The holidays are quickly approaching, along with office parties, family gatherings and other events. Depending on the size of your group, it can be hard to find a good place to host. Old World Deli has a solution: their restaurant and fine wine establishment converts into a rentable event space, perfect for any party striving for seasonal holiday cheer.
Known for their unique creative approach, Old World Deli stuffs their sandwiches with handmade meats crafted in-house by Zach Holmes and Phil Mulligan, the morning and evening managers at the Bellingham eatery. This year, owners Anna and Christos Adams decided to put those meats in the spotlight, creating the deli’s Carving Nights.
Resembling a family-style roast, the staff sets up tables in the center of the restaurant and clears everything else out. The tables are modified into carving stations with condiments and toppings at either end of the line. This creates an open area allowing for guests to mingle with each other as opposed to being relegated to tables.
The first incarnation of Carving Nights featured pancetta, porchetta and pastrami, beloved by hungry guests. But Anna noticed that serving sandwiches for dinner didn’t seem quite special enough; people wanted more. They needed to find a way to feature the meats without putting them between two pieces of bread.
Doubling down on the idea that Carving Nights were indeed an evening meal, Anna suggested they serve the meat as-is, carved and then paired with distinctive side dishes.
“I think I just realized these nights were supposed to be dinner-oriented,” Anna says. “And people don’t always associate sandwiches with dinner. If we just change the menu a little bit, more people will try Carving Night for themselves.”
To test out her new idea, the deli will offer Hand Carving Nights September through November, without the sandwich element. In September, it was Prime Rib served with au jus alongside horseradish sour cream, mashed potatoes and a side house salad with choice of Italian or Blue Cheese dressing. Anna says the night was a success and moving forward they will keep the same format.
On October 18 at 5:30 p.m., you can enjoy Porchetta Hand Carving Night for $20. The night will feature house skin-on whole roast pork belly stuffed with house pancetta, roasted garlic, herbs and chiles served with pan jus, polenta and grilled broccoli rabe.
In November, they’ll feature smoked bone-in pork loin for the first time. On November 15 at 5:30 p.m. you can savor a six-ounce portion of Carlton Farms’ bone-in pork loin smoked in-house and served with apple cider reduction, parmesan mashed potatoes, apple-fennel-mustard slaw and a vegetable side dish for $22. Meals containing a 12-ounce portion of pork loin cost $34.
To raise awareness of their restaurant as an event space, the team decided to leave December open and offer hand carving nights as part of a package deal when someone rents out the deli.
“We’re very excited to have Hand Carving Nights, and it seemed like the perfect event that worked well with office parties, family gatherings and other events,” Anna says. “If customers choose to rent out Old World, they can also purchase a private Hand Carving Night for their event.”
Hand Carving Nights won’t end for the public after 2018, though. In 2019, Anna and Christos plan to bring back both Carving and Paella Nights. Both concepts successfully brought in more customers during the middle of the week, and further established their niche in a competitive service industry market. They’re the only food establishment in Bellingham to offer such events.
Also on the horizon for 2019 is a potential remodel of the deli cases and deli line featured in Old World’s front-of-house. Anna says it will be an extensive project, but they hope to complete it next year.
If you’d like to make one of your holiday events truly remarkable, contact Anna and Christos at Old World Deli. They’ll outline your options and help determine the price. Whether you’re hosting co-workers or close family members, a private Carving Night will be remembered forever.
Old World Deli is located at 1228 North State Street, between Holly and Chestnut, in Bellingham. For more information call 360-738-2090, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Old World Deli website.