If tin or aluminum is the traditional gift for a 10th anniversary, and china is the gift for the 20th, what is the gift for a 23 anniversary?
Yep, at least it will be Friday, Oct. 22 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. That's when Sophisticated Catering, the popular Durham-based catering company known for its healthy and tasty meals, will host a free fish fry/cookout to celebrate 23 years in business.
Of course, Chef Shawn Holland, his wife Jeanine and staff will be dishing more than fish - they'll also be serving gourmet hamburgers, hot dogs, smoked sausage and side dishes at their restaurant.
Everything is on the house, Jeanine Holland said, and is just their way of thanking loyal customers who have stuck with them and helped them keep their ovens warm during the pandemic and before.
That's quite an accomplishment when you consider that Datassential, a food service research firm, reported in March 2021 that 10 percent - about 80,000 - of all restaurants in America have closed permanently since the pandemic began in March 2020.
When sultry song stylist Lois Deloatch was looking for a company to cater the launch of her acclaimed Sunrise CD in 1998, she called the Hollands. DeLoatch was, they say, their first customer.
Why, I asked her, would she use a new company for such an important event?
"I knew Jeanine from working with her at Duke University," she said, "And I'd eaten Shawn's food in social settings. So I knew their product and knew he could cook."
She said continues using the company "because they're good at small, intimate events" - the company was originally called Intimate Affairs Catering - "or large corporate events." I can attest that they're also good at serving non-special events, like dinner: when I go to get food meals, there's usually a steady stream of likeminded people pulling in and out of the parking lot.
DeLoatch said next year she will give up the dual career she's had in corporate America and singing for the past 25 years. "I have a new project of all-original compositions I"ll be releasing," she said.
And guess who'll be catering the launch?
Yup, the same company that catered Jada and Will Smith's wedding in 1997.
Come by at 1408 Christian Ave., Suite 3, Durham, 27705 and help them celebrate their 23rd anniversary.