10 Easy Rules for the Ultimate Summer Party
Follow these hassle-free tips to impress your guests—and you might even enjoy yourself, too.
By: Adam Erace, James Gaddy, Nojan Aminosharei, and Bret Begun, Photographs by Jeremy Liebman
HAVE IT DELIVERED
Since when did throwing a party imply that you had to do everything yourself? Sometimes, being a good, attentive host means not worrying about optimal paprika placement on your deviled eggs. This summer, outsource your operation to professionals who will make your life easier, whether you’re hosting a cochon de lait in the Carolinas or a clambake at your house in the Hamptons.
Pick a plot of sand and Long Island Chowda Co. (pictured, above) does the rest: personalized lobster bibs, cauldrons of chowder, grilled skirt steaks, and local fruit pies. Then there’s the clambake.
Starting at $5,995 for 60 people; lichowda.com
Douglas Coffin’s Big Green Truck Pizza will park at your Connecticut doorstep in a 1940s International Harvester KB-5 with a 750-degree wood-fired oven inside. The pies come with salad, gelato, and coffee.
Starting at $1,200; biggreentruckpizza.com
Seven options—like chili-garlic-marinated chicken—fill the soft tacos at Peached Tortilla, an Austin food truck. Owner Eric Silverstein will build a custom menu with kimchi arancini and bacon-jam fried rice.
Starting at $800 for 35 people; thepeachedtortilla.com
Poi Dog’s Hawaiian feasts include bigeye poke, kalua pork, coconut mochi—and a hula lesson, if you want to fly in co-owner Kiki Aranita’s aunt from Oahu.
$200 per person ($3,000 for airfare); poidogphilly.com
Panzanella salad with heirloom tomatoes, anyone? When fashion-industry favorite Poppy’s does a picnic, the menu echoes Brooklyn’s best restaurants.
Starting at $1,000 for a group of 20; poppyscatering.com
Pastrami sandwiches and chocolate babka are just two of the options when San Francisco’s Wise Sons Deli comes over for brunch.
Starting at $35 per person; wisesonsdeli.com
Jim ‘N Nick’s, a small chain of barbecue joints across the South, will roll over in one of its “BBQ rigs”—mobile smoker, ready-to-roast hog, and sides in tow.
$30 per person; jimnnicks.com
In-N-Out will bring those double-double Animal Styles to you (if you live in L.A. or Dallas–Fort Worth) in a “cookout trailer.”
Starting at $1,400; in-n-out.com
MAIL-ORDER—IF YOU MUST MAN THE GRILL
Don’t want to leave it to the pros? These high-end purveyors ship nationwide. LaFrieda Meats’ sampler ($99) includes one 2-inch-thick, 32-ounce prime bone-in rib steak for two, four 6-ounce Original Blend Burger patties, one and a half pounds of Grandpa’s Sweet Italian Sausage, and one pound of Pat LaFrieda Hot Dogs. If you’re more surf than turf, try the XL Alaska Seafood Feast ($330) from Captain Jack’s Seafood Locker, which delivers a sustainably harvested trove of sockeye salmon, halibut, scallops, and red-king-crab legs.
INVOLVE EVERYONE EARLY ON
"I love starting with oysters and bubbles," says Ignacio Mattos, co-owner/chef of New York City’s hot downtown restaurant Estela. And yes, let your guests do the shucking: "It helps if someone is around and they’re good at it. Everyone feels like they’re participating." He recommends Island Creek oysters (with variations on a mignonette, like one made with Meyer lemons) and three options for bubbly: German Gilabert Cava Brut Nature Reserva, Alexandre Monmousseau Vouvray "Ammonite," and J. Lassalle Préférence Brut champagne.