By Libby Herz – COLlive
Nati Abikasis is known in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights for running his kosher meat restaurant Mendy’s Deli at the Jewish Children’s Museum since 2005.
Lesser known is his expansion into catering events and simchas.
“I’ve always loved working with food and bringing smiles to people’s faces,” he reflects. “It’s a genuine joy to give even more than what people pay for, and that’s what keeps me motivated to serve our community.”
“People often associate Mendy’s with hotdogs, fries, and nuggets,” Abikasis admits, “but we do high-end events all the time. I’m very flexible when it comes to customizing menus, and I’m always willing to work with people to create a unique experience.”
Mendy’s Events, the catering business of Abikasis, has successfully organized weddings, large events like Pegisha weekends in Crown Heights for 1,500 people, and many sheva brochos, both indoors and outdoors.
Despite not advertising, Mendy’s Events has gained a good reputation. “I genuinely enjoy working with food and making people happy, giving them more than they expect,” he says. “I take a hands-on approach and don’t just delegate tasks.”
Every event, no matter the size, is an opportunity to give the finest experience. “I recently organized a beautiful bar mitzvah for over 300 people at Oholei Torah, serving a four-course meal,” he recalls. “I’m never afraid of taking on big events or challenges. I see them as opportunities to learn and grow.”
Attendees can also expect ample portions at each event. “I love providing substantial portions of delicious food. No cutting corners!”
Abikasis says his crew is extremely attentive to dietary needs, whether it’s gluten-free or allergies. Feedback is encouraged, and his is receptive to everything, whether it’s positive or constructive criticism. “If something needs improvement, I take action to fix it,” he says. As a testament to his firm belief in offering personalized care, the chef’s personal WhatsApp is printed onto the brochure.
It comes as no surprise that his reputation extends far beyond the local community. “I’ve done events for groups from France, Panama, and beyond. Wherever I go, people recognize me,” he says with a smile. “Whether it’s at a Chabad house, in Israel, or on a Pesach program, my wife often jokes that everyone knows me. My kids wonder if there’s anyone who doesn’t know me.”
Abikasis created a new All-Inclusive Bar Mitzvah Package that includes the hall rent at the museum’s second floor, a four-course dinner on fine China and linen tablecloths, full waiter service, music, photography and video.
The idea came to him when a young boy insisted that only Nati of Mendy’s cater his Bar Mitzvah. Abikasis worked with the family to make it happen and the idea for an elegant bar mitzvah package began to form in his mind.
Abikasis realizes that when planning bar mitzvahs, the best is often overlooked for something more cost-effective. “I wanted to come up with something that’s elegant, fair, and affordable,” he says. “A bar mitzvah party should have the highest quality, and the most fresh food that’s prepared on the same day as the event.”
“I see that people in the neighborhood are looking for deals, especially for events like bar mitzvahs, which can be quite expensive,” he explains. His affordable bar mitzvah package ensures that all food will be top-rate, fresh, and delicious.
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