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Eat, Drink And Be Married

I hope that in 75 years, when I’m a raisin, I am still giddy to wake up next to you.

With those words, and pages more like them, our youngest child married his high school sweetheart. For him, there had never been anyone but her. Ever. We believe he knew it during those first years in high school theatre class, that he was just waiting for her to realize it, too. But he’s a private young man, so we’ll never know for sure.

Their wedding happened on a beautiful, fall day on the grounds of Weeden House downtown. Vintage wedding dress, Victorian-style flower decorations on the arbor, family-table dining with everyone sitting together in the back yard. Everything could not have been more perfect for this day, and that was wholly due to efforts of the bride and her family.

As parents of the groom, we only had one main job—host the rehearsal dinner. For 50 people.

Because he is our last one—and because he was marrying his one and only— we wanted someplace truly special, something intimate and cozy, a local place with delicious food that would surely impress all of our out-of-town guests.

We wanted Cyn Shea’s Café and Catering.

I Take Cyn Shea’s To Be My Caterer

I’ve been to Cyn Shea’s a number times, for breakfast and for lunch—and more often than I’d care to admit, for both in the same day—so I already knew the food was fantastic. And I knew the prices were reasonable­, which is certainly something to consider when you’re feeding 50 people. It’s also fairly close to Weeden House and the hotel we had chosen for our out-of-town guests. But I wanted to be sure, so I brought my friend Stephane, the bride’s mother, to come have lunch with me and see what she thought.

She came; we stuffed ourselves; we discussed and agreed Cyn Shea’s would be perfect.

That afternoon, I checked out their website and scrolled through the photos. It was overwhelming. So many choices! How would I ever narrow it down to a reasonable number of food items when they all looked amazingly delicious? I called and made an appointment with the catering manager, Ana Siersma.

For Richer, For Poorer

My requirements for the rehearsal dinner were sketchy at best: Feed 50 people. Can’t have a lot of pork. Here’s my budget.

Ana didn’t bat an eye. She wrote what little I had to say down and said she’d email me some information. And boy, did she! It was all in my inbox by the time I got home. How in the world can one kitchen possibly prepare that many dishes? The variety was amazing, and all of it presented so beautifully in the photographs. We narrowed our choices down to about, oh, 50 things. I knew I needed more guidance, so I made another appointment.

This time, I met with Ms. Cynthia Hart herself. She owns Cyn Shea’s and has years and years of experience. She took one look at my panicked face as I stood there with all of the emails and menu choices fanned out like the hugest deck of playing cards, walked me over to a table and said, “Come, sit here with me. Let’s see what we can figure out.” Her calm, yet confident, voice had an immediate effect on me. I was definitely in good hands.

Within an hour, Cynthia helped me plan out a menu of appetizers, two main dishes, sides, drinks and three—you read that right, THREE—desserts, all within my budget. I left with a decidedly powerful sense of accomplishment.

For Better, For Worse

I worried a little bit about what would happen if the rehearsal ran a little long. What would our guests do if they arrived, and we aren’t there yet? But it was wasted worrying. Yes, our sweet bride had clear instructions for all of us, and yes, the groom’s parents were a little slow in understanding. The rehearsal did run a little long, and we did arrive a little late. But Cynthia had everything under control. Our out-of-town guests were already there, sitting at beautifully decorated tables with drinks in hand. Both fireplaces were crackling in the background, and soft music filled the room.

At our arrival, servers began circulating among the guests, carrying trays filled with the appetizers we had chosen. Cynthia was there, in the background, quietly making everything happen, and soon the buffet tables were filled with the most unbelievably aromatic dishes. I didn’t have to do a thing but enjoy our guests.

We had booked Cyn Shea’s for a three-hour period, and it seriously flew by. All too soon, it was time to leave and get ready for the next day—the REAL day. Cynthia and her staff packed up the leftovers and sent them home with us so we could continue feeding the masses throughout the weekend. I don’t have to tell you how wonderful the inside of my car smelled…for days.

Our job, as parents of the groom, was done.

The next morning, we sat in the front row, on the groom’s side of the yard, holding back tears as our son, Bryan Joseph Pallotta began his vows, “Hannah Lauren Stegen, I am madly in love with you.”

If we had any more children to marry off, there is no doubt we’d be right back at Cyn Shea’s Café and Catering. Cynthia Hart and her staff gave us exactly what we wanted. Exactly.

About the author

Laurie Pallotta

Laurie is the Community Journal’s managing editor, but more importantly, she is the wife of a retired Army officer, mother to three grown children and Nana to her precious grandsons. The oldest of nine children, she enjoys the happy chatter of many people but does enjoy alone time—for about eleven and a half seconds.

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