It’s the holiday season and many of us are getting ready to host holiday gatherings. These parties can be hassle-free with a little help from a local caterer like Amy’s Catering. Amy’s Catering is located at Saginaw and Pine, just northwest of downtown Lansing. It provides affordable meals and other services such as setup, cleanup and tear down, so you can enjoy your party along with all your guests. Amy’s Catering is owned by Martin and Amy Ramos, longtime residents of the Lansing area. Amy grew up in DeWitt and attended DeWitt High School. Martin is a Waverly High School graduate who started his career learning about the catering business while he worked for a local caterer. His cooking skills were well known to family and friends and he found himself preparing meals for them for special occasions. Sixteen years ago, he decided to start a catering business of his own, and as Amy said, “It snowballed from there.” It took them eight months to find their current location. The building had housed many businesses, including a gas station, grocery store, pizza parlor and restaurant. “The building is at a great locale — convenient to the downtown area and the freeway,” Amy said. At first, Amy, who holds an English degree from Michigan State University, was working elsewhere, but within a year, Martin was so busy he needed her assistance to run the business side of the company. At the time, she was six months pregnant, and when the baby was born — their first — Amy made a special room for her in the building. “The business is truly a family affair,” she said, explaining that her two children — a 15-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son — have spent a lot of time in and around the business. It bears her name because, after considering a long list of other names, they settled on a phrase they heard over and over from their close friends and associates — “When we want catering, call Amy,” she said. With Martin’s culinary skills and Amy’s expertise in staffing, scheduling, purchase ordering, organizing and so on, “we balance each other out,” Amy said. The secret to their success, besides hard work, is that Amy’s Catering “provides good quality food for a great price,” added Amy. As their clientele grew, they kept expanding the building. It now has several rooms — one each for cooking, storage, packing and cleaning. They employ a total of seven employees — five full-time and two part-time — who serve as drivers, cooks and dishwashers. They are busy all year round, providing meals for corporate clients and individuals who book their services for events throughout the Lansing area. They cater everything from bridal and baby showers to business banquets. The menu is large, featuring appetizers, breakfast, lunch and dinner selections, entrée salads, desserts and more. From healthy to hearty fare, they cater to anyone’s taste, dietary needs and budgets. Chicken, beef, pork, seafood and vegetarian offerings are on the menu. Whether you want cold sandwiches and wraps or warm crusted chicken or lasagna, you have a wide variety of choices. Start your meal with fresh vegetable, fruit, cheese and cracker platters, quiche, soufflé or other mouthwatering delights. To finish your meal, you can satisfy your sweet tooth with cakes, pies, cookies or premier desserts. And Amy and Martin also suggest chef’s favorites and Amy’s specials, so check out their website for a complete selection of food choices. “This has been a dream for both of us,” said Amy. “We’re supported by a great community, and we’ve made a lot of friends. Lansing is a big small town, and it’s fun to get to know people I ‘meet’ on the phone. Somehow, we’re all connected.” Amy’s Catering is open seven days a week. Martin and Amy still answer the phone themselves and are ready to take your order. They require one week advance notice to book your next party. Amy’s Catering 600 W. Saginaw St. (517) 374-9774 www.AmysCatering.com
Ann Cool, MPS, is a freelance writer who lives in Mason with her husband Bob.