By Sue Baldani
Forest Lodge’s lush 50-acre property in Warren has always been an amazing place to hold parties all year round, but now it’s better than ever. Owners Charles and Maria Alberto, along with their son, Charlie Alberto IV, ensure that every event receives personalized care and attention.
“We set it up from the initial meeting all the way to the final appointment and then, on the day of the event, we’re here,” says Charlie, who has been the general manager for the past two years. “I think it makes the clients feel comfortable to have us present.”
From small, casual birthday parties, picnics and corporate events to large, elegant weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs, Forest Lodge provides the perfect venue. Guests can choose one of its three modern outdoor pavilions, the sophisticated indoor Sherwood Chalet banquet hall, and/or various Groves with pools, sports courts and rides. Its new Maple Grove Pavilion was erected during COVID as a safe place to hold events.
“We set up a 40×60 paver area and invested in a beautiful, white sailcloth tent, and added firepits and gazebos” he says. “It has a unique and elegant outdoor look.
Since the tent was such a popular addition, they set up another one in their Apple Grove Pavilion as a temporary addition for proms and other large (400+) parties. “We always had schools reaching out to us for graduations and field days, but when our new director of catering, Anthony Panchery, contacted them about proms, it spiraled into something really beautiful for the kids,” says Charlie. They also installed touchless fixtures in restrooms and at work stations to keep guests and employees safe.
The changes they’ve made didn’t end there. They revamped their entire website and regularly post information and updates on social media. “It’s been great because that’s where we get in touch with a lot of our customers and where many of our inquiries now come from,” he says. “People can now look at our menus online, gain more information through our digital brochures, scan QR codes to join us and post on Instagram!”
They’ve also brought in some new and creative team members and vendors, and have added to their list of food truck offerings. “All of our catering is done in house, but people love that they can get fried Oreos or Cuban sandwiches from award-winning food trucks.”
Charlie feels his prior work in film production has given him the skills to handle the logistics of coordinating over 300 parties and events each year and ensuring that they all run smoothly. He grew up working at the Lodge as well, which gives him a great understanding of what its guests expect.
He’s also excited about Forest Lodge being able to hold Oktoberfest once again this fall, where people can enjoy brats, spaetzle, music, and everything German. He also hopes to offer some additional public days as well featuring live bands and other enjoyable entertainment.
For more information, go to www.forestlodgecatering.com/ and/or check out its Facebook page.
Written for The Showcase Magazine in New Jersey.