CLEVELAND — Amber Nichols has been a chef and the kitchen manager at Trevi Catering for about a year.
“I came in to help as a favor and kind of fell in love with the kitchen. I've always been on the front end of the catering business, restaurants and that sort of thing, but I definitely had a heart for cooking and just like the family atmosphere," Nichols said.
She said the catering club signed an agreement in 2018 with the Wickliffe Italian American Club to provide services to its banquet hall.
“I just feel like it’s a good community to be a part of,” she said.
Once the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced, she said the catering company felt the impact.
“It was very stressful, and they kind of just had to go with the flow, as did every restaurant and every catering business, because everyone felt the same thing," Nichols said.
She said this Lent, the rising cost of fish and the short supply of it pose a new challenge.
“The change is so drastic. When I first came in May, a case of butter, which is 36 pounds, was running us about $70. Currently this week, I paid $136 for the exact same case of butter. It's brutal and seeing just the slim margins of where we're at on a profit, it's just so unrealistic.”
She said the prices of fish doubled.
“We went back and forth, we tested a few things we didn't want to get a product that was not quality, so we ended up finding a fish that we knew that we could get in for the whole time, keep a good stock," she said.
She said staff are making the best out of a difficult situation as it’s hard to determine how many people will show up for the weekly feast.
“This week, we are pulling a few more aside and freezing them off the bat and if we need to, if we see that we're getting too busy, then we'll be able to pull those out and have them ready before the end of the night.”
She said she encourages people to come on out.
“Let's see normal again. I definitely think that we're serving a quality product and we just want to see every one’s faces.”
Nichols said this year’s fish fry is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Friday of Lent.
She said the hours are shorter this year due to staffing shortages.
Reservations are not required and this year’s fish fry offers dine in, carryout and curbside.
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