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2017 BEST Catering Service: Park Avenue Catering

Author: Jean Saylor Doppenberg
June, 2017 Issue

 “Our goal is always the best final product we can produce.”—Bruce Riezenman


Emphasizing the high quality of service and the longevity of his staff, the executive chef and owner of Park Avenue Catering is honored to accept the Best Catering Service award for 2017. “We’ve won this award numerous times, and I have them all posted on my office wall,” says Bruce Riezenman with pride. “I don’t take this recognition for granted, and I’m thankful for the support from those who voted for us.”


He credits the success of the company to a team of workers who have been with him for many years. “They care about our company and our clients. We hire staff based on their personality more than anything else––people we know will have the same level of quality we stand for and will also understand that it’s all about giving the clients what they are seeking.”


Every team member, he says, is kept in the loop with all the details of their planned events. “It’s our excellent communication that makes a difference in our service.” Park Avenue Catering currently has 25 full-time employees and many more seasonal and on-call helpers who work events as needed. From weddings to corporate events to private in-home parties, Park Avenue Catering handles all sizes and styles of gatherings.


Riezenman continually evolves menus and seeks out innovations to bring a fun, fresh approach to events. “We are always meeting with local producers and artisan food makers, and we discover great products for experimenting with new dishes. A big part of our catering is presentation and putting on a show at events.”


Recently, that includes setting up a Yakitori grill, which uses a special type of Japanese charcoal that burns hot and clean to quickly cook foods at high heat. “This grill makes a big impression and allows us to create interesting twists on textures and flavors,” says Riezenman. “We also have other types of grills and griddles that we bring to events for specific purposes. Generally, we cook all food on-site. There are occasions when we choose otherwise. However, our goal is always the best final product we can produce. The logistics of each event is what guides our choices. And as we lean more toward interactive food stations and fun presentations, it adds a level of excitement to the guest experience.”


Park Avenue Catering has also started to expand into food tastings with craft beers and spirits. “This interests many clients and their guests, so we are enhancing our food repertoire to ensure that whatever beverage is being served is well paired with the food,” says Reizenman. “It’s all about entertaining and bringing people together. That’s our job––to create an atmosphere that meets our client’s goals for their events.”


A New York native and Culinary Institute of America graduate, Reizenman ran a successful restaurant in Manhattan in the early 1980s before relocating to Sonoma County. He opened Prospect Park restaurant in 1986 in Santa Rosa, followed by Buona Sera Ristorante in Petaluma in 1990.


Riezenman got back into the restaurant business in 2012, when he opened Park 121 Cafe and Grill in the Cornerstone Sonoma complex located on Highway 121, south of Sonoma. He is also the author of Pair It!, a food-and-wine pairing app for smart devices, featuring more than 1,000 dishes and 20,000 pairings.

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