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Lent, Passover, and Easter Deli Traditions

Passover, Lent, Easter Image

Lent, Passover, and Easter Deli Traditions That We All Love

Even though Florida is considered a gigantic “melting pot” because its population is comprised of people from different cultural backgrounds who follow a wide variety of religions and celebrate different holidays, our communities usually have something in common during these lent, Passover, and Easter celebrations – food! 

Out of the many religious holidays celebrated throughout the year, people from the Catholic, Jewish, and Christian communities get particularly excited about the first three holidays that kick off this year’s celebrations.

No matter the occasion, TooJay’s Deli offers various deli favorites and specials during Lent, Passover, and Easter to help these celebrations taste even better.    

Deli Fish-Favorites Abound During Lent

More than a religious holiday, Lent is a period of penitential preparation for Easter in the Christian church, according to Britannica.com. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, the night before Easter. This period consists of a 40-day fast, except for Sundays, representing Jesus Christ’s fasting in the wilderness before he began his public ministry.

Throughout the years, Lent’s fasting rules’ religious strictness has eased, and, nowadays, Christians and Catholics usually use this period to give up specific things they enjoy. With red meat being one of the most popular choices to sacrifice for food, fish-based dishes are usually the to-go menu choices for guests who observe Lent.

Guests who look to conquer cravings during this period don’t need to sacrifice much, as TooJay’s Deli offers a large selection of fish-based menu items. These Lent-friendly items include the Nova Salmon Benedict, delicious Nova Latkes, or one of TooJay’s famous Fish Platters served on a crisp lettuce bed with fresh vegetables and a bagel. 

Other delicious entrées and handhelds include the Atlantic Salmon, served with mashed potatoes and a fresh vegetable, Fish & Chips, Open-Faced Tuna Melt, Hummus Wrap, and TooJay’s classic tuna salad as a sandwich or platter. As a bonus, the fan-favorite Fried Fish Po’Boy sandwich is available through April 4th!

Convenient Meal Options for Passover and Easter

According to History.com, Passover is one of the Jewish religion’s most sacred and widely observed holidays commemorating the story of the Israelites’ departure from ancient Egypt. The weeklong holiday includes several rituals like the traditional Passover meal or “Seder,” removing leavened products from homes like substituting matzo for bread and retelling the exodus tale. Additionally, as with most holidays, traditional dishes are enjoyed.  

TooJay’s and Passover

Year after year, TooJay’s Deli features holiday favorites rich in culinary tradition for those who celebrate Passover. The seasonal Passover menu includes lean and tender brisket, roasted Cornish game hen, baked salmon fillet, herb-roasted half chicken, including matzo ball soup, gelfite fish chopped liver, a potato pancake, carrot tzimmes, and macaroons. For those dining in, a glass of kosher wine and coffee or tea are also available. A variety of entrée accompaniments are available by the pound or item, including mushroom gravy, mini potato pancakes, carrot tzimmes, matzo balls, chopped liver, and gefilte fish. Classic matzo ball and chicken soups can also be purchased by the quart. TooJay’s famous bakery also offers a selection of made-from-scratch Passover desserts that include almond cake, honey cake, sponge cake, and coconut or chocolate macaroons. 

Guests who wish to dine in at their local TooJay’s restaurant during Passover this year may do so on Saturday, March 27, or Sunday, March 28 and must call in advance to make a reservation for the 5 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. seating. For those who prefer to dine at home, TooJay’s offers convenient takeout and curbside pickup on pre-paid orders at toojays.com/order-now. The deadline to order is March 24.

Parallel to Passover, the Easter season technically begins with the Lent period, previously mentioned, and officially ends on Easter Sunday. Celebrated on Sunday, April 4 this year, Easter marks the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

While people from different religions celebrate Passover and Easter, they both are holy days involving particular observations. When it comes to celebrating either holiday this spring, TooJay’s offers a wide variety of menu options to satisfy every palate. With convenient takeout, curbside pickup, and online ordering available, TooJay’s is the perfect choice for hosting holiday gatherings with friends and family. Taking care of the food is easier than ever with our catering package options.

With locations throughout Florida, TooJay’s Deli is always delighted to host new and loyal returning guests in accordance with all state and local requirements for COVID safety, including patio dining availability at the following restaurants:

* Has seating available to enjoy takeout meals but no table service.

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8 Tips for an Amazing Outdoor Catering Experience

Outdoor Catering Image

Outdoor catering can be a lot of fun with these 8 simple steps

Covid-19 may have turned your dinner party into a backyard soiree – but is that such a bad thing? Think about it; there’s scenery (yep, that view of your above-ground pool counts), fresh air, and room to roam. Events with outdoor catering are just as fun, if not more so than indoor ones.

Whether you’re hosting a small brunch with close family, a reunion with your college buds, or an office meeting, a catered outdoor event has many advantages. They also come with a few challenges to keep you on your toes.  Don’t sweat it, though, because those challenges don’t have to derail your event. With the proper considerations and some extra-delicious catering, you can have the best outdoor gathering ever.

Here are some tips and tricks for planning a fantastic outdoor event with catering. Remember, we’re talking about a good time here, so the only limit is your imagination and your venue’s space.

Map out the setting for your outdoor catering ahead of time

Get to know your venue at least a week before your event. If you’re renting an outdoor space, ask if you can tour it and take photos and videos. Even if you’re using your backyard or public space (like a park), give it a walk-through. Please take note of how many guests it will comfortably hold, where seating should go, and any unique challenges, like a hill or a marshy area you don’t want to get close to.

Prepare for unexpected weather

If you’re lucky enough to live in a place where it’s sunny and clear most of the year, it still pays to look at the weather report often before your event. Even if the forecast is the literal definition of paradise, your guests will be grateful if you’re prepared for heat, cold, wind, and precipitation.

What does that mean for an outdoor event with catering? A few things: you’ll want to provide shade, heat generators, and, if possible, a backup venue in case it rains.

Have layers for guests

If you’re hosting an outdoor event that starts during daylight and goes until after dark, you should expect a dip in temperature. Guests may not think to bring jackets or coats, especially those who don’t want to cover up a well-coordinated outfit!

That’s where you come in. Have blankets or other layers available for the evening. A few well-placed blankets can add a thoughtful touch and a cozy vibe to a party under the stars.

Don’t bug out

Nothing takes the fun out of an outdoor event quite like everyone’s least favorite uninvited guest: mosquitoes and other bugs. Anticipate and ward off these creepy-crawlers and winged menaces beforehand. Stock up on citronella candles and be prepared to dole out bug spray to those who want it. Side note: while you’re at it, you might as well buy a few bottles of sunscreen too.

If you’ve got access to a garden, you can even plant some lavender or rosemary ahead of time (or bring the herbs out in potted containers). These plants are natural insect repellents!

Don’t leave your guests in the dark during your outdoor catering event

Use a weather app to see when the sun sets on the day of your event.  This is crucial information to have when planning an event. If your gathering takes place at least partially after dark, you’re going to want to have adequate lighting.

If you’re renting a venue, ask about after-dark lighting options. If you’re using your own space, consider hanging string lights to set a festive mood or set out candles for a fancier feel (battery-operated ones are a-okay if you’re not into open flames). Double-check any existing outdoor lighting to make sure it’s functional and suitable to your event’s layout.

Keep in mind that pivoting from an indoor to an outdoor event may be easier if you adjust your gathering time. Switching to a daytime picnic instead of a sit-down dinner, for example, will allow you to maximize daylight without sacrificing a good time.

Remind guests about their footwear

What does the ground look like in your event space? If it’s concrete or gravel, take note of that. If you’re dealing with grass or sand, you may want to pass that information to guests. This is an excellent opportunity to communicate the dress code.

Guests may assume that an event will be more formal than it is and wear high heels that get stuck in the soft ground. You want your guests to be comfortable, so make them aware of the setting and suggest a dress code that suits the environment.

Consider a theme for your event

An outdoor event with catering is the perfect opportunity for you to have that fun theme party you’ve always wanted to throw. From garden parties to country hoedowns, the options are endless.

Select an outdoor catering menu and caterer that fits the vibe

Your menu should fit the tone of your outdoor event, just like your theme and dress code. Take into consideration the seating arrangements, what people will be wearing, the weather, and of course, what you and your guests want to eat.  

TooJay’s is one of the original catering services, in business for 40 years. Our food is hand-crafted, always fresh, and customized to your liking. We do full-service or simple drop-off catering.

Contact a TooJay’s Catering expert to talk about your catering needs for your next event.

Founded in 1981, TooJay’s has catered over Half-a-Million events across the state of Florida. We are currently serving guests in Palm Beach and Broward counties, the Treasure Coast, the Orlando area, and The Villages.

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Corned Beef, Cabbage, and 10 Ways to Safely Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day This Year

Mom and Daughter have St. Patrick's Day fun with costumes

You don’t need the luck of the Irish to have a festive and safe celebration this year

In 2020, there were Covid-19 restrictions in many cities that coincided with one of the most fun days of the year: St. Patrick’s Day. If, like many people, you retired your leprechaun hat last year and drank Guinness alone on the couch, you’re probably eager to celebrate this year.

St. Patrick’s Day parties may look a little different this year – which can be useful if you hate getting pinched by many people for not wearing green – but it’s still possible to get in on the Irish-themed fun this March 17.

Whether you’re celebrating the luck of the Irish with a socially-distanced office lunch, close family, or friends from your bubble, here are ten ideas to ensure that your St. Patrick’s Day is as good as a pot of gold.

Ten Ideas for celebrating St. Patty’s Day

Greenify your drinks

It’s not St. Patrick’s Day without green beer, so buy a case of IPA, amber, or lager and add a few drops of green food coloring to your pint. Not a fan of beer? Have a different St. Patty’s day beverage, like Guinness, Irish whiskey, or Irish coffee.

Find an Irish-approved soundtrack

With the right music choice, you’ll feel like you’re in an Irish pub, even if you’re celebrating in your backyard. Make a Spotify playlist of some raucous Irish drinking songs, including hits from the Dropkick Murphys, The Dubliners, Flogging Molly, and more.

DIY your St. Patty’s Day décor

Stock up on green paper, gold glitter, and all things rainbow, and bust out the construction scissors. Cut out shamrocks and tape them up around your home or office. Print out limericks and hang a rainbow on your wall for guests to pose beneath (don’t forget the pot of gold). Take inspiration from landmarks like Niagara Falls, which always glows green on March 17, and string up some green lights outside.

Create a leprechaun treasure hunt for kiddos

While the adults are enjoying St. Patrick’s Day beer and music, give the kids a fun activity to do by creating a leprechaun treasure hunt. Using green paper, cut out little footprints and spread them around outside with clues along the way. At the end of the hunt, the kiddos will be rewarded with a pot of gold – gold chocolate coins, that is!

Irish step dancing lessons

Channel your inner Michael Flatley and become Lord of the Dance this St. Patrick’s Day with some Irish step dancing. Don’t worry; there’s no rhythm required, just a good sense of humor. Irish step dancing is a tradition that dates back to the 17th century. Still, these days, you can carry it on in a decidedly modern fashion by watching an Irish step dancing instructional video and following along with your family and friends.

Go for a St. Patty’s Day-themed run

Want to work up an appetite for all of that corned beef and cabbage? Look for a St. Patrick’s Day fun-run in your area, or organize one yourself. Grab your friends, put on some silly green outfits, and race around your neighborhood. At the end of the race, you can celebrate with Irish fare and green beer.

Stream a St. Patrick’s Day event

While St. Patty’s day may not be marked by parades and concerts this year, you can still enjoy the thrill of those events safely at your socially-distanced celebration. Stream a St. Patrick’s Day parade from a past year, such as the iconic Sligo St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Celebrate St. Patty’s Day with coworkers

If you’re stuck at work, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your coworkers by enjoying an Irish-themed catered meal. Think corned beef and cabbage, seafood chowder, and Irish cream cheesecake.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with family

Just as with your coworkers, you can get together with family and have a catered meal. Having an Irish breakfast with Irish Benedict is a delicious way to start the day.

Party it up safely

This year, look at face masks as another way to share your Irish pride (and remember, everyone’s Irish on St. Patty’s Day). There are a considerable variety of St. Patrick’s Day options available. Buy a whole pack of ‘em and give them out to whomever you’re celebrating with.

Offer hand sanitizer (extra points if it’s in a green bottle) at your event, and put up signage encouraging social distancing with a St. Patrick’s Day twist. For example: “Please stay six leprechauns apart.”

St. Patrick’s Day catering from TooJay’s

When choosing the menu, go with a caterer that prioritizes your safety and your guests’ safety. TooJay’s catering is all about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in style without compromising your health. At TooJay’s, our team members wear face masks, food safety measures are followed, team health checks are implemented, and there’s even contactless pickup.

From March 8-21 this year, we are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a delightful menu of special catering options. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a TooJay’s catering. You’ll be glad you did.

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6 Tips for Budget-Friendly Business Catering

People eating at a business catering event

How to exceed business event expectations without going over your budget

Key takeaways

  • Identify the event size and desired menu for your event- don’t over-order!
  • Offer a variety of food options, but not too many
  • Choose cost-effective menu items
  • Opt for self-serve catered events to keep them affordable
  • Communicate your budget to your business catering specialist

Coming together with coworkers or customers for a meeting or event should be an enjoyable experience. Catering makes these meetings so much better, but finding the right business catering expert can be difficult!

You might worry that catering for a business event will be too expensive, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. Successful, budget-friendly events, luncheons, or business meetings require some planning. There are several ways to ensure your event costs stay under budget. 

Business Catering

One of the most critical aspects of event planning is catering. You can avoid over-spending on food while still delivering a fantastic experience by working with an experienced caterer. The right caterer will make your meeting or event stand out at a price you can afford.

As long-time corporate caterers, we know it’s crucial to stay on budget, deliver consistent, high-quality food, save you time, and spare you event-planning stress. We share some of our catering expertise below to make your event-planning experience easy and keep your costs low.

Keep business catering affordable

If keeping catering costs low is a priority for your business event, use these six tips to delight your audience on a budget.

1. Consider the event size and style

One reason that events quickly exceed a budget is because of over-ordering. Hosts don’t want to run out of food, but we suggest only ordering what you’ll need.

Figure out how many people will be attending so you can order accordingly.

It’s essential to collect dietary preferences from your attendees as this will determine how much of each menu item will get eaten.

Ask your colleagues or customers if they have specific dietary restrictions. Our Nutritionals menus list the nutrition facts of our foods, as well as their allergens. We also have gluten-free and lite menus.  

Once you have an accurate idea of your event’s size and your attendees’ dietary needs, you’ll be able to order the proper amount. 

2. Offer variety, but not too much!

Having your event catered is exciting because there are so many delicious food options to choose from. Giving your guests a variety of options will dazzle their taste buds and provide balanced nutrition. Offering too many options can quickly become costly, however.

We suggest opting for a practical menu.

Choose the main item – deli sandwiches, for example – that comes in various styles, such as roast beef, turkey, and pastrami. Doing this makes it possible for each guest to choose what they like while also keeping it simple.

If you are serving hot foods, some options include:

  • Chicken
  • Pasta
  • Beef
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Lasagna

Once you’ve selected your base item, choose a few side dishes, snacks, and desserts.

Some of our favorite side dishes include:

  • Salads
  • Coleslaw
  • Potato salad
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Hot vegetables

Delicious dessert options include:

  • Fresh-baked cookie platters
  • Napoleon and Éclair platters
  • Brownies

All of the fresh, delectable catered foods at TooJay’s are made from scratch.

The key here is that you don’t have to order everything, just one or two options from each category, depending on your event’s size and style. We’ll happily help you plan an event and share our expertise on keeping costs low.

3. Select cost-effective foods 

Catering is usually priced according to the food selected. Certain food types are less expensive to prepare and thus cost less to supply and serve at your event.

Some cost-effective catering options include dishes with the following bases:

  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Salad
  • Vegetables

Consider incorporating these inexpensive options alongside your main dish as a way to save money on your event.

You can also ask your caterer to recommend the most cost-effective options. An experienced caterer will be able to tell you the most affordable options for your budget.

4. Consider self-serve business catering

An excellent way to keep event costs low is to minimize the staff needed to operate the food stations. Choose self-service style catering when possible. 

Hiring staff to serve food at your event is a quick way to inflate your catering expenses. On the other hand, self-service events are simple, more comfortable for attendees, and much more affordable.

Opting for a buffet-style spread will keep your costs low. Ask your caterer to serve food in pans arranged on a buffet line, so guests can serve themselves when they’re ready.

5. Communicate with your caterer

A great way to keep your event or luncheon catering costs low is to tell your caterer your budget upfront. Explain your budget requirements and the style and volume of foods you’re interested in serving.

An experienced caterer will give you recommendations for a delicious menu within your price range. They’ll also offer cost-saving strategies, like whether to pick up the food or have it delivered and packaging or serving options. Plus, they will support your event planning so that the experience is as stress-free as possible.

Be sure to communicate with your business caterer how many attendees you’re expecting. They will be able to recommend an appropriate food amount.

6. Have fun!

Don’t get overwhelmed by the details or logistics of planning an event. Take your time organizing it and focus on what you control. Leave the details, like catering, to the experts.

Then, you’ll be able to enjoy your event. 

Business catering at the right price

Corporate event planning shouldn’t be complicated. Start by establishing the event attendee count and the desired menu. Then, communicate your vision with your expert catering team. Inform them of your budget and let them get to work! They’ll come up with the perfect menu and item quantity. This way, you don’t have to worry about running out of food or going over budget.

We handle all things catering, so you can handle your event’s meat (pun intended!)  Click here to see our catering menu and place your corporate catering order today!

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COVID-19 Safety at TooJay’s

TooJay's Catering

TooJay’s remains committed to providing top-notch service while keeping our guests safe, in and out of our restaurants during COVID-19

TooJay’s has always protected the health and safety of our customers. We have done it for 40 years while serving you and will continue to do so, now more than ever, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key takeaways:

  • TooJay’s is committed to prioritizing the health and safety of our customers
  • A look at our COVID-19 safety measures for catering services
  • A look at our COVID-19 safety measures for in-person dining
  • Stay safe and eat well with TooJay’s
  • We are following all state and local guidelines for safety.

Safety protocol

We have taken all necessary steps to ensure our customers and staff are protected.  We stay-up-to-date on local and national guidelines regarding COVID-19 and maintain an updated strategy for navigating the current climate.

Catering safety measures

We have continued to provide our first-class catering services with enhanced health and safety measures.

  • We package and wrap food orders individually upon request for maximum protection.
  • We offer drop-off catering services so that you don’t have to come inside.
  • Our online ordering system allows you to order take-out and catering that can be delivered or picked up. 
  • We have worked with our third-party delivery services to ensure they are following health and safety guidelines.

COVID-19 In-restaurant dining, delivery, pickup, and curbside pickup safety measures

  • We have mandated facial coverings in our restaurants for employees, following CDC guidelines.
  • Our guests are required to wear masks when entering and exiting the restaurant.
  • We have put social distancing measures into place to keep guests safe.
  • We require our staff to wash their hands frequently.
  • We consistently sanitize high-touch areas and have implemented enhanced cleaning procedures for all of our restaurants.
  • We conduct daily health screenings of our employees and do not allow employees with visible or reported symptoms to work.
  • In addition to a dine-in option, we offer delivery, inside pickup, and curbside pickup for guests.

We believe these strict protocols will increase the level of safety while serving you.

Our goal is to make our customers feel comfortable.  We assure you that your food is prepared and delivered with an emphasis on COVID-19 safety measures. We know the seriousness of the situation and place a high priority on your health.  

Dine-in or order out from TooJay’s and enjoy our homemade comfort food, deli classics, and scrumptious desserts! We can’t wait to bring the joy of eating good food to you!

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How to Plan Small Gatherings During COVID

Small Gathering Fun with people cheersing

Having small gatherings doesn’t mean taking away the fun!

Once upon a time, you were dreaming of a big, sprawling backyard barbecue or a packed house party. Then…well…COVID-19 happened. It’s a bummer having to turn huge soirees into small gatherings, but cutting down the guest list doesn’t make an even boring. You can still have fun while hosting a small get-together – and you don’t have to sacrifice safety or break COVID recommendations to do it.

Currently, gatherings of all sizes are allowed in Florida, but big events are still discouraged and restrictions may vary by community. Many of us miss big, crowded gatherings (and we are on the way to getting there again!), but small gatherings make it easy for everyone to stay six feet apart. It may not be Florida rule that gatherings have to be limited, but public health officials certainly recommend this now. So, be a good party planner and keep your event intimate.

Here are eight tips to ensure that no matter how small your event is, it’ll be a big hit!

1. Un-invite guests without being rude

Here’s the awkward part (but don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be): planning a small gathering means minimizing your guest list. This may seem daunting, but most people are surprisingly cool with being uninvited – or not invited in the first place – during Covid-19.

Decide who absolutely must be there – close family is a good way to go. Create or alter your guest list as early as possible and communicate to your guests so they have time to adjust their plans. You can offer an alternative way to join in on the festivities, like Zoom or FaceTime, for those who aren’t invited. You can also express a desire to meet up at a later date so they get the picture that it’s not them, it’s COVID

2. Communicate with guests beforehand about safety measures at your small gatherings

Set the tone early by communicating safety precautions beforehand to your guests. Reassure them of the safety measures you’ll be following – wearing masks, social distancing, hand washing, etc. – and strongly encourage them to follow the rules. Talking about safety may not feel like it sets a chill party vibe, but it’s a nice way to put your guests’ minds at ease, which will in turn lead to a more comfortable event.

3. Have your small gatherings outside

Outside gatherings are safer, and they also happen to be more fun! Who doesn’t love a night with friends, food, and music on the back porch? We’re lucky to be in Florida too, where the winter weather is just right for outdoor gatherings. Set up string lights, offer sunscreen and/or bug spray, light some candles, crank up the music, and set the tone for a really fun, low-risk event.

4. Offer fun masks

Encourage mask-wearing by offering them as party favors. You can purchase themed masks that fit the tone of your event, decorate some yourself, or even challenges guests to don the coolest masks they have. Masks not only protect you and those around you, but you can make them an entertaining fashion statement.

5. Keep hand sanitizer available

There’s an expectation guests have when attending a party that the host will provide everything they need to have a good time. During COVID-19, that includes hand sanitizer. Offer sanitizer as a party favor along with a stylish mask, or simply set up multiple hand sanitizer stations in the area where your gathering will be. Don’t skimp on the soap – have it available in your bathroom and consider putting up a cheeky sign encouraging hand-washing. 

6. Serve mocktails

Consuming alcohol makes you less likely to follow social distancing guidelines, according to the CDC. We’re not saying you have to skip the cooler of beer, but you may want to offer an alternative to alcoholic beverages to promote social distancing (a great host will do this even during non-pandemic times)! Ditch the soda and mix up some fun mocktails. Mocktails can be just as tasty as cocktails – think fresh fruit, fancy garnishes, Instagram-worthy drinkware – without the booze.

7. Embrace the intimacy of a small gatherings

Some think smaller events just aren’t that fun, but they can honestly be better than large events. Think about the last big event you went to – a wedding (possibly yours!), graduation party, etc. – you probably didn’t have time to chat with everyone. You’ll have time to enjoy a conversation with each guest at a small gathering though. Embrace that by taking the time to talk to everyone, ensuring they feel at home. When the party is over, everyone will remember what a great host you were.

8. Get yummy catering

It might not be the best idea to have a large party right now, but you can make the most of a small gathering. Make sure to stay safe with fun, fitted masks, hand sanitizer, and some extra distance from guests.

You can still have a lot of fun at your mini party with mocktails, delicious appetizers, entrees, and rich desserts! Your menu will be on point if you order from TooJay’s Catering. Not only do we have a selection of entrees, but we offer appetizers like nova latkes, mini quiche, and spinach phyllo puffs. Our dessert platters are sure to please too, with options like fresh baked cookies, mini napoleons, and éclairs.

We take the health and safety of our guests and team members seriously. We offer pickup, curbside, and drop-off catering. Items are individually-wrapped upon request and all of our drivers wear masks. Don’t sweat your small event with TooJay’s on your side!

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Best Gifts for Your Favorite Foodies

Gift Card and Dessert Platter Images

Finding the best gifts for your favorite foodies can be difficult, but gift-giving is a beloved tradition that has been around for generations. As humans, we like to feel connected to people we care about, and gift-giving is a way to do that and express our feelings. There is nothing better than tying a bow on the best gift for a loved one or opening a gift-wrapped box to find the favorite item you’ve been wanting. The joy that this ritual brings is one of the many things that make the holiday season highly anticipated and so loved, especially after an unexpected year filled with worry and stress. As you make your list and check it twice, consider TooJay’s Deli your one-stop place to shop for the foodies in your life. Our beloved deli offers various deals and delicious finds that are sure to satisfy everyone, from family and friends to colleagues and acquaintances.

Gift Cards Make the Best Gifts

Best Gifts for your favorite foodies: It's better to give AND receive! Spend $25 and get $5

Food is considered a love language for many, so one of the greatest gifts you can give is a delicious meal. There’s no better stocking stuffer for family and friends or a more perfect way to show appreciation to teachers and colleagues than a TooJay’s gift card. It’s a wonderful treat that allows everyone to choose their favorite items from TooJay’s incredible menu while also alleviating the stress of holiday shopping. Today through December 24, TooJay’s is offering a $5 bonus card for future use with every $25 of https://toojays.com/holiday-gift-cards/TooJay’s gift cards you buy in-store. Guests can also purchase gift cards online with the simple click of a button and have them shipped directly to the recipient with a personal message included. Bonus cards are only available for in-store purchases and are valid for redemption from December 26, 2020, through February 28, 2021, perfectly timed for post-holiday savings.

Delectable Desserts

Nothing rings in the holiday season more than delicious, made-from-scratch desserts. TooJay’s Deli’s bakery has various fresh sweets, including convenient and beautifully curated dessert platters with an assortment of treats like rugalach, signature mini black & white cookies, brownies and more, as well as gourmet specialty cakes and seasonal favorites like the Red Velvet Cake. Purchasing these delightful goodies is also easy, making those last-minute gifts a breeze. Guests can visit their local TooJay’s location and get desserts to go or order in advance online or through the Delicious Rewards app. For added convenience and safety, contactless curbside pickup is available for prepaid orders placed online. 

Although gift-giving is a favorite tradition for many, it can become overwhelming and stressful at times. The key is to remember; it is the thought that counts. Additionally, ease the stress and do all your shopping in one place. TooJay’s takes the hassle out of shopping while providing a quality gift for loved ones. During the holiday season and beyond, TooJay’s is committed to providing delicious food and quality service, making every one of life’s special moments that much brighter.

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Outdoor Patio Dining at TooJay’s

Outdoor Patio Dining with drinks and food

Florida’s beautiful weather year-round is one of the many benefits of living in the sunshine state. During the pandemic, more people have embraced the outdoors and use it as a safe escape from being cooped up inside. As people become acclimated to this new “normal,” they are beginning to venture out and enjoy their favorite activities once again but with precautions like outdoor patio dining always top of mind.

Luckily for food lovers, restaurants have been able to reopen safely and implement safety guidelines to ease guests’ worries. Additionally, outdoor seating at restaurants has given people peace of mind and for Floridians, it is something that they can enjoy year-round. 

TooJay’s Patio Dining Locations

* Has seating available to enjoy takeout meals but no table service.

Advantages of Outdoor Patio Dining

It is probably safe to say that most food lovers consider that, aside from the quality of the food, the most enjoyable part of eating out is the experience itself, which can consist of but is not limited to:

  • Décor – The restaurant has a “theme” (i.e. sports or movie memorabilia), artwork or furniture that is unique or people find interesting.
  • Service – What everyone mainly looks for when eating at a restaurant is the convenience of not having to cook or wash dishes and pans. Being taken care of by someone else is also great, and it’s always a plus when the servers and restaurant management are attentive and make guests feel welcome.
  • Atmosphere – Different moods, budgets, and occasions call for different choices in restaurants. For example, couples who celebrate anniversaries or a birthday tend to go to spots that are fancier or have a quiet and romantic setting. Parents who pick up their kids from sports practices would likely stop at a family-friendly restaurant.

Whatever the reason might be, the experience of eating out is usually positive and patio dining is always a joyful experience when the weather is nice. Aside from the obvious choice of avoiding a confined space during the pandemic, patio dining offers guests the advantage of being under the sun and the feel of fresh air while enjoying a delicious meal. For guests who usually feel uncomfortable and cold eating inside air-conditioned settings for a long period of time, outdoor seating is also a great alternative to be more relaxed. Guests looking for a quiet area of a busy restaurant to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone without bothering other patrons have also found that outside dining is the way to go.

Outdoor Patio Dining Trends

As the weather began getting warmer in the early weeks of the pandemic, many restaurants opted to expand their outdoor areas in an effort to create COVID-safe environments and attract more clientele, sometimes even going as far as using sidewalks and closing streets to create open air dining rooms. While this was a no brainer trend then, now restaurants in northern states face the problem of the return of cold weather, which will definitely result in a decrease of clientele.

For Floridians, eating outside is almost always an option. As we enter the winter season, patio dining becomes even more accessible and a popular choice since the weather is still warm enough in most parts of the state.

With locations throughout Florida, TooJay’s Deli is always delighted to host new and loyal returning guests in accordance with all state and local requirements for COVID safety, including patio dining availability at the following restaurants:

As we continue to be committed to practicing safe sanitation and food handling with team health checks and enhanced cleaning procedures in all our restaurants, we feel privileged to be based in the Sunshine State and have the option to keep our outside dining areas open throughout the year to make our guests feel safer when they come to visit.   

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Holiday Meals Keep Spirits Bright

Let Us do the cooking this holiday season!

It’s that time of year again, with Thanksgiving behind us and the holiday season officially in full swing. Although most of us will have far fewer guests around the table this year, people are adapting and finding safe ways to enjoy their downsized holiday meals.  

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, or any other seasonal tradition, great food is the centerpiece that brings everyone together. And while it’s admirable to do all the cooking yourself, it indeed is a tremendous amount of work. If you want to really enjoy your guests and the bountiful meal you serve, then ordering your holiday meals from TooJay’s Deli is the way to go. You’ll get the double benefit of delicious holiday favorites with little or no cooking required. With that decision made, you can relax and have fun planning everything else that goes into a memorable holiday celebration. The following tips can help:

2020 Holiday Meal Basics

If you haven’t already done so, determine how many guests you can invite, based on the space you’ll need for social distancing. Consider hosting your holiday celebration outside in the backyard or on a balcony if space permits. The primary concern is that everyone feels comfortable with your plan. If your family and friends aren’t visiting for the holidays this year, plan a ZOOM call or Facetime, the next best thing to being here.

Holiday Meals of any size

The holidays may not be traditional this year. However, the foods still can be, starting with TooJay’s famous Nova Latkes for Hanukah and the restaurant’s tempting selection of traditional Christmas dinners. Whether you’ll be dining alone or with a small group, it’s easy to have TooJay’s do the cooking for your holiday meal. Narrow your choices, create a concise menu based on what your guests like best, and consider whether any children will be there and other food preferences.

TooJay’s Deli offers traditional holiday catering packages featuring a variety of popular sides and famously decadent desserts. Orders must be placed in advance, and contactless curbside pickup is available.

Buffet, plated, or family-style?

Should you serve the meal buffet, plated, or family-style this year? The answer depends on the number of guests, the amount of space you have, and how comfortable your guests will be. It’s all about social distancing this year, so plated meals are likely to be the popular choice. If any of your guests have offered to help, consider designating a spot in the kitchen for filling and re-filling people’s plates, so only one person needs to handle the serving utensils.

Festive Beverages

If you’re hunting for the best selection of holiday beverages,consider a festive iced tea or lemonade made with bright, flavorful fruits, such as TooJay’s Peach Tea or Strawberry Lemonade. Make an alcohol-free version for the kids and add some sparkling wine for the grown-up batch. It just might become a family tradition! Beyond your signature beverage, stick to the basics: red and white wine, beer, plain and bubbly water, juice for the kids, and coffee and tea for dessert.

Holiday Meals and Table Décor

A table setting is as much of an art as cooking. A touch of nostalgia from your family’s holiday memorabilia mixed with new decorations you’ve collected along the way are part of the season’s magic and sure to keep your spirits bright. Your table setting doesn’t need to be complicated, expensive, or challenging to create; it just needs to be a labor of love.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Don’t overschedule, overindulge, or overspend. Take the time to stop and smell the roses, or more likely, the aroma of the turkey roasting in the oven! Think about what the holiday season means to you. Rather than worrying about cooking the “perfect” holiday dinner, let TooJay’s Deli do the cooking so you can enjoy the celebration you’ve planned.

Check out our Catering Video to learn more about contactless catering delivery!  

Happy holidays to you all from the TooJay’s Team!

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Charcuterie: Get on the Board!

TooJay's Meat and Cheese Platter is always a good start to any charcuterie board

The Perfect At-Home Activity

Calling all at-home epicureans! Most of us are spending much more time at home than ever before, there’s never been a better time to showcase your creative kitchen skills with the widespread phenomenon known as the charcuterie board.

If you’re a foodie with a passion for exciting combinations of meats, cheeses, colorful fruits, and vegetables served with crunchy artisanal bread, you’ll love the many ways these versatile ingredients complement each other. Charcuterie boards are surprisingly easy to arrange, don’t need to be expensive, and offer the variety you need to please everyone’s appetite. These are perfect for date night or family game night! Here’s where to start:

Foundation

The first thing you’ll need for your charcuterie masterpiece is the foundation, typically a platter, tray, or board made of wood or marble. Feel free to get creative and use whatever type of foundation you have on hand. You’ll also need some small dishes to place on the board for dips, nuts, or olives. A variety of shapes and colors will make your presentation pop, so feel free to use whatever you have in your cabinets.

The size of the foundation matters, as the more extensive the board you use, the more you’ll need to fill it. The great thing about charcuterie boards is their versatility, so there’s no right or wrong. Use your imagination, get creative, and have fun.  

Meats & Cheeses

Sandwich and Burger Charcuterie

Variety is the essence of a charcuterie board, so you should include at least three types of cheeses and meats on your board. You can visit the deli counter at TooJay’s Deli and have them slice the exact amounts of meats and cheeses you need. The extensive menu includes provolone, Muenster, pastrami, roast beef, and more. If you’re in the mood for something straightforward and delicious, TooJay’s also offers an assortment of convenient catering platters of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and fruits, which you can deconstruct and use to build your board. Ordering is accessible by phone or online.

Extra Charcuterie Items

Although meats and cheeses are the stars of the show, other great ingredients can jazz up your board and make it your own unique creation. Jellies, jams, and spreads add another nice texture, especially if you don’t have a spreadable cheese on the board. Fruits and veggies add a fresh touch, balance the meats and cheeses’ saltiness, and provide a nice pop of color. Strawberries and grapes add a naturally fresh touch alongside the crunchiness of nuts, such as almonds and walnuts. Last but certainly not least, you’ll need a variety of bread and crackers.  Pick up some of TooJay’s famous Rye Bread and cut slices into quarters for the perfect pairing.

Build Your Charcuterie Board

Now that you have your foundation and items, it’s time to build your charcuterie board. Think of it as creating a culinary collage. First, add structure by placing the smaller bowls with nuts or spreads on the board and continue to build your display around them. Folding each slice of meat gives a layered look and makes it easier to select a piece without touching the surrounding slices. It’s okay if items overlap and seem to blend together, like a delicious tapestry. Then add the crackers or bread, conveniently placing them near the meats and cheeses. Rather than just laying everything flat, you may want to stack some things and let others fall to the side. Fill in the open spots with colorful fruits, veggies, and any other garnishes you prefer.

4 S’s of Charcuterie: Sweet, Savory, Salty, Spicy

Make sure you keep the 4 S’s of Charcuterie foremost in your mind as you decide what items to include; this keeps your board balanced and ensures that it will delight your taste buds!

  1. Sweet. Fruit (fresh and dried): grapes, strawberries, dates, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, figs, etc. Your spreads can also be sweet like the apricot jam, fig spread, jellies, etc.
  2. Savory. The cheese and meats take charge here. Prepare to have at least 3 varieties of each.
  3. Salty. Because the meats are cured, they are also salty. Cheese, nuts, and crackers are other sources of salty items.
  4. Spicy. You don’t need to go overboard here – maybe one or two items. Just make sure you let your guests know where the heat is on your charcuterie.

Voila! Your board is now ready to enjoy! The combination of sweet and savory flavors in an aesthetically pleasing arrangement is sure to get rave reviews. And since no French dish is complete without wine, choose a selection that pairs well with the meats and cheeses on your board.  

All you need for a fantastic charcuterie board is a little imagination and a lot of appreciation for how delicious it can be. Whether you keep your board simple or dress it up, no rules apply. Whether you’re quarantining at home or social distancing with friends, a charcuterie board is a perfect way to make a meal your own.

With 20 locations spanning from the Villages to Orlando, and all the way down to Plantation, TooJay’s has been providing Florida with Deli-style delights like Meats and Cheeses since 1981.

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