Recent Press

Greenwich’s Garden Catering Once Again Serves Up Nuggets

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

BY  Jay Polansky at GREENWICH DAILY VOICE

GREENWICH, Conn. — Garden Catering, a favorite of Greenwich residents seeking chicken nuggets, fries and cones, reopened its doors on Hamilton Avenue on Tuesday morning, more than a year after a fire closed the location.

The shop looks a bit different than before, but, yes, it still serves up those legendary nuggets. And the reception has been good, one of the owners Frank Carpenteri, Jr. told the Daily Voice between the breakfast and lunch rush.

“Everyone’s been really positive with the response,” he said, “As much as they like the store and the look, I think that they’re just happy that we’re back, which is most important to me.”

Carpenteri said he has run into many longtime customers, who have already returned to the restaurant.

“We’re seeing a lot of old faces a lot of teachers from Ham Ave. School, some police officers, landscapers,” Carpenteri said. “We’re seeing our old regulars, which is really nice.”

The new design is more modern and open than the old one. A blank wall was transformed into a branding wall, which displays the company’s history in graphics and typography.

Carpenteri also made another change: He added new items to the menu. The well-known Hotsy breakfast sandwich — named after the late Frank “Hotsy” Bertino — now has a jalapeño version, for example.

And that’s just the beginning. Carpenteri said the Hamilton Avenue location will test new recipes that may roll out to other stores. It will be a “test kitchen” for other locations, Carpenteri said.

The Hamilton Avenue location is oldest of the seven family-run Garden Catering locations. Garden Catering currently has outlets in Greenwich, Stamford, Fairfield, Norwalk, Port Chester, N.Y., and Mamaroneck, N.Y.

To help celebrate their grand opening, Garden Catering Hamilton Avenue will be hosting fundraisers and special events throughout the spring. A grand opening celebration is to come in a few weeks, Carpenteri said.

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Garden Catering re-opens Hamilton Avenue location

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

By Greenwich Post

GardenCatering-640x400More than a year after a fire that temporarily shut their doors, Garden Catering Hamilton Avenue is back in business.

“It’s been a long road home, but I am so happy to be re-opening the doors,” Said owner Frank Carpenteri Jr. “Throughout this rebuild our neighbors, customers and community have been incredibly supportive. The emails, calls, and outpouring of encouragement we have received has really been amazing.”

Located across the street from Hamilton Avenue School, Garden Catering Hamilton Avenue is one of the oldest of the seven family-run Garden Catering locations. “We’ve been here for sixteen years- this was actually the first store I ever managed. My sister Tina (co-owner of the store) and I grew up down the street on top of the old Tom’s Deli. I’m very proud of the fact that I grew up around here and now operate a business in the community.”

The store has a different look than before the fire. Carpenteri said, “We just started to introduce our new logo and branding into our stores before the fire. Having to rebuild from the ground up gave us the opportunity to really incorporate that branding & color scheme, and put together a store that I think can be the model for future growth.”

To help celebrate their grand opening, Garden Catering Hamilton Avenue will be hosting fundraisers and special events throughout the spring. “It has always been our goal to give back to the communities that have supported us so much over the years. We’ll be hosting a fundraiser with Kids in Crisis, and have plans to bring back Tee Shirt Day, which we haven’t done in a few years.”

For more information about Garden Catering’s Hamilton Avenue location including store hours, please visit gardencatering.net

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Garden Catering back open on Greenwich’s Hamilton Avenue

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

By Kaitlyn Krasselt at GREENWICH TIME

GC1024x1024A horde of Hamilton Avenue School teachers converged on Garden Catering Hamilton Avenue for the first time in more than a year Tuesday morning, creating the renovated shop’s first breakfast rush of 2016.

The decades-old, family-run local favorite, known best for its seasoned chicken nuggets served in an insulated bag, celebrated the grand reopening of its Chickahominy location Tuesday after the store was shuttered in 2014 due to a fire.

The excitement surrounding the opening — which was generated with less than 24 hours advance notice — reminded manager Monika Rodriguez what it was like before the store burned down. She said it was like they never left.

“I’m so excited to have all of the Ham Ave teachers back and all of my regulars,” Rodriguez said. “It’s like family coming back and it’s just so great. It’s been a little emotional seeing everyone and the excitement.”

The restaurant, at 177 Hamilton Ave., burned down in December 2014 after an electrical fire broke out. Though Garden Catering maintained its remaining six locations, the loss meant starting from scratch at one of the most frequented establishments.

Owner Frank Carpenteri Jr. said it took 15 months of hard work to get the business back up and running. Located in a residential area of town, the restaurant was a favorite among locals, drawing breakfast, lunch and dinner crowds throughout the year.

“It was extremely unfortunate,” Carpenteri said. “In the days after the fire, all we were trying to figure out was how to get back up and running. But we received tons of support from the community. … The kids at Hamilton Avenue (School) even sent a huge ‘We Miss You’ letter that they all signed.”

Now that the restaurant is officially open for business, Carpenteri said dozens have stopped by for their fried fix, which made the grand reopening feel more like a celebration.

Garden Catering’s flagship location — situated in an old train car on Sound Beach Avenue in Old Greenwich — opened in 1978. Frank Carpenteri Sr. purchased the restaurant and secret fried chicken recipe in 1991 from the family of the original owner, Lou Iandoli, who had died a year earlier. The store has since opened locations in Stamford, Norwalk and Fairfield in Connecticut, and Port Chester and Mamaroneck in New York.

The rebuild of the Hamilton Avenue location allowed the chain to completely update the store with a new logo and color schemes, a branding transition the business had started in the months before the fire. Aside from the updated logos and modernized interior, the bones of the fried food favorite are largely the same. Patrons can still buy their “World Famous Specials” — a half-pound of chicken nuggets and fries, and the restaurant’s signature Hotsy sandwiches six days a week in Chickahominy.

“We have a few new menu items, but we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel,” Carpenteri said. “We know what we do best and that’s chicken nuggets.”

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In Chickahominy, Happy Days Are Here Again. Garden Catering Reopens after Major Renovation

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

By: 

All the way from Austin, Texas, Samantha Sorbo made sure to stop at Garden Catering on opening day, March 15, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

All the way from Austin, Texas, Samantha Sorbo made sure to stop at Garden Catering on opening day, March 15, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

A crowd of loyal customers were waiting when the doors unlocked at Garden Catering on Hamilton Avenue at 6:30am. In fact, manager Zino Carr said that even before Tuesday’s grand re-opening, 20-30 customers stopped by every day trying to order food.

Garden Catering has been operating at 177 Hamilton Avenue in Chickahominy since 1999. After a fire just before New Year’s eve in 2014 forced the eatery to close, loyal customers waited eagerly for the renovation to be completed.

The Chickahominy location is near and dear to owner Frank Carpenteri, Jr. “It’s personal,” Carpentieri told GFP back in January. “You try to separate business from your personal life, but I grew up in this neighborhood.”

Carpentieri said when he was a boy, his family lived in an apartment over what is now Little Thai Kitchen. “I went to Hamilton Avenue School,” he said, gesturing across the street to the neighborhood school.

On Tuesday, customer after customer smiled broadly as they came through the doors of the renovated eatery.

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 1.30.52 PM“We’ve been through many opening days before – They each have their own challenges and hiccups,” said Carpenteri. ” But everyone is smiling when they arrive, and they’re still smiling when they leave.”

Manager, Monica Rodriguez, who has been working at other Garden Catering locations during the renovation, was particularly happy on Tuesday. Chickahominy is her neighborhood and it seemed that, between her and her son Will, almost every customer was greeted by name.

“It’s the same footprint,” Carpenteri said of the renovated eatery. “But we reduced the size of the kitchen to give us more space up front. The kitchen operates more efficiently and we’re really happy with the new layout.”

Brittany Barnes, a GHS student recognizable in her Cardinal red sweatshirt, said she wanted to stop on opening day for her bacon, egg & cheese sandwich on the way to school.

Brittany Barnes, a GHS student recognizable in her Cardinal red sweatshirt, said she wanted to stop on opening day for her bacon, egg & cheese sandwich on the way to school.

Since the fire, loyal customers from the Chickahominy location have traveled to nearby locations, including Port Chester and the village of Old Greenwich, where the business has operated out of a converted Metro-North luncheonette car for decades.

Frank Carpenteri Jr with customers at this Old Greenwich Garden Catering location, summer 2014. Credit: Leslie Yager
In addition to a slightly altered layout, the Chickahominy location has a new color scheme featuring green and brown.

“We kept the menu the same, but there are a couple additions,” Carpenteri said. “There items that customers asked for that weren’t on the menu, so we added them.”

For example, customers can now order a Jalapeño Hotsy with spicy mac bites versus potato cones.

Hotsy, a longtime employee of Garden Catering, whose real name was Frank Bertino, was known fondly as “Hotsy.” Known for his character and a work ethic, Hotsy, who ran the Sand Trap at the Town golf course for many years before joining Frank Carpenteri Sr. at Garden Catering, lived to 91. Though he is gone, Hotsy’s name is sprinkled through the Garden Catering menus. In fact, his famous homemade chili recipe, remains a carefully guarded secret.

“Hotsy’s chili recipe is the same one since 1944,” Carpenteri said.

Another new menu, the “Green Wich,” is an item Carpenteri’s class of ’97 Greenwich High School classmate Rob Otto would special order. The Green Witch features grilled chicken with fresh mozzarella cheese, and house made pesto on a garlic buttered wedge!

And while Carpenteri still counts his GHS classmates among his loyal customers, there are newly minted GHS regulars every day – both inside the school’s Cardinal Café and at the various Garden Catering locations.

Last fall, students rejoiced when they learned that Garden Catering was available Greenwich High School’s Cardinal Café!

 

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Garden Catering back open on Greenwich’s Hamilton Avenue

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

By Kaitlyn Krasselt at ctpost

gc920x920A horde of Hamilton Avenue School teachers converged on Garden Catering Hamilton Avenue for the first time in more than a year Tuesday morning, creating the renovated shop’s first breakfast rush of 2016.
The decades-old, family-run local favorite, known best for its seasoned chicken nuggets served in an insulated bag, celebrated the grand reopening of its Chickahominy location Tuesday after the store was shuttered in 2014 due to a fire.
The excitement surrounding the opening — which was generated with less than 24 hours advance notice — reminded manager Monika Rodriguez what it was like before the store burned down. She said it was like they never left.
“I’m so excited to have all of the Ham Ave teachers back and all of my regulars,” Rodriguez said. “It’s like family coming back and it’s just so great. It’s been a little emotional seeing everyone and the excitement.”
The restaurant, at 177 Hamilton Ave., burned down in December 2014 after an electrical fire broke out. Though Garden Catering maintained its remaining six locations, the loss meant starting from scratch at one of the most frequented establishments.
Owner Frank Carpenteri Jr. said it took 15 months of hard work to get the business back up and running. Located in a residential area of town, the restaurant was a favorite among locals, drawing breakfast, lunch and dinner crowds throughout the year.
“It was extremely unfortunate,” Carpenteri said. “In the days after the fire, all we were trying to figure out was how to get back up and running. But we received tons of support from the community. … The kids at Hamilton Avenue (School) even sent a huge ‘We Miss You’ letter that they all signed.”
Now that the restaurant is officially open for business, Carpenteri said dozens have stopped by for their fried fix, which made the grand reopening feel more like a celebration.
Garden Catering’s flagship location — situated in an old train car on Sound Beach Avenue in Old Greenwich — opened in 1978. Frank Carpenteri Sr. purchased the restaurant and secret fried chicken recipe in 1991 from the family of the original owner, Lou Iandoli, who had died a year earlier. The store has since opened locations in Stamford, Norwalk and Fairfield in Connecticut, and Port Chester and Mamaroneck in New York.
The rebuild of the Hamilton Avenue location allowed the chain to completely update the store with a new logo and color schemes, a branding transition the business had started in the months before the fire. Aside from the updated logos and modernized interior, the bones of the fried food favorite are largely the same. Patrons can still buy their “World Famous Specials” — a half-pound of chicken nuggets and fries, and the restaurant’s signature Hotsy sandwiches six days a week in Chickahominy.
“We have a few new menu items, but we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel,” Carpenteri said. “We know what we do best and that’s chicken nuggets.”

Read More

Garden Catering Greenwich Reopening Tuesday w/ New Look + Some New Items

Friday, March 11th, 2016

By: OMNOMCT

Frank Jr., his sister Tina, Monika Rodriguez, and Zino Carr

Frank Jr., his sister Tina, Monika Rodriguez, and Zino Carr

Garden Catering at 177 Hamilton Avenue has been serving the Chickahominy area of Greenwich since 1999, and to say that have become a major staple in town would be an understatement. In fact, Garden Catering is the place to be when it comes time for some awesome breakfast. As soon as they open the doors, a swarm invades, and the place is flooded with local students, parents, workers, and loyal customers.

But, that all changed one night right before the new year in 2014 when Frank Carpenteri Jr. got the news early in the morning that the Hamilton Avenue restaurant suffered major damage because of a fire. It was devastating and set them back months and months . . . and it left people without their Hotsys, their Specials, and their cones. But, rather than let the fire destroy them, the Garden Catering family took it as an opportunity to remodel, rework the kitchen, and make that spot pretty amazing.

ReOpening 2We had the chance to meet up with Frank Jr., his sister Tina, Monika Rodriguez, and Zino Carr to tour the newly renovated shop and to talk about the menu. Everything is bright, clean, fresh, and there are bright neon green accents on the walls including a big and bold graphic mural. The kitchen, in addition, has been reworked to make ordering and cooking easier. That means that wait times will go down, too, so everyone ends up happy! During our visit, Tina, Frank and crew were commenting that as soon as the new awning went up on Wednesday, people were slowing down on the road (no crashes reported thankfully), and people were coming out of their houses and shops to see if it was true . . . to see if Garden Catering was open again. Well, they’ll only have to wait until Tuesday, March 15!

[nggallery id=11]

Ridiculously nomworthy pictures from Devin Schaffner

Frank stressed that nothing is really changing about the Garden Catering that everyone has grown to love and become addicted to. It’s still family owned and run, it’s still focusing on housemade items, and it’s still legit as always. They are still going to feature all the things that make them great like their sandwiches, their nuggets, their cones, their fries, and their breakfast sandwiches . . . but he did give us a preview about a few new items.

There’s the Jalapeño Hotsy which is their amazing Hotsy, but it’s made with smashed Spicy Mac & Cheese Bites! Oh, and the Hotsy? It’s a must not miss for breakfast time: Bacon, Egg, Cheese, Hotsy’s Famous Chili, and Home Fries or Cones. Order ’em on a roll or a wedge. But, seriously, wedge is the only option in our books. The item you’ll definitely want to check out at some point is their Breakfast Bomb which includes Bacon, Egg, Cheese, Hotsy’s Chili, Cones, and Sausage.

 

READ ARTICLE ON OMNOMCT…

 

Answered Prayers: Garden Catering in Norwalk!

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Answered Prayers: Garden Catering in Norwalk Opening Next Week…with a “Special” Surprise!
By http://omnomct.wordpress.com

The Good News

Norwalk:  you’ve been good boys and girls and you’ve been saying your prayers.  Now, it’s time to get your reward:  a Garden Catering of your own.  Yes, on 7/24 (this Tuesday) Garden Catering will be open at 314 Westport Avenue in Norwalk!  You know that you’ve been jealous and have often snuck into Old Greenwich, Greenwich, or Stamford just for your nuggets, fries, and cone fix.  Or, you might have even hit them up in Port Chester or Mamaroneck if you were nearby.  So, Norwalk, rejoice, your prayers to the nugget gods have been answered!

The Food 

The menu has been trimmed down a bit, just like the Fairfield location.  All your favorites are still on the menu, though.  You’ll be able to have breakfast all the live long day.  You’ll also have some of the greatest things on the earth…The World Famous Specials!  Remember that you can order the specials with either fries, cones, onion rings, mushrooms, zucchini, or with cones and fries.  We recommend cones and fries together!  Here’s a breakdown if you’re a noob or need a refresher course:

THE SPECIAL: 1/2 lb. of 100% white meat chicken nuggets and a portion of fries deep-fried to perfection.  It comes with a free soda or water.  $7

Junior Special –  This is the smaller version of The Special that comes with 1/4 lb. of chicken nuggets and your choice of side.  Remember your free soda or water.  $5

Big Boy Special – Add a 1/4 lb. of chicken to a Special and make it a Big Boy! Comes with an extra portion of Fries & FREE soda or Poland Spring Water.  OmNomivore approved.   9.00

The Boss Special -Don’t try this one alone! A full pound of our famous chicken nuggets with an extra portion of Fries & FREE soda 11.00

Homerun Special -Add chili and cheese to any of the Specials and make it a HOMERUN for only $1.00 more!

Yes, they have wraps too! Photo by Chris Ramirez

So, as you order, make sure that you ask for the seasoning and you get one of the 9 dipping sauces.  Then again, the actually real meat chicken nuggets and fries are usually just great enough by themselves.  There are also other options for you like wraps and salads, so there’s really something for everybody at their new store.

The Restaurant and Community Ties

Although there is limited seating at the Norwalk location, there is a nice counter where you can watch all the action on Westport Avenue.  Yup yup.  New to this location is a wall that will tell hungry eaters all aboutGarden Catering, its beliefs, and all the great things that they do for the community.  Already, Frank Carpenteri Jr. (who runs GC with his dad Frank Sr. and his sister Tina) and staff have gone around town, handing out gift certificates to lucky people and businesses.  Also, there are already some amazing things in the works for Norwalk.  Garden Catering plans to help out the local schools and The Carver Center.  That’s just how they roll.

A “Special” Surprise on the Way!

To celebrate their opening in Norwalk, Garden Catering is telling all their die hard fans to watch their Facebook page and their Twitter feed.  On Monday, a day before opening, they’ll be announcing a “Special” surprise.  😉  Don’t ask us what it is…it’s super secret.  You’ll just need to wait and see. :)

Last Thoughts

We love the great things that Garden Catering does for the community.  They also set up a great fundraiser for one of our Facebook friends, James Lacerenza and his cause:  Muscular Dystrophy.  Another thing we love?  Nugget Points!  Don’t forget to sign up so you can earn special rewards like a $10 gift certificate, a free Big Boy Special, a Garden Catering shirt, or even a Garden Catering tie.  We wish Garden Catering lots of luck in their new location, but they won’t need it.  With World Famous Specials like this, there is no need for luck.

Thanks to Frank Jr. for letting us make this awesome announcement! READ MORE…

Holiday Catering Options in Norwalk and Stamford

Friday, December 16th, 2011

By Andrew Dominick at http://connecticut.cbslocal.com

The holiday season is here and you want to throw a party for your friends and family. Or those unexpected guests popped in. Yes, you’re happy to see them, but you have zero time to cook. Luckily for you, Norwalk, Fairfield and Stamford have great catering choices to save you time, spare you the stresses of preparing a huge meal, and to satisfy your (and your loved ones’) taste buds.

Garden Catering

With four Connecticut locations (Downtown Stamford, Fairfield, Hamilton Avenue in Greenwich, and Old Greenwich), Garden Catering has been the winner of Fairfield County’s “Best Of” Reader’s Poll for having the best catering seven years in a row (2004-2011). They cater all types of parties serving different types of food. If you want sandwiches, breakfast, Mexican, BBQ, Italian, buffets, appetizers, or vegetarian choices, look to Garden Catering. Do you have kids at your party? Kids love chicken nuggets and Garden Catering is famous for just that. Their homemade nuggets and fries will have the children begging for more.

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Sandwich of the Week: Garden Catering’s Buffalo Chicken Wrap

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

By  Molly Aronica, Editor, thedailymeal.com

The buffalo chicken wrap at Garden Catering in Stamford, Conn is simple in its design, but bold in flavor. Starting with the foundation, the sandwich is wrapped in a large flour tortilla that maintains an elastic flexibility amongst heavy fillings and plenty of sauce. Perhaps the most important element of this wrap is the chicken. One of the signature dishes at Garden Catering is their chicken nuggets, which are made from large, tender chunks of breast meat and fried to golden perfection per order. Traditionally the nuggets are tossed in a bag with either fries or cones (tater-tot-sized morsels of fried mashed potatoes) and a sprinkle of Garden Catering’s “secret seasoning” (essentially a blend of salt and Cajun spices) — the combination is available in four sizes: the junior, the special, the big boy, and the boss.

To create the wrap, an order of nuggets is fried up and tossed in a bowl with hot sauce, to coat. The tangy chicken is then piled onto the warm tortilla, topped with bleu cheese dressing (or ranch, if you request it) and rolled up. It’s as simple as that, no other fixings are included. For an extra crunchy adventure, ask for a side of fries to be added into the wrap. For the traditionalists out there, this wrap is also available on a roll instead.

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The man, the myth, the legend: Hotsy still cookin’ at 90

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

From greenwich-post.com:

While most of the good people of Greenwich are home sound asleep in their beds, Frank “Hotsy” Bertino is just beginning his day. He gets into work at Garden Catering in Old Greenwich at 2 a.m., greeting the bread man and firing up the Fryolators, then setting to work peeling and dicing the potatoes and cooking up the bacon, sausages and his signature chili.

At 4 a.m. he flips on the neon “Open” sign and welcomes his first customers — police officers, firemen and limo drivers, those who serve and protect the community. Some days as he opens the doors, a group of hungry teenagers and young men has already gathered along Sound Beach Avenue, the revelers and stragglers winding down their nights, fiending for their crack-of-dawn “Hotsies,” Mr. Bertino’s name sake sandwich.

As the sun rises and the real breakfast run begins, he welcomes the commuters who breeze through the shop on their way to catch the train across the street. The customers are predictable and steady, like the man himself, a mainstay at Garden Catering who has managed the early morning shift for more than 20 years.

This past Monday, July 11, Mr. Bertino stuck to the routine, coming into work and greeting and serving his loyal patrons. “What’ll you have?” he asked customers in his gravelly voice, taking orders and pouring the coffee. It was a day like any other day, except for a few minor changes: The balloons that decked the entrance of the store and a change in the price of the Hotsies. The bacon, egg, cheese, chili and home fry sandwiches were being sold for $0.90 each — to honor Mr. Bertino on his 90th birthday.

Mike Paoletta, who manages Garden Catering’s Old Greenwich location, said there is “no one better than Hotsy.”

“The biggest thing I’ve learned from this man is consistency and to take care of the customer,” Mr. Paoletta said. “That’s all that he does.” Read More