Catering for the Holidays 7

Benvenuti’s, La Baguette and Oliveto Rise to the Challenge

When it comes to catering around Cleveland County, many local restaurants have a “whatever it takes” attitude to help customers achieve their best holiday bash, family dinner or intimate gathering.

Need someone to recreate your great-grandmother’s Italian baked rigatoni? Look to Benvenuti’s. Love La Baguette’s meals but don’t see your favorite dish on the menu? Just ask. And if you’ve got a hankering for bread pudding, Oliveto’s serves up party portions that are sure to please.

If you’re planning to let a local restaurant do the cooking this holiday season, you can rely on these three to rise to the challenge.

Benvenuti’s Ristorante

Of course Benvenuti’s can cater to the nines, but the Norman restaurant also orchestrates small-scale events and builds them around your budget.

“There’s nothing that we can’t or won’t do,” general manager Tarasina Compagni said. This season, they’ll help customers throw corporate parties, fundraising events and cozy at-home dinners by providing their made-from-scratch antipasti, pastas, main dishes and desserts. They also provide a venue inside their catering facility that seats up to 250 in Norman’s Sooner Theatre.

A few customer favorites are the braised short ribs (Compagni calls them “to die for”) and honey dijon pork tenderloin. Desserts include assorted cake and pie tables, mini tiramisu, Italian cream cake and the restaurant’s signature carrot cake.

Customers are keen on Benvenuti’s holiday bar, in which the restaurant sets up a full-service bar. You name the drink or they can help you choose from a selection of signature cocktails and wines found only at Benvenuti’s.

“We do everything from setup to cleanup, so all they really have to worry about is having fun,” Compagni said. “We can even decorate for Christmas. And sometimes we even use someone’s special china, so we basically re-plate everything and make it very personal.”

Benvenuti’s is located at 105 W. Main St. in Norman. Hours are 5-9 p.m. Sunday, 5-9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday (Phone: 310.5271; website:

La Baguette

La Baguette in Norman offers holiday revelers a myriad of options. Even though they are mostly known for their amazing desserts, they can take care of all your catering needs, whether it’s a private party, corporate function, wedding or get-together.

The menu ranges from the traditional fruit-and-cheese platters and bite-size foods to the elaborate beef tenderloin in a brandy peppercorn sauce, chicken Madeira and pork tenderloin in a red wine mango chutney sauce. They even provide Mediterranean and Lebanese cuisine.

La Baguette manager Gloria Abounassar notes that the eatery also can turn its wide array of desserts into platters. What’s more, Abounassar said holiday hosts enjoy presenting their guests or loved ones with gift baskets filled with cookies, brownies and lemon squares.

Special holiday items available for catered events include pumpkin pie, chocolate bourbon pecan pie, Stollen bread (a German fruitcake) and a yule log available only around Christmastime.

“We can accommodate anyone,” Abounassar said. “Whatever they want, if they ask for specific things, then we do it.”

La Baguette has two locations in Norman: 2100 W. Main St. and 1130 Rambling Oaks. Hours are 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. (Phone: 329.5822 and 329.1101, respectively; website:

Oliveto Italian Bistro

Oliveto’s does several drop-offs throughout the holidays, but they’re also available to stick around and help with the buffet line or serve during events. You can leave setup and cleanup to them, too.

Holiday catering items from the Italian restaurant in Moore include appetizers of spinach dip and a bruschetta sundae drizzled with balsamic glaze. They also dish out hearty portions of salads, lasagna, chicken Alfredo and a customer favorite of chicken primavera that includes sliced chicken breast and a medley of zucchini, yellow squash, sugar snap peas, red peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, Kalamata olives and fresh basil sautéed in lemon garlic.

They also handle drinks, including lemonade, unsweetened tea, sweet tea and even wine and beer.

When it comes to dessert, there’s one unexpected sweet customers have fallen for in particular, owner Mike Sikes said.

“This item isn’t actually on our catering menu but we sell a lot of it for catering size, and that’s bread pudding,” he said. “People just love it. Two weeks before Christmas we’ll probably sell 50 pans, and those each feed from 12-15 people.”

Oliveto’s is located at 1301 S. I-35 Service Road in Moore. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. (Phone: 735.5553; website: