October 2017

Street Meet American Tavern: Creating Catering Connections

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: Arno Dimmling

Over the course of their 12 years on Hilton Head Island, perpetual motion may be the best way to describe Street Meet American Tavern. “We’re always trying to be better and do more for the community,” said owner Carey Basciano. The energy level at this quintessentially local, all-American restaurant is palpable, where they know their customers, listen to their likes, and nimbly maneuver to meet them. Fueled by word-of-mouth, they have successfully maintained their popular identity over the years; serving great food, with a welcome second only to walking through your babcia’s front door with her pierogies waiting on the table. Street Meet is getting even better, with their latest incarnation, focusing on expanding the catering side of their enterprise, both offsite and onsite.

“The entire intention when we opened Street Meet was to offer business catering,” Basciano said. Identifying a need for office lunch deliveries, the restaurant’s catering menu of box lunches, group trays, party platters, and cookouts has well-filled that need with sandwiches, wraps, and salads, all that come with chips and slaw, wings, hot dogs, sliders, pretzels, and nachos; appealing to everyone from teachers to pharmaceutical reps, for events from concessions and picnics, and parties to fundraisers.

“The benefit of having a local business provide your business catering, rather than a national chain, is that there is no franchising fee, the quality is higher, and the portions are larger,” Basciano said. Street Meet’s sandwiches and wraps are made with enough meats and fillings to justify a split; offering 30 different types of wraps, each can legitimately feed two people. With Basciano’s guidance and ability to customize each order, providing great food for a business or social event, can be economical and most-certainly satisfying.

Street Meet’s social catering and customized buffets have fit nicely into a niche somewhere between a box lunch and a full-service, high-end event; however, there were a fortunate few who tasted the menu from one of these occasions, because until now, the people-power just wasn’t available to develop this business. Basciano, and his veteran kitchen manager Will Richards, are thrilled to be partnering with Michelle Kitter to change all that, and amp up Street Meet’s social catering menus and culinary dexterity.
Formerly of Michelle’s Gourmet-to-Go Catering on Hilton Head Island, New Yorker and life-long caterer, Kitter is equally thrilled to be teaming up with Basciano and Street Meet, taking their collaborative fresh menus to the local Lowcountry community. “We’re both very excited about this,” Kitter said. “We’re kind of cut from the same cloth. We tweaked our menus and expanded on them, adding an appetizer menu, dinner menus, and a holiday menu.

“If you want a turkey dinner, I will prep it for you, and you have a choice of me cooking it, or putting it in the oven yourself that day; some people like the smell of turkey cooking. There are about six or seven options on this menu, including filet minion, leg of lamb, my sage turkey breast, or a regular turkey that’s wrapped in bacon. Then there are seven vegetables and sides, and we will incorporate desserts. We’re going to work as a team on this, always trying to make it better than the last time.”

With Kitter promoting their new social catering menus and doing some of the cooking herself, the partnership provides a foundation on which the Street Meet catering business will have room to grow. The cocktail and buffet menus now offer three tiers of options, with selections from crab cakes, chilled shrimp, and beef tenderloin sandwiches, to chicken alfredo and sausage and peppers. Like their business catering menu, everything is available for pick-up or delivery.

Street Meet offers offsite catering, including mobile cookouts and buffets. Upon request, they will provide attendants for set-up, buffet assistance, and clean-up. Onsite private events are completely customizable from the menu to the space needed. “With the addition of our dining room/private room, we can offer onsite catering, and we’re currently booking holiday parties,” Basciano said. Seating 48 comfortably inside the restaurant, the Street Meet team will make room for larger parties by locating a buffet line in their outdoor space, where even more seating is an option.

Simply put, at Street Meet, every catering request is considered, and if possible, every request is met. The restaurant team funnels catering inquiries directly to Basciano, whose experience and willingness to get creative, take the customers just where they need to be, even if that means directing them elsewhere if their event doesn’t fit the Street Meet vibe. “I would rather refer them to another caterer that I trust, than try to do something I know doesn’t fit well with Street Meet,” he said.

Community and family are the mainstays for Basciano at Street Meet. With his sister/general manager Nicole Basciano, and his wife Shelby, the restaurant’s administrator, on the team, business and life flow from there, which includes his three daughters and a steady flow of local fans, not to mention the late-night patrons who gather at Street Meet after finishing their work at other local businesses and restaurants.
Supporting local groups and causes, Street Meet offers Tuesday fundraising opportunities. “If an organization or group wants to raise money and can give us about a month’s notice, we’ll co-promote a fundraising night,” Basciano said. “We’ll give you 10 percent of all the revenue brought in between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.; that’s for take-out, that’s for the bar, that’s for everything. You send people to the restaurant, and we’ll write you a check the next week.”

The latest news from Street Meet American Tavern is all about catering and community. Creating new partnerships, new menus, and new options, their calendar is filling in fast. Whether scheduling weekly lunches for your team, putting together a party or get-together, helping feed an unexpected crowd, raising funds for a cause, of celebrating a special occasion or holiday, it is just the right time to call Street Meet. After all, they are getting very, very good at what they do.

Street Meet American Tavern is located at 95 Mathews Drive, Suite D11, Port Royal Plaza on Hilton Head Island. For more information, call (843) 842-2570 or visit streetmeethhi.com.

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