CORNELIUS — This year has already started off well for the staff of Armin’s Catering and Events, having won first place in both categories they entered in the 10th annual Souper Bowl cook-off Feb. 1 at Davidson College. Plus, their new event site is beginning to take off.
After 20 years in food service and catering, owner Armin Desch expanded his offerings last fall to provide a meeting space for weddings, bar mitzvahs, corporate events and other gatherings.
Desch said having a restaurant is a lot of work and is around the clock, but with The Pearl Wedding and Events Center, 19501-F Catawba Ave., they are able to continue catering while meeting a need in Lake Norman.
“We needed a bigger kitchen space so we can accommodate bigger events,” Desch said, adding some of their clients include the Levine Center, Mint Museum and Temple Beth El. “But we also need an indoor event space in this area. Lake Norman has a few, like hotels and country clubs, but I wanted a regional space to have a reasonably cost event for brides, bar mitzvahs and corporate events.”
The building, which can accommodate 75-225 people, offers a dance floor, stage, bridal suite, place for a DJ and a full-service bar, plus a lounge area for cocktail hours.
Since taking over the property, Desch renovated it, painting over the red walls and changing the carpets for a more neutral color scheme of creams and grays. The natural atmosphere reminded him of the pearls his mother used to wear, the namesake for the space.
Armin’s Catering and Events previously operated out of Blythe Landing. Desch now has an administrative office in the Birkdale Business Park in Huntersville to allow for a quieter setting to meet with clients to plan events. He also manages historic Beaver Dam for the Town of Davidson. Since that is an outdoor venue, Desch said he now has two different things to offer.
With the new venture, Armin’s isn’t going to slow down with its catering business.
It boasts a variety of menus for any need — from hors d'oeuvres and desserts to luncheons and dinner entrées. Meals range from Southern cuisine to Italian and Greek fare. There’s even a menu specific for an evening on a yacht.
And the company isn’t afraid to try new things.
During the Souper Bowl, Armin’s won first place in the creative category for a seafood chowder with star anise and saffron to offer a different flavor. They also won first place in the creamy category for smoked potato soup.
This is the fifth year Armin’s has participated in the competition, which raised money for home repair for low-income residents. Other organizations Armin’s Catering and Events has worked with over the years include the Ada Jenkins Center and Ronald McDonald House. The Pearl will host the first Rhythm and Brews Fundraiser on March 1 to benefit Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center, a nonprofit that works with young victims of sexual abuse.
With this new outlet, Desch hopes his involvement in the community will continue to grow. He attributes his success to his customers who have been following him since he started a New York-style deli in Charlotte 20 years ago before focusing solely on catering.
“My business has grown thanks to the support from people who have been with me for 20 years,” he said. “I have clients whose kids work for me. I have clients who have followed me from the deli. I couldn’t do it without my staff.”
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