CJ’s Evergreen General Store finds its catering side

When Cynthia Jeffries decided to offer a catering service at her Bremerton store, she simply placed a “We Cater” sign in the window.

Park Avenue eatery cooking up a variety of gourmet dishes.

When Cynthia Jeffries decided to offer a catering service at her Bremerton store, she simply placed a “We Cater” sign in the window.

“And we got a wedding out of that,” she said.

Jeffries, owner of CJ’s Evergreen General Store, teamed up with chef Richard Kost a few months ago to start CJ’s Evergreen Catering.

“We’d been hemming and hawing about it for a while and, in July, we just went for it,” Kost said.

CJ’s Evergreen General Store has been open almost three years. Jeffries and store employees barbecue at local farmers markets and decided catering was the next logical step.

Although it’s only been around a few months, the business has catered quite a few functions, including corporate events, organizations’ meetings, art gallery openings and anniversary dinners.

“We also have a commercial barbecue we can take on site too,” Jeffries said.

With more than 20 years of gourmet culinary experience, Kost can cook up just about anything. CJ’s Evergreen Catering can prepare food for any occasion or theme, including Northwestern, all-American, Asian fusion and Southwestern dishes.

Kost uses fresh, locally grown products when he can to create dishes. If he and Jeffries cannot buy products in Kitsap County, they still try to buy them in Washington state or the Pacific Northwest.

“We’re kind of hyper-local,” Kost said. “It’s Northwest cooking.”

Special diet meals are not a problem for CJ’s Evergreen Catering.

“We can handle diabetics, vegans, whatever,” Kost said.

The catering business will cater large and small events, ranging from two to 250 people.

Both Jeffries and Kost said the catering business is reasonably priced and they are always willing to work with clients to create meals best suited for their budgets.

“If they say they don’t have much money, they’re not going to get lobster,” Kost said.

Dinners to go are a viable option for people who do not have the time or skills to cook up a gourmet meal. The meals come fresh, frozen or made-to-order and range from meatloaf to lasagna to chicken wings.

“You get heating instructions, the whole bit. It’s a good deal,” Kost said.

CJ’s Evergreen Catering also bakes up homemade pies. Apple, peach, strawberry rhubarb, mixed berry and pumpkin are the varieties offered at the business.

“Everything is done in house from scratch,” Jeffries said. “We do breads, pies, we’ve done a wedding cake, muffins, cookies.”

Jeffries and Kost encourage people to make catering arrangements as soon as possible.

“We’re already talking to one couple about a wedding for next year, so it’s always good to plan ahead,” Kost said.

For more information about CJ’s Evergreen Catering, call (360) 479-2708 or stop by CJ’s Evergreen General Store at 1417 Park Ave., across from Evergreen Park.