’s my way or the highway – in a nice way. It’s going to have my name on it, so I want it done like I want it done.” Either Griffin or her daughter Jessica Griffin are at the weddings they cater. “I don’t mind spending a little extra to get the job done,” Griffin said.
Asked what sets her company apart from other caterers, Griffin said, “Experience, creativity; not afraid to step out of the box.” She said that brides planning a wedding don’t have to worry about her catering business compared with someone “who has only done it once or twice or only been in the business five years and I’ve been in the business almost 20.”
Even if Griffin turns down a job, she said she offers advice and recommends another caterer.
What also sets Griffin apart is that she co-owns Butcher’s Block with her brother Walter Rotton. That is why she moved her catering business from EastChase to Pike Road, where Butcher’s Block is located. It opened in November 2013.
It was a reunion for the siblings, who opened Country Café on Troy Highway in 1996 and sold the business four years later. The two parted ways as Griffin opened A Catered Affair and her brother worked at Bonnie Plant Farm.
Being in the restaurant business was natural for the brother and sister. Their parents were long-time restaurant owners of Country Kitchen in Union Springs.
The Butcher’s Block has a deli open for lunch and dinner six days a week. The two share that revenue. Rotton has the beer, wine and meat business while Griffin sells various items.
The bottom line for Griffin is working six days a week instead of four or five. The deli is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. “Business seems to be picking up more and more,” Griffin said. “Once people realized we’re open, more people are coming out here. Our hamburgers are really good because we cut all of our own beef.”
Griffin and her brother are looking to add a venue such as an old house or barn to stage events.