Neal Hirsch has owned Moonlight Caterers for 21 years and recently branched out by opening Moonlight Café and Caterers in Brewster in December.
Hirsch, who lives in New Fairfield, CT, said last week he was formerly a corporate executive chef before entering the catering field. The word Moonlight referred to how he became a caterer, Hirsch noted.
“The company that I worked for was offered to do a large catering function but they had to charge too much money so the client refused it,” he recalled. “I asked the company that I worked for if I could go out on my own and provide services as a caterer and they said yes.”
The event which had expected to draw about 300 guests actually had 1,200 attendees, he said.
“That’s how Moonlight Caterers started on July 4, 1997,” he said.
Hirsch said he chose the Route 22 site for his new venture because “it’s such a good location and I knew the idea of what we’re going to do here has not been done anywhere near this area. My wife (Dawn) and I decided to roll the dice.”
Hirsch said Moonlight Café, which is a Brewster Chamber of Commerce member, is part of the revitalization of Brewster. “Technically, we are phase one,” he said.
All the cooking is done by Hirsch. “Everything that we do here is made on the premises from scratch,” he said. The café offers at least 10 side dishes daily, five entrees and about 50 to 60 percent of its menu being vegan options, he said.
“Because everything here is made in-house we’re able to offer it at a super reasonable price,” Hirsch said.
Every day the café offers two soups, five sandwiches, and pizzas. Each pizza slice represents one-quarter of a whole pie, Hirsch said. He added the dough starter was imported from Greece.
“I always wanted more than a slice, but not quite two slices,” he said. ‘It is considered a New England Greek style pie. So it has sourdough flavors. And the dough starter that I have is a 21-year-old.”
The menu also offers street tacos with such filings as duck confit, Mahi Mahi and filet mignon.
The desserts are made by his wife who serves as the café’s pastry chef, Hirsch said, adding the desserts also include such items like rice pudding and Crème Brûlée.
Hirsch said in the coming weeks a new room with 50 seats will be open for catered events or for additional seating for the café when needed. Hirsch said he wants to have outdoor seating in the summer.
Hirsch said he brings passion and dedication to his work.
“I’ve been doing this since I was 13. I’m 47,” he said. “I love what I do.”
Moonlight Café and Caterers is located at 850 Route 22 in Brewster. For more information call 845-279-9000 or visit http://www.moonlightcaterers.com. The restaurant also has a Facebook page.