Friday May 29th, 2020 9:53PM

For both commercial caterers and non-profits, holiday crunch time has arrived

By Marc Eggers Anchor / Reporter

GAINESVILLE – Experience has taught me that mid-morning Thanksgiving Day is the highest-stress block of hours each year in my household. 

Looking around our kitchen as the noon hour approaches, the first thought is to call 911 as surely something cataclysmic has happened.  Bowls and utensils are everywhere, pots and pans fill the kitchen sink.

Through the haze of steam and aromatic smoke my wife and daughters are feverishly busy, stirring, slicing and dicing, opening and closing the oven door, and muttering to themselves.

Sound familiar?  Well, if you think you have a lot of work to do so Thanksgiving dinner is a success you should sit down and talk to Bobby Peck at Longstreet Café in Gainesville.   

We did.

Bobby pretty much runs the show at Longstreet; owner Tim Bunch is just there for a touch of glamour.  The business has been serving prepared Thanksgiving dinners for over two decades.  “We been open twenty-one years…and we been doing that (Thanksgiving dinner) ever since we been open,” Peck said proudly.

Take out and/or dine in: that’s the focus of the busy holiday.  “We’re open Thanksgiving Day, from 10:30 to 3:00, but we also do catering and pick-up orders, big bulk pick-up orders for companies and offices and individuals,” Peck explained.

Peck pointed out that if you want Longstreet food for Thanksgiving dinner at your house, as a general rule you’ll need to make plans to pick-up the comestibles in advance.  He confided that in a few cases of need he will have dinner delivered to a site, but those instances were rare.

“We really don’t have the people to do a lot of delivering this time of year,” Peck said.  It’s all-hands-on-deck Thanksgiving Thursday from dawn to dusk, as the Riverside Terrace dining room will be at full seating capacity.

“Just in here, Thanksgiving Day, we’ll probably do five to six hundred people, maybe more, that come in and eat with us.”  Take-out and pick-up orders will be around one hundred according to Peck.

Peck said that because of the volume of food his staff needs to prepare, the menu is kept to the traditional basics: turkey, ham, dressing (or stuffing, depending upon your geographical heritage), corn, mac-and-cheese, gravy, mashed or sweet potatoes, pumpkin and pecan pie, etc. And, very important, Peck says, "Place your order as early as possible."

Peck said that work starts early in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.  “The couple of three days before Thanksgiving we’ll come in around two o’clock in the morning.”  The staff doesn’t go home until late that evening.

“We’ve never really done it …around the clock, but it might as well be,” Peck said with a chuckle.  That was enough to convince this writer that despite the long hours and hard work, Peck and all the people at Longstreet Café truly enjoy what they do.


M&M Down Home Catering began preparing and providing Thanksgiving Day meals in 2013.  For this family based Gainesville business on Athens Street the days leading into the holiday are long and busy.

Owner Martha Randolph said she, however, was still accepting individual orders, but most of the charitable organizations she supplies who offer a free Thanksgiving meal had already placed their orders.

“We have about 600 (orders) and the list is still growing,” Randolph said during a recent phone conversation. 

For this special day the food her business prepares is provided without charge.  “We don’t charge one dime,” Randolph said, crediting strong financial support from the local community.  “God provides what is needed and we just do the work.”

M&M is preparing the meals that will be served Thanksgiving Day at such locations as: Good News at Noon, Set Free Gainesville, Angel House of Georgia, My Sister’s Place, and others.

Randolph said if someone is homebound and “not too far away” she will see to it that you have a meal for the holiday.  “We have runners who will deliver short distances to your home.”

Click here to connect to M&M’s website, or call Ms. Randolph at (678) 696-5970.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: Local business, small business, thanksgiving 2018, catering, holiday meals
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Firefighter who lost life battling church fire remembered after 20 years
Twenty years after a self-proclaimed Satanist set fire to New Salem United Methodist Church in Banks County, the community came together Monday to remember Loy Williams, the firefighter who gave his life battling the blaze.
11:55PM ( 3 months ago )
Gasoline spill in Gainesville now cleaned up
Cleanup is completed at Texaco Food Mart on Parkhill Drive after a gasoline leak over the weekend.
11:00PM ( 3 months ago )
US stocks end dismal, volatile year on a bright note
Wall Street closed out a dismal, turbulent year for stocks on a bright note Monday, but still finished 2018 with the worst showing in a decade.
9:52PM ( 3 months ago )
Local/State News
Small Business Spotlight: Murray Plastics
Murray Plastics is a local business in Gainesville that has helped visionaries turn their ideas into realities for the past 23 years.
7:00PM ( 4 days ago )
Jacobs Media celebrates 70th anniversary
Jacobs Media is celebrating 70 years today. Check out a great video and photo gallery about our history.
6:00PM ( 1 week ago )
Small Business Spotlight - Natural Juice Cafe
Natural Juice Cafe is Gainesville's one-stop-shop for fresh juice and foods. The cafe has been around going on its sixth year, so maybe you have heard of it, but if you haven't it's worth trying and your health will thank you for it later.
2:06PM ( 3 weeks ago )
Small Business Spotlight: UGA Small Business Development Center has advice for generating holiday sales
Once Halloween is over, we can dive right into the Christmas shopping season, although most retailers started preparations for fourth quarter months ago.
5:45PM ( 5 months ago )
LISTEN: Frames You-nique to close after 31 years
After 31 years, a favorite shop on the Gainesville Square will close its doors permanently.
6:10PM ( 3 years ago )