Brian Steiper, Atlanta Fish Market’s Private Dining Manager, is no stranger to event planning. Everyday he hosts parties large and small- from corporate lunches for some of the largest companies that call Atlanta home to intimate dinner parties where guests feel like they’re at home. We sat down with Brian to learn more about the art of planning the perfect event.
How far in advance should people start planning their event?
Usually it’s best to start as soon as you’ve picked the date. The availability of the venue is one of the key components to the whole process. When it comes to large family or business functions, it is very important to plan as early as possible, and I suggest anywhere from 6 months to a year is ideal because finding large space venues last minute could potentially be your biggest issue that arises.
What tips do you have for first time event hosts?
Ask a million questions! It’s our job to be here and make sure everything you envision can come to light! Whether you are curious about lighting and decor or you have a clear vision of the party’s flow of service and staff, make sure you ask. I really prefer when a guest is thorough so I can make sure we’re on the same page, even if their requests seem challenging! Expectations are higher in the Private Events department of a restaurant, and they should be. By asking the questions, we can make sure you know what is about to happen step by step so there is never any worry or woe.
What tips do you have for selecting the perfect event space?
Find the perfect event space by finding the space that speaks to you. When you see a space, ideas and thoughts should immediately rush to your head. I think this is the truest indicator that you have found what you are looking for. Just like an artist finding their muse, the space should be your blank canvas that you can paint with your own ideas.
What tips do you have for sticking to a budget?
Come to the table knowing what your restrictions are. Mock up a per-person cost that you can be happy with. As an event coordinator, I would prefer a client knows what they can spend because we can always work with that budget and ensure you are comfortable and can enjoy your event.
How important is it that hosts visit the potential event space?
It is crucial to visit a venue before the event. You should know the layout and every detail we provide such as the tables, chairs linens etc. This will make you better prepared for when you plan on decorating or how you’d like the floor layout to be. You can look at photos of a space all day, but there’s nothing like seeing it in person.
How do you create the perfect atmosphere?
That is the best part of my job! It is our job to awe you as a client. Attention to detail is key. Lighting and floral arrangements are two simple items that can completely transform any venue with minimal cost. Having pristine linens on the tables is another easy trick. Utensils and plates set at the perfect positions. Even the smallest detail helps to create a perfect atmosphere because by paying attention to the every little thing, will make a client/guest know that this room and this event has been created for them.
What’s the biggest mistake people make in event planning?
Not utilizing what the venue can provide. Be sure to ask what a venue includes such as specialty linen, floral arrangements and decor. Work smart not hard when it comes to planning your events. If the venue can put the flowers you were going to buy on the table for you with the tealight candles you were already planning on, why not have them do that? It’s cost effective and it helps us set the perfect atmosphere before you even arrive. Let us take the stress out of some of the little things.
How should hosts choose Décor and Entertainment?
If you are not sure, ask us! We work day in and day out with people in the entertainment and event design business. We know what works for us and what people enjoy. I’m always happy to connect clients with people I trust- ranging from musicians to magicians. That’s one of the great perks of Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, everyone in the city has at some point worked with us.
What’s the Golden Rule of Event Planning?
Let your event venue work for you to create the most astonishing evening that your guests will want to talk about, not only the next day, but until you do it all over again.
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Also known as “European Flats”, the famed Belon is our favorite oyster this time of year. Atlanta Fish Market is one of the only restaurants in Atlanta serving this hard-to-find gem, so we often hear the question “what’s so special about belon oysters?”
Well for starters, these oysters are essentially a species unto their own in the oyster world. In fact, their shells are impossibly round and more closely resemble a large scallop than a common oyster. As the nickname might suggest, these oysters are “flat”- so flat in fact that many of these oysters cannot close their shells after being removed from the water and must be banded (notice the red rubber bands above) and packed upside down to stop the shells from draining.
“Belon” is actually the name of a river in Brittany, France that’s said to cultivate the finest oysters in Europe. In fact, the species wasn’t introduced to the United States until the 1950s, but it flourished in the chilly waters of Maine and 70 years of cultivation has resulted in an oyster that’s incredibly unique in that it has none of the briny, salty flavors commonly associated gulf-raised bivalves. Instead, they’re known for their strong mineral, metallic, and sometimes even hazelnut flavors that many find polarizing. When it comes to Belons there’s one thing we can agree on one thing- this is an oyster that will leave few without opinion.
Perhaps the most anticipated seasonal seafood, Stone Crabs have officially arrived in our kitchens! Praised for their sweet taste and delicate texture, these delicacies are only fished October 15th- May 15th. Our stone crabs are responsibly fished and only sourced from Key West where the warm waters result in exceptionally sweet claws. Our stone crabs are delivered daily and served over ice with our famous secret sauce. You can enjoy stone crabs in our Atlanta restaurants at Atlanta Fish Market & Chops, and our South Florida restaurants at City Fish Market, Chops Lobster Bar, and Lobster Bar Sea Grille.
Our Chefs love cooking with this sough-after ingredient. Few seasons are as highly anticipated as Nantucket Bay Scallop season. Chefs and seafood enthusiasts alike look forward to their arrival and we’re excited that we now have scallops arriving daily from Nantucket.