East End wedding caterers setting up in Southold storefront

Grace & Grit owners Stephanie Coleman and Jennilee Morris outside their future tasting room Friday. (Credit: Michael White)

Grace & Grit owners Stephanie Coleman and Jennilee Morris outside their future tasting room Friday. (Credit: Michael White)

They’ll be taking a shuttered plumbing supply store and turning into something a bit more, shall we say, romantic.

Stephanie Coleman and Jennilee Morris, the partners behind the Grace & Grit catering company founded in 2012, have inked a deal to lease the storefront that last housed the Southold Plumbing & Heating company at 55750 Main Road, which closed last year.

In the coming months, they’ll be looking to spruce up the building and add a commercial kitchen with room enough in the storefront to seat six people for food tastings.

That’s when couples looking to get married on the North Fork or elsewhere on the East End pick out their Grace & Grit dinner menu for the big day.

“It’s really the most intimate time we have with our couples,” Morris said of the tastings, which they’ve been hosting in a small space across Main Road at North Fork Roasting Co., which Morris co-owns. “It’s a time where we can sit down with them and talk about the whole vision over food. It’s probably one of the most enjoyable parts for them. Instead of having all these decisions that need to be made, they can just go have dinner. It’s like their own little party.”

Even while relying mostly on word of mouth, the partners said Grace and Grit has grown to the point where they’re turning down weddings.

“We just need to expand our operation,” Coleman said. “We need a bigger kitchen and we want to transition the building into a commissary.”

The caterers have used several different kitchens over the past four years to prepare food. They also operate a food truck and rent cooking and refrigeration units for on-site catering.

“And then it’s restaurant-style service at the event,” Coleman said.

What the business partners are especially proud of, and what makes a catering experience with them different than many others, is that they offer fully customized menus. They have some go-to options that most couples love, but they’ll make anything that’s requested.

“It’s the best for me,” said Morris, who does the cooking and typically won’t meet a couple until the tasting. “It all goes from paper to food right in front of them.”

Morris and Coleman, who employ about 30 people during the warmer months, are hoping to have the storefront open and operating sometime this summer.

“There’s a bunch of cosmetic work but we’re not changing the footprint,” Coleman said. “We had been looking for a building for about a year now. And Jennilee’s across the street [at the coffee shop] and one day she called and said, ‘You know that building across the street is vacant?”