There’s no shortage of caterers in Savannah — everyone knows the Hostess City loves a good party with great food. For Brandon Mell and Bryan Gray of B Local Catering, Best of Savannah winner for Best Catering and runner-up for Best Food Truck, the hallmark of a great caterer is flexibility — a trait that has been paramount in B Local’s success throughout the pandemic.
B Local’s roots run deep in Savannah. Co-owner Brandon Mell was in line to become the fourth generation to operate Russo’s Seafood Restaurant and Seafood Market, which opened in 1946. But he had a different vision. What if he took the local, Lowcountry seafood people loved at Russo’s and brought it to them — in their homes, at their offices and at their parties? In 2010, Mell and Gray started small, working mostly with salespeople to offer Lowcountry boils and oyster roasts as lunch-and-learn fare. By 2014, the business was its own entity, separate from Russo’s.
Since then, B Local has drastically increased its capacity while retaining its flexibility, allowing Mell and Gray to offer everything from a six-course meal for a couple’s date night to feeding 3,000 people at a corporate party.
On local food and flavor:
For us, community, friends and family are everything. Our name says it all. We are committed to using as many local suppliers, vendors and farmers as possible. We’re in a coastal town as well, which inspires our menus for the most part. To spotlight our incredible local ingredients, we build flavors that allow the food to speak for itself. Practically, that pretty much means not over-saucing so you can actually taste the food.
On the food truck:
The greatest thing to come out of the pandemic for us is the addition of our food truck in July 2020. It allows us to be more accessible and offer more options. We’re still serving lunch and dinner out of it at our building at Tyson’s Corner (1000 Eisenhower Drive) on Thursdays and Fridays. On Saturdays, we take it out to Long Point on Whitemarsh Island. It also allows us to go out and work on days we don’t have any catering jobs lined up.
On culinary surprises:
Lowcountry boils are obviously a staple for us, but what makes ours different is we peel and devein jumbo local white shrimp, which makes it much easier to eat and enjoy. One misconception about us is that we only do seafood, but some of our customers’ favorites are herb-crusted beef tenderloin, smoked meatloaf and lobster rolls. We also make an incredible macaroni and cheese with four different cheeses and penne noodles. It’s great to surprise people with the range of what we can do and to exceed their expectations.
On catering your next event:
Catering isn’t just for weddings or huge gatherings. We do office events, out-of-state functions and neighborhood gatherings. We love to bring the food truck to offices for a nice twist on the typical employee appreciation lunch. This past Fourth of July, we were invited to the fireworks show at The Landings. There were close to 4,000 attendees in a three-hour span. We truly will not shy away from any event — we’ll work together to make it happen.
On what’s in the works:
We’re about to expand our business to include an upscale yet homey tasting room. This will allow us to elevate our productivity and scale of events, especially on the wedding scene; it also has room for cooking classes! Eventually, our dream is to create a one-stop shop for catering and event rentals.