Delo: [inaudible 00:00:07] and catering in the Arizona Business Journal. Yeah.

Jennifer Russo: Yeah. We've been in the top five since they started the list, which has been really cool.

Delo: That's amazing.

Jennifer Russo: I know. I mean, I'm so lucky to be able to do what I love.

Speaker 3: You're listening to the Bar & Restaurant Podcast, where hospitality lovers come to listen and learn with expert David De Lorenzo.

Delo: I'm going to get to know Jennifer Russo here. How's that sound?

Jennifer Russo: Sure.

Delo: Okay, exciting. Where were you born?

Jennifer Russo: I was born in New Jersey.

Delo: New Jersey?

Jennifer Russo: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes.

Delo: So was my dad.

Jennifer Russo: That's what you were saying, back East.

Delo: Yeah. I went to Madison Township High School out there.

Jennifer Russo: I left when I was four.

Delo: Okay. So you don't have many memories of it?

Jennifer Russo: I don't have that memories of that being young there, but we go back a lot because my cousin is there and she is closest thing I have to a sister. So we go back at least once, if not twice a year. So I love New Jersey.

Delo: You love it.

Jennifer Russo: I don't understand why it gets such a bad rap. I don't go in the winter very often, but it's amazing.

Delo: Yeah. And you're ready for this COVID to be over with because you want to travel.

Jennifer Russo: I do. I just want to be normal again.

Delo: Yeah, I know.

Jennifer Russo: I know everyone says that, I guess I'm not different. Like, "Oh no, I love it. Bring it on. Let's keep COVID."

Delo: Yeah, well. You would never know what your personality and how uppity you are in a good way. There's nothing normal going on.

Jennifer Russo: Thank you. You catch me a good moment. So there's other times where there's a lot of curse, and I'm fielding bad Yelp reviews or whatever the hell I have to do kind of thing.

Delo: Yeah. I'm sure that's a lot of fun running the business. Now you went to the same high school as me. You graduated from Horizon in 1990, is that correct?

Jennifer Russo: Yes, yes.

Delo: Yeah. So Jersey, and then where did you come? Here?

Jennifer Russo: Pretty much. So what happened was, is that my parents have been together since freshman year and junior year of high school. And so my dad went off to college and he must come home one weekend or whatever, but boom, came a little bit earlier than they were expecting. So my dad, he finished college and then he joined the Indian health service, which come to find out that he is a captain in the coast guard, which is so random. So it's pretty funny, but so they paid for him to go to dental school and he had to give two years back. So we moved to [inaudible 00:02:35], the four corners. And I mean, that lasted a year. Then we moved to Colorado. My dad commuted because I think my mom was going to crack up.

Delo: No kidding, okay. And do you have siblings?

Jennifer Russo: I do have two brothers.

Delo: Two brothers. Older?

Jennifer Russo: Younger.

Delo: Younger.

Jennifer Russo: I'm the oldest. And then one is three and a half years younger and five years younger.

Delo: Okay, yeah. Have any of them ever worked for you?

Jennifer Russo: Oh, everyone in my family has worked for me. But that they worked for me when they were in college. My mom was my original pastry chef. We just call my dad the mayor, he's marketing. Not really, but he definitely kept us afloat a time or two, so he's finance.

Delo: That's cool.

Jennifer Russo: But we've been through it the whole time.

Delo: I love that. And then you went to culinary school in San Francisco, right?

Jennifer Russo: Yeah, loved it. Best party I've ever been too.

Delo: That's a hell of a resume.

Jennifer Russo: It was a good time.

Delo: Best party.

Jennifer Russo: It was good time. Well, I'd worked in the industry five years before going. I mean, I shouldn't downplay it, but it wasn't that difficult because I'd been in the business then. And you take one class per week or two and it's eight hours a day, but it's butchery. So you're just butcher a million chickens. It was just kind of repetitive or you made a cake and four of you worked on it. It was just silly.

Delo: Was it the extracurricular activities though that made it a party?

Jennifer Russo: Everything about it was fun. I loved the learning part. I loved the people. I'm still really, really close friends with quite a few friends. I love living in city. Living in the city in the '90s was pretty fun.

Delo: Oh, I bet.

Jennifer Russo: And that kind of stuff. I mean, there's a lot of perks. Yeah, it was fun.

Delo: Yeah. And then you found yourself back out here.

Jennifer Russo: I did. I came out here because I did my internship with Vincent. And after the month, he asked if I wanted a job and came back. And I did my internship at the end of my school. So I literally went back, had a few tests, graduated, and then came back.

Delo: Yeah. And then after that, you were at Tarbell's?

Jennifer Russo: Sous chef at Tarbell's. And I mean, I would still be working for Mark, but I had a knee injury, so it took me out of line cooking for a while.

Delo: Oh my goodness. Look at that. So what was the knee injury from?

Jennifer Russo: Well, I mean, that's, one part, this part, that part's, all busted up, but I broke my hip when I was a kid and then decided stupidly to be in this business. So I think just wear and tear on it. So we put back together a couple of times, but here we are. And then thought, "Why not start a catering company?"

Delo: Yeah. Hey, you don't need a knee to do that.

Jennifer Russo: Don't need that.

Delo: Yeah, that's fine. I'll be my own boss.

Jennifer Russo: Yeah.

Delo: And you've been doing the catering, what? 27 years?

Jennifer Russo: Since '97, end of '97. So 23 going to 24 years, yeah.

Delo: 24 years, okay. Wow.

Jennifer Russo: I know.

Delo: And then you started the market?

Jennifer Russo: A little over seven years ago.

Delo: Okay. Yeah. How are you feeling so far?

Jennifer Russo: I mean, you know what? Catering is my jam and I miss it because obviously, that's 90% slower than it used to be. And the restaurant has its ups and flows because depending on, but a couple of good things over COVID is we've come up with new ideas. You really have to stretch your brain during this. And I also got involved with the James Beard Foundation. So a lot of great has come out of it, even if it's been such a shit show.

Delo: Yeah, for sure. And then in between, as we were talking, you have one son Cooper and you've been homeschooling, correct?

Jennifer Russo: There's that. I mean, I wouldn't call it homeschooling because I don't understand sixth grade, it's embarrassing.

Delo: Neither do I.

Jennifer Russo: But I'm doing my best. I feel like I'm more of just there for mental health and I'm really not good at that either. So well, we get through the day. And then we decided it's a much better idea to send them to my niece's house because they're in the same grade, nine weeks apart. And then their mom will come to my house as an office.

Delo: Oh, there you go.

Jennifer Russo: So that's what we're working out this week.

Delo: What are some fun things that you'd like to do with your son in your off time?

Jennifer Russo: Everything. I'm a little obsessed with him. This sounds so arrogant, but I don't mean it that way, but we're kind of the same person. So he's obnoxious and funny and lazy and like he's all over the place. And he's 110 like I am, fight or flight. I mean, he loves to eat, which is awesome. He's a big time athlete, so that takes up a lot of time. We watch a lot of bad TV. Embarrassingly, we're watching The Bachelor. And so I'm teaching about women and how crazy they are, it's like that.

Delo: Good for you.

Jennifer Russo: I mean, that's parenting 101 right there.

Delo: That's homeschooling, yeah.

Jennifer Russo: Yeah, we just hang out.

Delo: Life's lessons.

Jennifer Russo: He's a cool kid.

Delo: You've won a few awards. I know you had the 2018 Foodist Award as Best Cater. That was awesome. You were also ranked number three in catering in the Arizona business journal.

Jennifer Russo: Yeah, we've been in the top five since they started the list, which has been really cool.

Delo: That's amazing. Yeah.

Jennifer Russo: I mean, I'm so lucky to be able to do what I love. I mean, running a business kind of sucks, but the food part is amazing. I mean, I'm blessed to be able to do what I love.

Delo: Isn't it kind of interesting? I mean, I go through that same thing. I own an insurance agency, yet I'm doing a podcast with somebody that's got a lot of energy that works with me and we work with each other. And so when you're able to do other things that you love, the business aspect, even though you've got to do that stuff, you still get it done.

Jennifer Russo: Oh, 100%. And being able to do opportunities like this makes that part not as hard.

Delo: It's fun.

Jennifer Russo: Yeah. I mean, honestly, I could not, and not that I do it well anyways, but I mean, I couldn't type five years ago because I had business partners that did that end and I did the cooking part. And then probably about 10 years ago, I took it all over. So I had to figure out how to email and type and make proposals.

Delo: And do all that stuff. Yeah, make proposals, yup.

Jennifer Russo: It was more fun when I just did the cooking and creating menus.

Delo: But now, you can do it all. It's all yours.

Jennifer Russo: I can do it all. Only about 70%.

Delo: Yeah, yeah. Tell me how important it is as far as the cooking and the food and everything that you do from in the market to actually providing food to people. I know we talked a little bit about this while we were at your kitchen, but has there been any sort of differences on how you acquire your food locally through Arizona vendors and stuff like that?

Jennifer Russo: Absolutely. As much as I can support, or we can support local or small business, I'm 100% about because that's us. And it's amazing because you get to meet so many great people too. I mean, my shamrock rep is nice, but I mean, there's just something about getting pasta from here and mushrooms from there and cut chilies. It's just cool.

Delo: It's relationships.

Jennifer Russo: 100%.

Delo: Yeah. And you get to know those people and you understand the blood, sweat, and tears and all the things that they do. And so legitimately, you're buying them in essence for a great product.

Jennifer Russo: Well, and the cool thing is that, I mean, they have so much joy about it. I mean, there are the people delivering the items, will be like, "Hey, how are you? What's going on?" That kind of stuff. Right, the relationships just grow and it's cool. And then you get to share their information with the world as they share yours, which is really neat too. And that's how you grow, right.

Delo: It is absolutely how you grow. So you're full of energy. You're so bubbly. I could literally spend a lot of time with you, and I love that. I love the feel of energy and just the connectivity of somebody that is positive and has passion within that. So that being said, I'm huge on passion, the word passion, and life's conquests to become, let's just say, the best person with inside ourselves. And a lot of times, in order to do that, it's us doing things that we really enjoy. So if you had to pick one or two other things besides catering that you would be going and doing right now, what would those things be?

Jennifer Russo: Well, I love wine and I love travel, but I mean, if I wasn't a chef, I would want something with design. If it's creating homes, or even in cosmetology or something with my hands and being creative. I always thought it'd be so cool to be a hairdresser or a makeup artist.

Delo: Yeah, that's awesome. Yeah.

Jennifer Russo: or something like that. But it definitely would be staying in the creative realm, stuff like that. I wouldn't be like, "Oh, I'm going to go volunteer and save puppies." I mean, I love puppies, but I don't feel like I need to be like in it with my hands and stuff.

Delo: Yeah. And you know what that is, which is great. I mean, for me, I would be a rockstar.

Jennifer Russo: Love that.

Delo: I mean, I just suck at playing, but you never know how you'll ever get discovered in that essence.

Jennifer Russo: Yeah. And I feel with music, they tweak a lot now, that kind of stuff. You have the look, you're good to go.

Delo: There you go, right. I know. Just got my hair trimmed yesterday.

Jennifer Russo: I love it.

Delo: So as I move on to into this third season of podcasting, and what's really important with me creating the synergy for what I call the 3F system. And it's food, fitness, and focus. So out of those 3Fs, when you think of food, what is the most important aspect of food, personally for you, as far as how you feel when you eat it or where you get it from? Or that sort of thing. For you personally, not necessarily the restaurant.

Jennifer Russo: Well, I'm 100% about seasonal and I get super excited about food. So I just think when something's in season, it's so pretty and it tastes so much better. And so that's really my focus, and that is at home, at work. It doesn't matter. It has to be beautiful and tasty and pretty simple. I like the product to kind of speak for itself. So that's what gets me excited.

Delo: I love that. That's a great answer.

Jennifer Russo: Yeah. It's cool too.

Delo: And then as far as the food vice, I know I'm addicted to sugar. If I eat one thing, I'm eating a whole box of it. You have that same?

Jennifer Russo: I mean, there's nothing that I don't like. And trust me, I don't do anything in moderation. But I feel like when it comes to food, I love proteins and veggies and I love beautiful breads and all that. You know what I mean? Pasta, but I don't really take anything away from myself. So I think if I want it, I kind of have it. But then it doesn't make me want it as much. You know what I mean? Because it's right there at my fingertips, it gets me excited.

Delo: I like that. That's a great answer. And then let's talk about the movement and and the physical activity of what you enjoy. As we become more into our forties and we're looking to be more-

Jennifer Russo: [crosstalk 00:13:27].

Delo: Right. Well, I get what you're saying. So getting more mobile or I don't know. Is yoga your thing?

Jennifer Russo: Pilates.

Delo: Pilates? Okay.

Jennifer Russo: Yeah. As soon as I had my hip replaced and was cleared, I started Pilates. It doesn't mean I'm great at it, but it keeps me moving. It keeps things from hurting too much. I really love meditation, which helps a lot. And when I don't do it, I'm batty. And then now I'm into, I was doing hot yoga, but not as flexible as I used to be. So now I'm living the sauna and the cold plunge and all that kind of stuff.

Delo: Beautiful, yeah.

Jennifer Russo: And it's kind of become a little bit of routine. Cooper called me a complete puss because I can only do a hundred seconds in the ice water and he supposedly can do seven.

Delo: Hey, I'm getting in the pool in the winter. I'm doing it a whole Wim Hof series.

Jennifer Russo: You're so good.

Delo: And yeah, I'm a little nutty like that.

Jennifer Russo: I want to see him do seven minutes and I'll do two minutes.

Delo: Yeah, exactly. So then the focus aspect, you love to meditate. So just tell me one of your meditation practices. Is it just sitting still for five minutes?

Jennifer Russo: It's laying and it's dark, but not completely dark. I love the app that Oprah and Chipola do because I like it guided because it's very hard for me to stay focused without guidance. So I love the little chit-chat and then they have just the moment where you're still. And when I do that, I always do a prayer. It's pretty much the same prayer every day with whatever I need to bring in to help a little here and there. I mean, I don't know. And I'm telling you, when I don't do it, it's a totally different day.

Delo: Yeah, yeah. Well, and for the most part, would you say that you find time within your schedule to make sure you get those three F's in?

Jennifer Russo: Yeah, I really do. Even if waking up, I don't want to do any of them some days, but once I do them, then I feel really good.

Delo: I love it.

Jennifer Russo: I do, I know.

Delo: That's so cool.

Jennifer Russo: And it's just, now, days are longer because there's more to do. So it helps a lot to stay focused and motivated and feeling okay.

Delo: Well, people say that you can't buy back time, but the nice thing about Arizona is, as winter fades away, we do get a little bit more time. Because the sunlight comes up at like four and I'm like, "I'm up with the sun."

Jennifer Russo: Yeah, yeah. It's amazing. I feel like I'm going to sleep with the sun. Sometimes, when you're waking up-

Delo: Did you sleep in a little bit today with the rain? Did you hear that?

Jennifer Russo: I did, I did. It was about 8:00, which was nice. And then I should say a little bit before 8:00 because all of Cooper's stuff was there. He was at his dad's last night and then he had to go to my niece's. And so I left it outside this morning and it was 14 phone calls and banging on the door and I'm just like, "There's your stuff, please go."

Delo: "Go." All right. I have some quick fire questions for you and there's no right or wrong answers. I just kind of want to get your perspective. So what do you enjoy more, Christmas or Thanksgiving?

Jennifer Russo: Christmas.

Delo: Okay. Would you rather go back to high school or elementary school?

Jennifer Russo: Oh, interesting. Probably high school.

Delo: Do you even remember elementary school?

Jennifer Russo: No, not really.

Delo: Yeah. I don't either. Would you rather hit the beach or go camping?

Jennifer Russo: Beach.

Delo: Okay.

Jennifer Russo: Zero on the camping.

Delo: Zero on the campaign, not. Okay. Would you rather have an octopus as a friend or a shark?

Jennifer Russo: Octopus, because has more arms, we can do more.

Delo: That's awesome.

Jennifer Russo: Right?

Delo: Totally. Would you rather get dressed up in a little black dress or would you rather wear jeans?

Jennifer Russo: Both.

Delo: Both.

Jennifer Russo: Depending on the mood, right.

Delo: Yeah, okay. Yeah. Would you rather hang out with aliens or humans?

Jennifer Russo: Oh, that's a tough one. I think it depends on the day, also. I mean, I have a lot of questions for aliens, but I also like to hang out with my people.

Delo: I know.

Jennifer Russo: I guess if I could do a little mix of both.

Delo: Or maybe humans are aliens.

Jennifer Russo: Could be.

Delo: Could be. Would you rather go to India or Africa?

Jennifer Russo: Africa.

Delo: Okay. How come?

Jennifer Russo: The animals just really woo me.

Delo: Yeah.

Jennifer Russo: But I would love to go to India too.

Delo: I know.

Jennifer Russo: The culture. India just seems amazing. The beach.

Delo: Totally. I wanted to see Egypt. Egypt's in Africa, right?

Jennifer Russo: Yeah, I think so. We had this conversation with my parents last week and we're both like, "Where's what?"

Delo: "Where's what?" And then with a good knee, all right, would you rather participate in crossfit or water aerobics?

Jennifer Russo: Water aerobics.

Delo: Yeah. Are you a swimmer?

Jennifer Russo: I mean, not great, but I like it a lot. Yeah, I love the feeling of water. I love the beach. I mean, put me in it, I'll come out five hours later. I just love the feeling of the movement of water.

Delo: Ice water.

Jennifer Russo: I mean, [inaudible 00:18:33].

Delo: You'll work your way up to it. You'll work your way up to it. No, that's great. Okay. People that are listening, where can they go to, to find you and how can they hire you?

Jennifer Russo: Oh, I love it. Well, we are on 36th street, Indian school in the Gaslight Plaza. We are actually faced 36th street and we have the black and white awning. We're there Wednesday through Sunday, which I know is a little bit of a pain, but we are open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday and brunch, Saturday and Sunday. So we're a little all over the place, but people seem to find us. And catering, I mean, just give us a call. Either number, I'm there, ready to answer.

Delo: You're there. You're there working away. And as you all have have seen, you see the kitchen and everything and all the operations of how they do it. So that's great. Well, thank you so much for coming.

Jennifer Russo: Thank you for having me.

Delo: We love having you, yeah. And we will get together here soon. Awesome, thank you.

Delo: Well, here we are at Jennifer's place.

Jennifer Russo: Hi, yes we're here.

Delo: So we got to hear a lot of bit about her story a little bit earlier. So now, what we're going to do is we're going to take a tour of this wonderful, magnificent place of creation.

Jennifer Russo: Aw, thank you.

Delo: How long have you been here again?

Jennifer Russo: We will be here seven years next month and we've had Jennifer's catering for 24 years.

Delo: And we are at the crossroads of where?

Jennifer Russo: Oh, excuse me. 36th street and Indian school, but we face 36th street.

Delo: And so tell me how special this place has become to you over the years and what it means to you right here on this corner.

Jennifer Russo: Well, you know what? It's neighborhood, which I love. And it's cozy, which I'm hoping for, but also can be a little sexy at night with the doors open and the lights dimmed down. But what it's done, it's allowed me to bring my clients from catering to Brick and Mortar, which what they're asking for. So that's been amazing. And also, I've had an incredible opportunity with wine makers because I love wine, boutique-y wines. So we've had some of the best wine makers here where I pair food and they do the wine. So that's awesome. And then just seeing people.

Delo: Well, that's exciting. And so we're going to take a tour of the inside now.

Jennifer Russo: Sure, all right.

Delo: All right. Let's check it out.

Jennifer Russo: Okay.

Delo: We're now inside of Jennifer's market, the home of Jennifer's catering.

Jennifer Russo: That too.

Delo: Right. And so right as you walk in the front door, what do we run into? What is this?

Jennifer Russo: Okay. So this has been here. This space is so crazy, but this runs all the fire systems for the whole business. So people need to be nice to me, no. So that's what it is, but it's just super antiquey and cool looking and almost industrial that kind of fits the room because the room has a little bit of industrial, but then a little bit of like sexy with the chandeliers and the seating. So we just had to work with this baby and went from there.

Delo: Very cool. And so when you look at the walls, you have the block walls and it flows in with this, no pun intended, the flow. When you were doing the rest of the decorating, what was going on here? Tell us a little bit about the pictures behind you.

Jennifer Russo: Okay. So the cool thing is that we try to do as much local as we can. So this is Christine Johnson, who's a photographer. And so she so kindly lets us borrow her beautiful artwork all over and then we'll switch it out too. So if someone else wants to do a different look here and it works with the space, we'll do that. And everything's for sale. If someone wants to buy it, I can call her and she'll get one ready for him and all that good stuff. And she's amazing.

Delo: Oh, that is awesome. I love the local aspect of everything that you're doing.

Jennifer Russo: I do, too. We have to, right?

Delo: We'll get more into the local food and the other stuff that you're doing here shortly. Let's take a walk around the dining room.

Jennifer Russo: Perfect.

Delo: The large dining room.

Jennifer Russo: Yeah, it's so huge.

Delo: How many tables usually-

Jennifer Russo: You know what? We're 2,700 square feet total, but we have a 1,500 square foot kitchen because of the catering. But then we also have another 1,400 square feet with wraparound patio. So it feels larger than it is, especially when the doors are open and there's more of a flow, but it's also cozy and intimate and nice like that too.

Delo: Yeah, you get the best of both worlds.

Jennifer Russo: I feel like since I'm doing the big caterings at people's homes, I wanted this to be a little bit more homey and intimate.

Delo: Over the years of doing this, when you go do a catering at somebody's home, there's probably a good percentage of people that actually love the food. And then you come into the restaurant and get more of it.

Jennifer Russo: Totally, 100%. And our catering has doubled from opening the Brick and Mortar. And so that's been amazing because now we can do pick up, we can do take out, we've always done delivery setup, and then full service. So it just gave us a couple more options for people to have food. And I like to make it easy for them. I know how hard it is if you're not throwing a lot of parties. And so we have great containers you can hold it in and whatnot. So then it looks like you did it, but we have it all ready for you. Yeah.

Delo: Okay. And then you have a little bit of a bar there.

Jennifer Russo: Little, yeah.

Delo: I would say, how many seats pre-COVID?

Jennifer Russo: Pre-COVID, we have four to six, depending. That, right next to the bar, is kind of our chef's counter and that is super popular. So just depending on that feel, people do a lot of eating up there as well.

Delo: Got you.

Jennifer Russo: I feel like if they're grabbing a drink from one of our servers or up at the bar, they'll usually take it outside to little areas where they can sit. That's more of a cocktail feel.

Delo: Well, and tell us about chef's counter. How does that work?

Jennifer Russo: Oh, it's super fun. Nothing special except it's our menu, unless we're doing a wine dinner or a special event, but you could just sit up there. I'm back there. I like to be asked. This kind of fun.

Delo: Good for you, you like to be asked.

Jennifer Russo: Yeah, we know that.

Delo: Oh, that's great. And then you have a lot of local wines, I would assume.

Jennifer Russo: We have some local, we have the Page Springs. And then I have quite a bit of Napa wine, but it's super boutique-y. I do stay away from the big, big labels because I like the intimacy, again, of it. And then some Italian and French.

Delo: Can't go wrong with the Italian, right?

Jennifer Russo: No, we love Italian.

Delo: Of course. All right. Well, we're going to take a gander into the back here.

Jennifer Russo: Perfect.

Delo: All right, Jennifer, we're back at house.

Jennifer Russo: In the kitchen.

Delo: Kind of middle of house or kitchen. How big of an area, is this where you do your catering?

Jennifer Russo: This is about 1,500 square feet. So we have two walk-ins, the full line, plus some prep areas.

Delo: Okay.

Jennifer Russo: I know. People walk in if they don't know that we own Jennifer's catering and they're a little surprised by this. We're like, "No, no. We use it for other things."

Delo: And my assumption is this area is very active during certain times of the season and all that.

Jennifer Russo: For sure.

Delo: How has it been as of late?

Jennifer Russo: Well, that's an interesting question. We've been very blessed to continue to come up with different ideas, to keep people coming to us or delivering or doing curbside of some meals that we call feel good food. We've also been doing some appetizer parties with all individual containers and one that's super cute. A little bit more work, but that's okay because it's getting out there. Some podcasts, of course. We're doing some Zoom meetings with some Zoom happy hours where we're sending a bunch of stuff out and then we show them how to work with it.

Delo: Did you ever [inaudible 00:25:12]? Because happy hour would.

Jennifer Russo: No, no. But I dig it because you're just reaching more people all over the United States, which is nuts.

Delo: Now, is your kitchen, let's just say, more prepared because of the fact that maybe the orders that are coming in are not necessarily last minute? Or are they last minute?

Jennifer Russo: They're very last minute. That's the great thing about catering for so long, is when all this pandemic started, I feel like we had a little bit of an edge because we knew how to put together something fast and larger amounts, one. And we had the equipment. We had the to-go's, we had all the stuff. So we didn't have to do a ton of work to prepare for that, which other people, of course, did. But now, I'm just on that phone and then right to the kitchen and then working in the kitchen, and Levi gets it out the door because we're getting calls two days before. And I don't know what that's about because I was like, "You invited your friends over." But I just think people are so excited to just gather a little bit and then they think, "Well, I don't want to do all the work." So they call me and done.

Delo: And you're happy to do the work.

Jennifer Russo: Oh, for sure. It makes me happy.

Delo: Yeah. You got two big hoods.

Jennifer Russo: We do. Double, yup.

Delo: Two separate hoods, a double hood, okay. And you have a couple of prepping stations.

Jennifer Russo: We do here. This is the cold line, other side is the hot line. And then behind this part of the kitchen is prep area. And then on the other side of the hot line, there's prep station.

Delo: Okay. And you have a walk in. Two walk-ins.

Jennifer Russo: Two walk-ins, yep.

Delo: How has the local scene, as far as you being able to get your local produce and all that, how has that been?

Jennifer Russo: It's been really well. It's been great. We've been working with a bunch of people for years. So the loyalty is there and the friendship, and of course, we want to help each other. So as much as we could possibly do locally or small business, then that's what we're doing.

Delo: And then on your catering menu, does this change up a lot?

Jennifer Russo: Yeah. It's totally custom, which is a fun because we have some options on the website. But the fact that it's custom, I feel the people out, they talked to me first. Now, there's so many allergies, so I want to know about all the allergies. I want them also to feel comfortable knowing that all their guests will be happy because we can do gluten-free, we can do vegan, all that kind of stuff.

Delo: Right.

Jennifer Russo: And so it works out pretty well.

Delo: And what is the most popular of meals on your catering?

Jennifer Russo: You know what? For a while, it was just the super cute little passed hors d'oeuvres and the awesome little containers and then a big charcuterie and roasted vegetables and that kind of style. It was going away from the sit-down. But now, because in the current situation, we're doing more sit down. So we have the distance stuff.

Delo: Yeah, that's amazing.

Jennifer Russo: A little bit of everything, yeah.

Delo: And if somebody wants to approach you about getting a catering order, is it your website, or how do they find you?

Jennifer Russo: Perfect, they can call us at (602) 579-5327, or our website. And website, it's all together with the market and Jennifer's catering. So you don't have to be looking all over for it.

Delo: Perfect, that's great.

Jennifer Russo: I know, it's fun.

Delo: Thank you for that.

Jennifer Russo: Oh my goodness. Thank you for having me.

Delo: Yeah.

Delo: Thank you for listening to the Bar & Restaurant podcast. I'm the Delo. Please, if you are so excited to, give us a five star on Apple or Spotify or wherever you're listening, I'd really appreciate it. Follow Bar & Restaurant insurance and follow Local 480 as well. And this has been another episode with Jennifer's Catering. Thanks.

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