“My company started with my own wedding,” says Veronica Esparza, owner of Absolutely Delicious Catering.
“I couldn't find a caterer with options for me—either they didn't have what I wanted or they were very expensive. So, I invested my wedding money in equipment and linens, and found someone who could prepare the food. During that process, I realized how important catering was to an event.”
Veronica had come to the U.S. at 16, with no work skills and unable to speak English. She worked hard cleaning homes, waiting on customers in a hotel restaurant, and serving as a lab assistant before achieving her dream of opening a catering business.
Today, she caters weddings and events for up to 7,000 guests and has earned a number of accolades including Caterer of the Year for 2005 from the local chapter of the National Association of Catering Executives.
Her most recent venture has been converting the Old San Francisco Steakhouse into a versatile but affordable venue for receptions, rehearsal dinners, showers, and even the wedding itself. Acquired in 2007, the facility is equally well-equipped for any private or corporate event. But, it will become even better this year as she incorporates new wall treatments and furniture.
The newly named Crystal Room enables a bride to receive 200 guests in unforgettable style with a vaulted ceiling, a tall stage, and floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows encircled in waterfalls and greenery just outside the glass. The ceiling is a creamy light tan, flecked with subtle gold shimmer and hung with crystal chandeliers. Bathed in natural light, the whole room feels airy and fresh, capturing the essence of a spring wedding no matter how hot or cold it might be outside.
One couple exchanged vows in front of the waterfalls. Later, their guests enjoyed cocktails in the lounge down the hall before the reception began.
The main dining room, also known as the Old San Francisco Room, is perfectly suited to Texas-themed weddings with its mahogany furniture, a roomy stage, gleaming dance floor and player piano.
In the Gold Room, ethereal paintings line the walls and the soft glow of small globe lights lend warmth and sophistication to any gathering. Able to seat 120 guests comfortably, the Gold Room is an elegant backdrop for a rehearsal dinner with family and friends. For smaller affairs, two additional rooms seat between 40 and 60 people.
A recent event at the venue was a corporate event during the holidays. “They took advantage of the versatility of the space by setting up each room with a different theme,” Veronica recalls. “They had a jazz band and cocktails in the Crystal Room, a pop band and food stations in the Old San Francisco Room, desserts and a DJ in another room, and seafood and oyster shooters in the lounge. At most parties, you’re confined to one space. It was fun for the guests to be able to move freely between so many different parties in one space.”
Best of all, the venue enables Veronica to show off her amazing culinary skills. Her menu includes Greek and Caribbean cuisine, gourmet chicken entrées, numerous Asian dishes, savory entrees from the grill, and an endless array of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres. From smoked prime rib to Chicken Brie Wellington, salmon with dill butter sauce to roasted pork loin, she prepares the perfect dish for every guest and every budget.
In the end, Veronica credits her success to her own experience as a bride planning a wedding.
“Without that experience, I wouldn’t be able to relate to my brides like I do,” she says. “I know what they’re feeling emotionally and financially. We always find an option that works for our brides, and we never jeopardize quality. The best part is they always come back for a baby shower or an anniversary.”
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