Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering and Events
If you’ve been to Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Bill’s Bash gala or opening night parties, you’ve tasted their scrumptious bites and experienced their excellent service. They’re in the lobby at ACT and here, in the Cornish Playhouse, selling treats and tending the bar. And recently, if you’ve been to Benaroya Hall, you may have grabbed a pre-concert meal at Muse or a snack at Davids & Co. How did Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering and Events become Seattle’s caterer to the arts? It turns out to be something that came about organically, much like the growth of the business that David Haggerty and David Meckstroth started over 25 years ago.
At the time, both were waiting tables at Triples restaurant on Lake Union. Haggerty needed help with his infant son, Reed, during a catering gig and asked Meckstroth to watch him. “Reed is in the back seat of the car just crying hysterically, and David’s trying to comfort him,” said Haggerty. So they switch roles with Meckstroth setting up for the job. “But then the client was so great about it, and then it ended up that she took Reed while David and I set the whole thing up.” The event went off without a hitch, and a few weeks later they talked about catering together. “The conversation was, ‘Well . . . what do ya think?’ and I replied, ‘Well…do we have to bring Reed all the time?’” Meckstroth laughs which leads to Haggerty laughing
It turns out that laughter has been the bedrock of their partnership — and that little question “Well…what do you think?” has been the business compass for Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes. Haggerty and Meckstroth discovered through trial and error how they balance each others’ strengths. “I think the best thing I can says is that it starts with a lot of trust,” said Meckstroth. There’s a great friendship component that we’ve been very lucky to have not lost over the years. We can still laugh together. You know, I can close the door, and I can laugh with this guy easier than anybody I know.”
And behind that closed door has also been where the springboard question “What do you think?” is asked. That question has led to running a deli, expanding the catering business, purchasing the Hall at Fauntleroy as an event venue, new catering partners, and a new venue to accommodate their expanding operations. “Watch what happens when you find a space that you can grow into,” said Haggerty. “Because all of a sudden…you’ll grow.”
And grow they have. Their connection to the arts started small but, with a core value of great food and amazing service, reputation brought them new opportunities. “We really try to instill a guest-first attitude and team approach for all of our staff,” said Haggerty. “The only way the company is going to continue to grow is if everyone is carrying those guiding principles to help them make decisions.”
If you haven’t yet had the Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes experience, there’s no better opportunity than now. Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes handles the concession sales in the lobby for the Cornish Playhouse, so grab a beverage and bite to eat and keep them in mind if you have an event on your horizon.