Feast Your Eyes, Inc. began in 1982. Today we have 150 full and part-time employees, including the sole owners, Lynn Buono and Skip Schwarzman, who are wife and husband. The company operated from a store front in South Philadelphia, until a move to North 2nd Street in 1988, in Northern Liberties.
In 2008 a new headquarters was purchased in Philadelphia’s upcoming Arts District in South Kensington. This factory, which in the early 20th century housed a barrel maker, was remade into the event venue Front & Palmer as well as the base of operations for all of Feast Your Eyes’ catering. Brides Magazine has named Front & Palmer one of America’s Top 45 Wedding Venues.
In 1991 a trip to Dallas, Texas, introduced Chef Buono to southern barbeque and led to the founding of Miss Amelia's Bar-B-Que.
Building Front & Palmer allowed us to add kosher catering to our repertoire, and so in 2009 we installed separate kosher kitchens for Essen Modern Kosher Catering.
Feast Your Eyes' commitment to sustainability, in both our usage and the waste stream, began years ago before our move and continues with our new building's solar panels, green parking spaces, recycling of hard waste, composting of food scraps, and the use of biodegradable packaging and flatware for our Take Out orders.
Feast Your Eyes has been profiled in Special Event Magazine. Chef Buono has been interviewed a number of times by The Philadelphia Inquirer and other local media, has been a guest chef on The TV Food Network, and was an invited chef at the UN's 50th Anniversary Dinner. She is a past president and current board member of the Philadelphia Chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier, and is a founding member, past president and current member of the Philadelphia Women’s Culinary Guild. Buono was awarded the Panache Award for Female Chef with The Most Style by the Philadelphia Restaurant and Purveyors Association, and the Philadelphia Female Chef of The Year by the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association. Feast was awarded the Snail Of Approval by Philadelphia Slow Food, as well.
Skip Schwarzman was a founding member of the special events industry association, the International Live Events Association (formerly ISES), and served as the local chapter’s president. Slate Magazine, the online magazine hired Skip to write a diary of articles during the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. He is on the board of the Northern Liberties CDC and an ex-board member at The Lighthouse.
As educators Lynn and Skip were part of the annual CaterSource convention in Las Vega for 23 years as presenters and on the video production/broadcast teams. They also taught Modern Buffet Design classes at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.
The mission of Feast Your Eyes is to deliver to our clients outstanding food, presentation and service, with fair and competitive pricing, while earning a reasonable profit. We are committed to maintaining a healthy work environment that respects the input of our employees, their family responsibilities and need for stability. Sustainability and low energy usage are constant benchmarks. We are intent on meeting our obligation to be an engaged, positive corporate force in our community through civic and environmental actions.
Off-premise, we take care of everything that has to do with the food and beverage, including the menu, bar mixers and set-ups, all the equipment you’ll need, plus the entire event staff.
Equipment typically means the tables and chairs, all the linen, china, silverware, glassware, buffet and other serving pieces, as well as cooking hardware. We offer innumerable linen, china, silverware and glassware options to clients who want high design, as well as expert guidance on creating a stunning look for your event. State law prohibits off-premise caterers from selling alcohol, but we’ll help you decide how much you need and what types, especially wines. Our staff deliver, cook and serve the food, handle the clean-up associated with our work, and are the bartenders, too.
On-premise at Front & Palmer we’re byob, so you’re welcome to bring your wine, beer, and alcohol and we’ll serve it. We’re happy to help you determine quantities again, too.
We can handle other aspects of entertaining, too. A specialty of ours is tenting. We have designed various elaborate installations, but many tents aren’t terribly elaborate, and we can expand your available party space intelligently while insuring that, like mail carriers, your tent will deliver in snow, rain, heat, or gloom of night. (Of course your tent won’t be gloomy, but you get the idea.)
We love working with florists and are happy to refer you to a few based on real world experience. Our pricing includes table top décor for buffets, but when you need full scale theme or décor work you’re best served by a professional decorator. We appreciate being consulted in your planning for that, too, since we see many parties and have a sense of what works well (and what works less well). Plus we have a faaahhb-u-lous eye for design.
For valet parking, bathroom trailers, specialty lighting and power distribution you can rely on us for straight advice and coordination services, as well.
Most importantly we know when you should turn to other sources for particular items. We’re not event planners or bridal consultants, don’t pretend to be, and aren’t looking to grab more business by taking over your party. If something you want for your party supports the food and beverage or service aspects the odds are we have experience in handling it. We believe our primary job is to insure a wildly successful event, whether at Front & Palmer, your home or your office. While we focus on cooking fab food, marvelously presented and served, we regularly take on responsibility for other event details, too.
Any event, regardless of why it’s being held, has so many components that it’s not easy to give a simple answer. Besides the varieties of menus (hamburger or filet?) there are the dishes, linen, glasses, number of courses, complexity of the menu (which may determine how many chefs we need), and the length of the party. Where the event’s being held can affect the cost, too, since some locations are easier to work in than others.
Having said this, we know the usual costs for the different types of parties we cater. We’re happy to help you better understand catering as long as you continue reading knowing these are approximate costs. With attention to detail parties may cost less (but not by a whole lot), while they can certainly cost more if you have a big wish list.
These estimated costs include:
Cocktail parties range in price from $58 to $85 per person. This would be for a 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hour reception that is not intended to replace dinner.
Dinners, whether seated or buffet but including hors d’oeuvre, can cost from $105 to $145 per person for 4 hours of service. Spending less doesn’t mean you leave the party hungry or that we scrimp on ingredients. We won’t compromise the essential elements of your party: enough great food so everyone’s belly is happy, stylish presentation, and sufficient staffing. With Feast Your Eyes the lower price range still includes handmade food by the same chefs who make all our food (no 2nd tier chefs here!), and the same quality staff, but may include simpler equipment choices, a less elaborate menu that needs fewer staff, or maybe a venue that doesn’t require a lot of basic equipment (like your home, when you don’t need tables, chairs and linen for each guest).
Conversely, the upper range may reflect a party site that needs more equipment. Of course it may also include a more extensive menu, specialty linens, glasware or silverware, or heavier staffing levels. And Yes, it’s certainly possible to spend even more and to see the difference.
Luncheons whose menu is lunch only, without a pre-meal hors d’oeuvre time, run from $62 to $80 per person.
Smaller events (say, under 40 guests) are difficult to keep within these estimates.
Front & Palmer pricing is slightly more, but includes a facility fee.
Well, essentially we create a restaurant for you, for one meal, one time, whether it’s off-premise or at Front & Palmer.
Regardless of how clever we may be, it’s not possible to cater a party for less money than a restaurant would; after all they’re open 6 or 7 days a week, feed other guests besides yours, and don’t serve you for as long as catered events.
Besides having real chefs working for us, just like a restaurant, along with wait staff, when we come to you we are also similar to a moving company; we have to plot routes to get to your party, figure in travel time and the effect of rush hour traffic, and maintain a fleet of vehicles. None of these costs are part of the restaurant scene. Restaurants and caterers both feed guests, but other than that our businesses are quite different.
On the other hand we won’t hustle you out because we want to seat someone else at your table! A Feast Your Eyes event has your signature written all over it in a way a restaurant dinner never can. Have your party at Front & Palmer and you have a private restaurant all to yourselves. That’s something you don’t get just anywhere.
Interestingly, a client recently had a big dinner for 200 at a restaurant after their child’s bar mitzvah, and hired us for the short, stand-up lunch buffet immediately after the ceremony. They made a point of telling us, “I’d never do it again this way, though they’re going to do a nice job. I’m holding their hand through all the planning, but you’re a caterer and you’re holding my hand, guiding me, and that’s so much easier.”
After being in business for almost 30 years we have hundreds of recipes, featuring all kinds of cuisine. Finding foods to drool over in our repertoire is not a problem. We can incorporate specific dishes upon request, although it we may have to spend time developing your recipe to insure that Aunt Mabel’s family favorite can be scaled to serve the 237 guests at your wedding. Additionally we have successfully catered vegan meals, Indian/Jewish weddings, Korean weddings, and business luncheons for visiting Japanese businessmen. Special orders don’t upset us…
Four or five times a year we invite booked clients to our Tasting Events, where we show off favorite dishes and new recipes, let you interact with the chefs and sales staff, and display a variety of presentation styles and color palettes. At the Tasting Event you enjoy a much wider range of foods than we could ever create for a private tasting; you get to see the latest in décor concepts, it’s held in two sessions of 90 minutes or so each, with music, and becomes something of a party itself.
If you prefer to have a private tasting, together we determine which of the foods you’re considering will be prepared, along with some options. Private tastings are held in our conference room at Front & Palmer, and have staff dedicated to serving that tasting menu exclusively. There is a $450 fee, of which $125 is rebated to you when you book your event.
No problem. Our pricing to you includes service until a pre-determined time. and the supervisors know to check with you 20 minutes or so before the scheduled finish time to see if you’re okay with closing down the party at your original time. If you choose to extend the party we’ll say, “Great!,” and bill you in 1/2 hour increments. Regardless, linens will not be snapped off the tables at 11:01 PM. While we can occasionally send home a staff person or three, more often than not we need our full crew to stay to the end since the breakdown is just as large at 11:30 as it would have been at 11 PM.
Our insurance agent and lawyer both tell us it’s dangerous to leave food behind, since we give up control over how and when it’s served once we’re not there. On the other hand we don’t want you sitting around, basking in the afterglow of a rockin’ good time, hungry but with nothing to eat. So we make an effort to leave you with the leftovers we’re comfortable packing up for you from a safety aspect.
Clients who order food à la carte from our Take Out Menu get every last morsel of food they ordered packed away carefully in their refrigerator. (But only if the guests haven’t wolfed it all down once they’ve tasted it.)
Yes, you can. We accept VISA and Mastercard.
We get a guaranteed count 10 days before your event. In the ensuing time that number may increase, but not decrease.
Private clients’ invoices are paid in full 5 days prior to their event. Corporate clients unable to accommodate this payment schedule can make arrangements. Deposits are required from all clients in order for us to place your event on our calendar. In the case of events with a longer lead time, and/or larger invoices, a schedule of 2nd and 3rd deposits may be established.
If there are additional charges that come up during your party we’re happy to bill you after the event.
Yes. We’re not your mother and will not report to her. Promise.
The food and service during the reception and
cocktail hour were outstanding…everyone we talked
to said something about how great it was.
Last night’s party was amazing! Thank you so much for all of your help! The food was incredible and your holiday decorations were perfect! I was especially impressed with ALL of your staff — very friendly, patient, neat and courteous. Everyone was a pleasure to work with. Nina was an outstanding supervisor and your bartender did a great job! Thank you so much. I will be very interested in using Feast Your Eyes for future events.
There are no words to describe how grateful we are for you and your team. Amazing!!!! Thank you for everything.
We really hope to have the opportunity to work together again. And in the meantime, let’s find an occasion for drinks in town 🙂
The party was wonderful! The food and service was outstanding. Thank you for all your great planning.
See you at the next big party we have…
You out did yourselves! Everyone was raving and I mean raving about the food. Many, many people asked me who was catering and I heard Emily answering the same question several times.
I refer to your staff as ninjas. I see no garbage bins and yet no garbage anywhere! They do an incredible job of clearing empty glasses etc!!
….And – the clean up was great.
Thanks again for another spectacular event!
…as always (your note) beat me to the punch, I just wanted to thank you and the Feast team on job well done. We were thrown onto a moving train and the changes were numerous and frequent and you responded beautifully. You never said no and you always came with a can do attitude. It must be a special trait that you have and you extended that character trait to your team.
I was so impressed with you execution and dedication to the goal that I understand why Feast Your Eyes was chosen as the official caterer for these events. Your questions always made the event better and your responsiveness was remarkable. I have enjoyed working with you and hope that our paths will cross again….Thank you so much!
… please express our gratitude to the staff for an excellent job last evening. The food, service and care were top-notch! (The edamame dumplings were my personal favorites.) J
Thank you for all you do and wishing you Happy Holidays!
Please pass along to the young ladies who were there to set up lunch how much I appreciated their help and how impressed I was with how quietly they were able to set up lunch in the middle of the meeting. You hardly knew they were there setting up everything, which only speaks to the efficiency and professionalism of your staff.
What can I say – what a great meeting we had yesterday, you certainly know your craft. Thank you for all your suggestions and menu options. Jean , Paula and I are so excited and happy to have our class working with you again to create a wonderful night to remember.
Great party! One of our best! “Time takes all but memories.” Thanks