Catering services for holiday parties

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Mouth watering: Owner Nick Andricopulos displays a full slab of ribs from Nick's Barbecue, with locations in Burbank, Homer Glen, Palos Heights, Romeoville and Tinley Park. It is one of the items on the business's catering menu. | Photo by Matthew Grotto ~ Sun-Times Media

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Holidays can be hectic. Between decorating, shopping, and making plans with family, there’s entertaining friends and planning office parties. Cooking for a group, no matter how large or small, is time-consuming and stressful, but catering fresh food from a local, family-owned restaurant can be both affordable and impressive.

Nick’s Barbecue, specializing in American food such as ribs, fried chicken, and sausage, makes everything fresh daily on the premises and has a variety of items on its catering menu. In business in Burbank since 1986, Nick’s now has additional locations in Tinley Park, Homer Glen, Palos Heights, and Romeoville. The owner, Nick Andricopulos, learned the restaurant trade from his father and uncles and has added some new ideas along the way.

Nick’s has an extensive catering menu with special packages including four or five pounds of Italian beef, plus rolls, peppers, and salad; or 25 or 50 pieces of chicken, mostaccioli, or ravioli with bread and salad. A la carte offerings include Italian beef or sausage by the pound, pasta and salad by the pan, rotisserie chicken, and, of course, ribs. For a casual gathering, Nick’s also offers party subs from three to six feet, with one to three meats. Prices range from $47 to $115.

For a get-together that’s a bit more formal, Sam Buca’s, in Palos Heights, specializes in southern Italian cuisine. Like Andricopulos, owners Charles Marfoe and Dominick Buscemi, cousins, began with recipes for favorite dishes they’d grown up eating at family gatherings.

“The lemon chicken is what we’re known for,” Marfoe said.

Customized packages

Sam Buca’s can cater parties up to 250. Packages start at $7.95 per person and go up depending on how many entrees are ordered. The restaurant’s signature dish is its lemon chicken, but they also offer other holiday favorites such as sliced baked ham. Available sides include whipped potatoes and gravy, mixed vegetables, and a variety of salads and dressings.

Both Nick’s and Sam Buca’s can customize an order with items from their restaurant menus. Some customers, Marfoe said, have their hearts set on sharing with friends the item they like ordering at the restaurant, and he’s happy to comply.

Nick’s can handle parties of all sizes and delivers hot to the door.

“We’ve done everything from big and small to corporate,” he said.

Sam Buca’s offers catering in pickup only but can supply racks for warming as well as utensils. In addition, the restaurant’s dining room can handle parties from 10 to 120.

Placing an order early is advisable, but both Nick’s and Sam Buca’s can handle catering orders with less than a week’s notice. Andricopulos recommends calling at least 48 hours ahead of time during the holiday season, while Marfoe advises that for larger parties (30 or more), it’s best to call a week ahead.

More information about Nick’s Barbecue is at nicksribs.com or (708) 233-7427.

More information about Sam Buca’s is at sambucasbar.com or (708) 361-1226.