‘Party By Numbers’: Six Enlightening Tips For Stylish, Almost-Post-Pandemic Entertaining
It’s a truly wonderful thing, obviously, that the success of the COVID vaccination program has allowed that cities and towns all over America are “opening up” again, and that restaurants and bars can at last get back to the business of helping to organize our social lives. Of course, as opposed to the predictions of a new Roaring ’20s, it’s likely that many will go cautiously back to pre-pandemic habits, especially where it concerns sitting shoulder to shoulder over a few rounds of martinis, or getting sweaty on a crowded dancefloor.
So the timing is surely spot on for the launch of a rather clever new venture known as Party by Numbers, the brainchild of Nicky Balestrieri and Luigi Tadini of high-profile events company The Gathery, in partnership with Bob Spiegel and TJ Girard, of haute caterers Pinch Food Design. The concept? They will deliver a very stylish cart to your home with everything you need for the most fabulous dinner party you could have ever imagined having…and now want to have more than ever.
With travel inspired design themes like Condesa (Mexico City), Sorrento (Italy), and L’artiste, the latter which channels the French coast through the aesthetic of Henri Matisse, PxN brings together pre-mixed cocktails, the table service, flowers, and delicious fare such as mushroom pate en croute, salmon ceviche, bouillabaisse with shrimp and calamari, and lemon orzo. They even supply the soundtrack, usually one of the bigger stresses of entertaining discerning guests. In the overall, it’s an idea whose time has surely come.
The service is currently available in New York City, but plans are to launch in Miami and Los Angeles sooner than later. In the meantime, we engaged the forward-thinking quartet for a bit more enlightenment on PxN – and they were also kind enough to share six tips for throwing the perfect almost-post-pandemic dinner party.
How did you conceive the idea for Party by Numbers?
Nicky Balestri: Party by Numbers was started partly in response to the pandemic. As designers and caterers, we have the expertise and know-how to create the biggest and most elaborate events on the planet, and have done so with our agency The Gathery and our partners at Pinch Food Design. But when I was tasked with throwing my partner Luigi’s birthday party last April during lockdown for our pod in my apartment, I looked into the experience marketplace and found it lacking. I found plenty of party rental companies, décor kit companies, and prepared food box companies. Some were stylish, and some were not. Some required expertise, and some were easy to use. But nowhere existed a product that delivered a whole event, complete with food and beverage, décor, and flair. We realized then and there that it was time to reimagine entertaining.
Luigi Tadini: We wanted good design to be accessible to all, scalable for any size gathering and for any occasion. Our brand name makes play of “paint by numbers” – another famous construct where making art has been made simple for everyone. Now, we’ve made parties as simple as 1-2-3-4.
How would you describe PxN’s stylistic point of view?
TJ Girard: The core of the product – the cart, and our inventions – are all designed with a neutral palette in order to chameleon-like fit into the vast aesthetics and destinations our collection offers.
LT: When it comes to our “looks,” our name also extends to the makers, artisans and artists we love to work with and feature as product collaborators. Many of the items within each destination-inspired collection are sourced from that destination.
What are some of the highlights of your offerings?
Bob Spiegel: There are so many favorite details inside the cart – it’s like a cabinet of curiosities. Some of our favorites are: the handmade ceramic cocktail plate which was designed to fit snug on the cocktail glass so guests can move about the party and eat easily; the dessert box which opens up to reveal a tiered dessert tray and sparkler candle; and the built-in ice compartment that keeps 20lb bags of draft ice cold for 24 hours. But perhaps most interesting is that you get to offer actual trays of hors d’oeuvres to guests…something that no host makes for themselves, and is one of our many superpowers.
Do you feel as though PxN can affect real change with the way people entertain at home?
NB: We see this as more than just an at-home entertaining solution. Our customer is a host – the at-home entertainer, the event enthusiast, the company party planner and the venue operator. It’s as much a fun Friday night with friends as it’s the solution for small scale special events like gallery openings, real estate showcases, small weddings, and trunk shows, because it’s a stylish, comprehensive, time-saving and affordable way to entertain.
Party by Numbers’ Six Tips For Post-Pandemic Entertaining
“Set your comfort rules. I like to send a group email with all guests on CC before the party so everyone can see who’s invited, and let them decide on whether they are comfortable attending. Everyone’s comfort level is different and hosts should be clear their party is a judgement free zone.” – Nicky Balestrieri
“It’s okay to ask for their stats. Hosts should always ask their guests to identify themselves as vaccinated, or ask them for recent negative results if they’re not.” – Luigi Tadini
“Keep it small. We learned the joys of entertaining at home during the pandemic, so throw parties on a scale where you can actually talk to your guests. Dinner for 8, cocktails for 16 and so forth.” -Nicky Balestrieri
“Embrace food – Start by planning what you want to serve, and then build the bells and whistles around that. Flavors are so transportive, so we love being inspired by destinations.” – Bob Spiegel
“Keep it al fresco. Enjoy the outdoors if you can, be that a backyard or a rooftop to allow for guests’ peace of mind.” – TJ Girard
“Pre-batch your cocktails so all you have to do is pour over ice and garnish – it saves you from being stuck behind the bar all party, and from guests putting their hands all over everything.” – TJ Girard