NYC caterer with Sahlen’s ties enjoys big-game TV turn

Bimmy's and Sahlen's

New York City and neighboring New Jersey played host to the National Football League’s championship game on Feb. 3 — one of the few events super enough to grab the full attention of the city that never sleeps.

“The town was rocking,” noted Elliott Fread, owner and founder of the New York largest catering service, BIMMY’s Food Made With Love. “Everyone was in a good mood, everyone was happy. It was great to see New York like that. Proud people, happy people — what more can you ask for?”

Fread — who uses Sahlen’s Smokehouse Ham in his sandwiches and wraps — had the opportunity to star in a pair of segments on the WPIX 11 game day coverage. Fread offered last-minute tips for fast-and-easy party fare with the television audience, and even shared a few laughs with rapper French Montana and singer / actress Adrienne Bailon.

“I loved it. It must be in my blood,” said Fread, whose grandfather — Hans Fread, a well-known Toronto chef and restaurateur in the mid-20th century — hosted a show called Hans in the Kitchen for CBC Television in the 1950s. “A few years ago, I did a taping for one of Bobby Flay’s show, and the camera crew was joking with me — they’re like, you’re gonna have your own show someday. I don’t know why, I’m not bashful in front of the camera. It’s fun.”

Fread launched BIMMY’s as an East Village hand-rolled sandwich shop in 1994 — perhaps the first store in New York to fully embrace the concept of sandwich wraps. Through hard work, savvy marketing, and full adherence to his father’s lesson never to say no to opportunity, he built his small cafe into one of Gotham’s best-known catering services.

“We first started (the catering business) with the hand-rolled sandwiches, and a month or so later, people asked us, ‘Wow, these are great — do you guys make regular sandwiches, too?’ Hey, of course I do,” Fread laughed. “So I stayed up all night, called bakeries, did the pricing, and people loved them. Then, a month or two later, people asked us, ‘Hey, do you guys do salads?’ I thought, OK we have to get ahead of the curve now…

“We simply started to ask our customers what else they would want from us, and we grew from there. That’s how we developed into BIMMY’s Food Made With Love, because we went way beyond the original concept of the rolled sandwich.”

Fread is adamant about providing a fresh product for his customers — BIMMY’s eschews modified atmosphere packaging and has a strict two-day shelf life for its food. His demand for excellence made the partnership with Sahlen’s a comfortable fit.

“I was looking around for quality products,” Fread noted, “and their name came up. They’re a family business, and local to New York — I try to support that as much as I can. And when I met (Sahlen’s CEO) Joe (Sahlen), we hit it off.”

With the big game out of the way, what does Fread have planned for BIMMY’s Food Made With Love in 2014?

“More of the same,” he said. “I’m fortunate, because I love what I do. We’ll keep making a quality product, and we’ll make sure we are on the same page as our customers. We’ll work to stay on top of food trends, and work to expand our offerings.”

For more information on BIMMY’s Food Made With Love, visit the catering service online today.

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