When Karen Shelton was asked to cater her first event, she was a freelance writer with no real experience in catering.
"I have no idea why she asked me to do it," Shelton laughs, "but I had a friend who wanted me to cater what was supposed to be a small party, about 50 people. It ended up being 150 people, and people were asking me for my business card. I was writing information on the back of my freelance card."
That was over six years ago, and ever since, she has foregone her writing career in favor of catering full-time. In 2011, her business, Simply Done Catering and Cupcakes, moved into its own brick and mortar location at the old Presbyterian church in Collierville.
"The old church is a great venue," she says. "I have people come in and see the space and say, 'Okay, what kind of party can I have?' and decide to have an event just because it's a really pretty space."
Since moving in, Shelton has expanded her business to include a storefront for her cupcakes and recently added take-out casseroles to the menu.
"We decided we needed something that would get people in on a daily basis and have money coming in when there wasn't a party going on," she says.
Shelton prides herself on creating unique flavors for her cupcakes. Her sweet tea cupcake is made with sweet tea-flavored cake, a lemon curd filling, and a lemon whipped frosting; her s'mores cupcake comes with marshmallows baked inside; her mimosa cupcake is made with champagne cake filled with orange marmalade cream and topped with orange cream cheese frosting. We would go on, but the entire menu, with descriptions, is available online.
Simply Done features six different flavors of cupcakes each week (the weekly menu is posted on the Facebook page and the entire list of offerings is on the website), but any flavor can be specially ordered. The cupcake shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursday.
As for the casseroles, Shelton says she added them to her repertoire about eight months ago, when customers would come in looking for food they could take home right away. Shelton says she will even have customers bring in their own casserole dishes for her to bake in — so none of their guests will be the wiser.
For a full catering, casserole, and cupcake menu, visit greatfoodsimplydone.com, call the store, or check out the Facebook page.
Simply Done Catering and Cupcakes, 111 Walnut, Collierville (457-7781)
City Hall Cheesecakes, which opened its first location in Hernando last year and its second location on Collierville's town square in March, began as a way for an unemployed engineer and his wife to earn some extra income.
"We've always loved cheesecake," says Dianne Bishop, who co-owns City Hall Cheesecake with her husband Ron and their daughter Melissa and son-in-law Kyle. "We mainly did it to take care of some of our bills, but it has really taken off."
The family offers around 35 flavors, including a sugar-free cake, with about 12 flavors available every day. You can order any flavor cheesecake 48 hours in advance and choose from a whole plain cheesecake for $35, a whole specialty flavor cheesecake for $45, or, our particular favorite, the variety tray with 10 slices of your choosing for $55.
The cheesecakes are never frozen, and Bishop describes their cakes as fluffier and lighter than what many people are used to. When asked about her vision for the business, Bishop says she sees them sticking to what they do best.
"We just want to get our cheesecakes like we want them and not bring anything else into the picture," she says. "We're so busy with parties and weddings, we're just going to stick to cheesecake."
City Hall Cheesecake, 2465 Highway 51 S., Hernando, MS (662-469-9117)
114 N. Main, Collierville (457-7149)