Reserve a Spot at Annual Beefsteak Dinner at St. Francis

By JULIET KASZAS-HOCH | May 01, 2019

Brant Beach — Reserve a place at St. Francis’ 3rd Annual Beefsteak Dinner – on Friday, May 31, in Brant Beach – to be certain not to miss out on all-you-can-eat slow-roasted filet mignon and more from Nightingale Catering of Clifton. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. the night of the event, and dinner will be served at 6 p.m.

The filet mignon will be accompanied by salad, French fries and dessert, as well as beverages such as soda, water, coffee and tea.

Adult ticket price is $35. Tickets for children ages 5 through 14 are $16, and children younger than age 5 eat for free.

Tickets are on sale at the front desk of the St. Francis Community Center in Brant Beach. Or purchase tickets through the mail by sending a check, payable to St. Francis Parish, and a self-addressed and stamped envelope, to St. Francis Parish, 4700 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach Township, N.J. 08008 (Attn: Beefsteak Dinner). These requests must be received by May 26.

As writer Paul Lukas explained in a 2008 New York Times article about the tradition of beefsteak dinners, “In 1938 … a Clifton butcher and grocer named Garret Nightingale, known as Hap, began catering parties with a set formula.

“He grilled tenderloins (the muscle used for filet mignon) over charcoal, sliced them, dipped the slices in melted butter, served them on slices of white sandwich bread, added French fries on the side, and let everyone eat as much as they wanted. This he called a beefsteak. Within a decade, it had become an entrenched local phenomenon,” Lukas wrote.

“The second- and third-generation Nightingales continue to run the operation today out of an unassuming Clifton house where Bob Nightingale was raised and still lives,” grilling the tenderloins over hardwood charcoal in the driveway.

According to the article, “The Nightingales have made only a few changes since the early days: They now dip the meat slices in margarine instead of butter (‘Butter can burn more easily,’ Rob Nightingale explained). The sandwich bread has been replaced by Italian bread (it holds up better to the drippings, although some attendees complain that it’s harder to stack). Relish trays have been replaced with bowls of tossed salad, and the French fries, which were once cooked in rendered fat trimmings from the tenderloins, are now fried in vegetable oil. Otherwise, the Nightingales pretty much stick to the script established by their founder.”

The event at St. Francis will include a silent auction, 50/50 and cork draw. And, those who donate a food or hygiene item to the St. Francis Food Pantry will be entered to win a prize.

For more information, call 609-494-8861 or visit  —J.K.-H.

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