33rd Street Hospitality owners Carolyn Nguyen, Michael Sultan and Alan Krawitz announce the formation of 33rd Street Hospitality Catering. Hot on the heels of the launch of their first brick-and-mortar restaurant Revolution Taco, and following the debut of new summer menus for food trucks Say Cheese Philadelphia, Street Food Philly and Taco Mondo, the trio will expand and formalize catering for private and corporate events, dinners and parties. The trio brings 25 years of combined experience in the kitchen and hospitality industry. Operations will center out of the corporation's commissary kitchen in East Falls at Sherman Mills.
33rd Street Hospitality Catering launched this month (June, 2016) to meet growing demands by the public to have menus from the three trucks and Revolution Taco at private events, parties, festivals and other special occasions. Additionally, consumers looking to hire catering have been calling more and more for special menus and cooking styles beyond the four existing cooking/menu styles. After working in all parts of the food service business, catering was the natural progression and next step for the three owners.
"Carolyn and I were operating Taco Mondo and Street Food Philly, but there weren’t many jobs for food trucks during the winter. We were busy from April to October but the rest of months were slower," said Sultan. "We had a great staff and wanted to keep them employed all year long. To get to where we needed to be, we needed a financial brain and Alan from Say Cheese was just the person to help take us to the next level. It was the right move. We would go to events and do great with our food but it was hard to tell our fans where they could find us next. Our next natural step was the opening of Revolution Taco. Now that the restaurant is thriving, we want to keep evolving our business model. We aren't ones to sit around and become complacent. Demand for private and corporate events, parties and dinners has been growing, we want to cook as much as we can and get our food in as many hands as possible."
The road to 33rd Street Hospitality and the new catering division started back in 2011, when Krawitz and family started Say Cheese Philadelphia. Sultan and Nguyen started work on Street Food Philly in late 2011 (taking to the road in August 2012) and Taco Mondo in 2012 (taking to the road in April 2013).
Krawitz met Sultan and Nguyen the first week that Street Food Philly was open at a food truck round-up at the Piazza in Northern Liberties. The three developed a friendship and unofficial partnership in teaching each other various facets of the business - from the food to the business side of running a food truck. In 2014, the three decided to open a brick and mortar eatery - and bring together their differing skills and styles for one unified concept. In 2015, the trio formed a new umbrella corporation 33rd Street Hospitality and announced their new restaurant Revolution Taco. Revolution Taco opened in January of 2016 in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. As business for the trucks and Revolution Taco has grown, so has the call for private catering services.
"The restaurant gives us the chance to serve food on a bigger scale while the catering allows us to interact personally with our customers at some of the most important times of their lives," said Sultan.
33rd Street Hospitality Catering is equipped for events ranging from a dozen to 5,000 people, though events with 50 to 1,000 will be their main focus. In the kitchen, clients will have access to the cooking talent of not one but two chefs, Sultan and Nguyen. Together the duo will bring a unique perspective to the catering side of the business with a focus on ingredient-driven, chef-driven, funky and elevated street food.
"We inspire each other to constantly up our skills and develop new menu ideas. If you can make it, make it, is our philosophy. We cure our meats, make our sauces, grow vegetables right outside our door and even smoke our own paprika," added Sultan.
Menu options include food favorites from Say Cheese, Street Food, Taco Mondo and Revolution Taco, as well as other signature dishes the duo has cooked over the years. Sultan and Nguyen also have experience with French, BBQ, Middle Eastern, Italian and more. All menus will be customized based on the preferences of the client. When asked if there's a dish they won't cook, Sultan added, "As long as I can make the dish and am able to stand behind it, I’ll make it. While we focus on casual and elevated street food, we also can easily do fine dining and more formal events. If we can do flambes on a truck, there’s nothing we can't do. But it has to meet our high standards or we wont serve it."
Catering events can include on-site cooking and preparation, but can also include appearances by one or all of the food trucks. Catering jobs have grown from 12-25 in 2013 and 2014, jumping to 75 per year when news of Revolution Taco surfaced. As the restaurant opened, and the trio expanded their truck presence, requests have tripled in 2016 which led to the formation of the catering division. "We get an average of two calls or emails a day now for catering - and we have jobs booking for 2018 already," said Sultan.
Catering services will focus on the cooking, but 33rd Street Hospitality has partnerships with rental companies, event planners and other professionals in the industry to refer for other aspects of the event experience. Two local companies for event services include partnerships with Swig (for bar services) and Events by Renee (for servers and party planners).
Behind the scenes, the trio will approach the business as they have for their trucks and brick-and-mortar. Their secret is dividing responsibilities and focusing on what each owner does best. Sultan oversees menus and food production, and brings experience with high volume, high quality catering. Nguyen is quality control and brings extensive experience in fine dining and elevating the customer's experience. Krawitz is out on the trucks and manages the juggling act of three trucks on the road with three different crews, and he brings the business side of things full circle by keeping everything organized and on track.
All food for 33rd Street Hospitality Catering will be produced in the kitchen where Sultan and Nguyen met - located in East Falls in Sherman Mills. "When we were looking for more space, we randomly drove by our old kitchen and knew it was fate. It’s big, it’s spacious, it’s beautiful. The space lends itself to creativity with large windows, exposed brick and high wooden ceilings.”
What's next for the trio? Sultan concludes with, "With 33rd Street Hospitality Catering we would love to explore options to become the in-house catering for private catering/party venues in the region. We also have a big catering partnership to announce in the near future. Additionally, we will continue to grow operations at Revolution Taco with a fresh juicing program, monthly events and menu changes for the summer season. Last, look for a new entity from 33rd Street Hospitality to open before the event of summer. Its an exciting time. Stay tuned."
GROWTH TIMELINE FOR 33RD STREET HOSPITALITY
Say Cheese Philly - February, 2011
Street Food Philly - August, 2012
Taco Mondo - April, 2013
33rd Street Hospitality - April, 2015
Revolution Taco - January, 2016
33rd Street Hospitality Catering - June 2016
Stay tuned for other new ventures from 33rd Street Hospitality to be announced later this summer.
ABOUT 33RD STREET HOSPITALITY
33rd Street Hospitality is three friends and food truck owners from Philadelphia that work together to run Street Food Philly, Taco Mondo, Say Cheese Philadelphia, and brick-and-mortar storefront Revolution Taco (2015 Walnut Street). Carolyn Nguyen and Michael Sultan, original owners of Street Food Philly and Taco Mondo, worked together for many years in the culinary world before meeting business partner Alan Krawitz, owner of Say Cheese. Together they work to bring global flavors to the streets of Philadelphia. For more information on 33rd Street Hospitality or catering information, call (267) 773-8120, go to http://www.therevolutiontaco.com or follow @revolutiontaco on Twitter.