RIVERVIEW: Palate-pleasing cuisine

Published on: June 14, 2018

Palate-pleasing cuisine and top-notch catering

is a family affair at Livy O’s

By YVETTE C. HAMMETT

Lennise Germany doesn’t limit her palate or her food offerings to customers. You want shrimp and grits? She’ll make it. Hankering for homemade chicken pot pie? She’s got it. Creole cuisine? It’s her favorite.

Livy O’s Catering, which recently won 2018 Business of the Year with the Greater Brandon Chamber, started out a couple of years ago as a food delivery business and has flourished into a catering company. Co-owner Lennise Germany said she devised her recipes based on great dishes at her favorite restaurants.

Germany calls her cooking “cuisine inspired by passion and purpose.” And Livy O’s has taken off with a solid client base, growing her catering business and bringing increased awareness to The Studio, a 75-seat joint she and her husband Omar Germany recently opened at 905 E. Brandon Blvd.

Lennise started on a whirlwind path to a successful catering business out of need, not desire. But once she established Livy O’s and began cooking every Friday, she realized, she said, she had found a true passion.

After some disappointments in the corporate world, the mother of four needed work, so she began making food and delivering it to local businesses. About 18 months in, Tampa Electric Co. ordered her fare for lunch, then called back and booked a full-blown catering gig. “I had to go home and create a catering menu,” she recalled.

Fast forward to today and she and Omar serve lunch at The Studio each Friday and cocktails and dinner one Friday a month under the catering name she uses to honor their kids — 8-year-old Livy, her 6-year-old twins Obree and Olena and her 10-year-old son Omar.

 “The first Friday, we had six people. The next month, we had 45,” Lennise said.

This year, Livy O’s won 2018 Business of the Year from the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce.

There are many reasons for that.

Planning a morning business meeting? How about adding buttermilk chicken and waffles, ham, egg and cheese minis and assorted breakfast wraps? Livy O’s also offers a southwestern breakfast casserole and sausage and biscuits. Sides of fresh fruit, southern cheese grits, home fries and baked-egg muffins are also available.

Cater a cocktail party with jalapeño and lime shrimp ceviche, antipasto skewers, stuffed cucumber and salmon and assorted pinwheels. Livy O’s can also prepare seafood deviled eggs, shrimp and mango salsa, and fresh fruit and cheese platters.

Her entrée selections include three-meat baked ziti, NOLA jambalaya, shrimp and grits, homemade chicken pot pie and dozens of other choices, like rosemary roasted barbecue ribs or chicken Marsala with mushroom sauce.

The desserts, oh the desserts! There’s chocolate and strawberry layer cake, lemon pound cake, banana pudding cake, peach cobbler and even bananas Foster.

“I am very diverse when it comes to my palate, Mexican, Asian, Creole, southern comfort. I wanted to be very diverse with our menu. I wanted to not be put in a box,” Lennise said.

The Studio hosts a comfort food gathering where diners eat family style the second and fourth Sundays of each month.

“I researched all my favorite restaurants, then made up my own recipes. I didn’t realize how much I loved cooking till I started doing it every Friday. It brought back memories with my grandmother and my mom. The recipes just came to me.”

Livy O’s hosts a happy hour at The Studio the first Friday of each month and lunch every Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There’s a different menu each week. She also offers cooking sessions, romantic dinners, pampered girls’ nights and corporate catering.

Among the events The Studio has hosted recently are: A comfort food gathering where diners eat family style the second and fourth Sunday of each month, priced at $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids; Meet and Greet and Eat with The Germany Family, which included live cooking and a three-course family meal.

To learn more, or to book an event, visit www.livyos.com.

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