Frequently Asked Questions

Catering and Events

Q: Are any gratuities included in either my proposal or final bill?
A: Events that require service staff will incur a gratuity charge, in addition to the food cost. This will noted as a separate line item outlined in the proposal provided.

Q: Are guests allowed to bring in their own decorations?
A: Yes. All decorations must be approved by management. Any damage to any finish as a result of the decorations will have to be paid for by the guest. Guests must clean up those decorations at the end of the event.

Q: Can a host play their own music?
A: No, unless the event closes the entire restaurant.

Q: Can I bring my own cake?
A: Yes. A $1.50 plate charge per person will be assessed.

Q: Can I provide my own beverages?
A: Yes for off-premises catering, no for events in the Havana Central restaurants. Of premises, you can provide your own beverages. We charge a corking fee for alcoholic beverages: $3.00 per 750 ml bottle of wine, $ .50 per bottle of beer. Most clients find that unless they are getting a very good discount on the wine they are providing it is more reasonable and less work to get their beverages from us.

Q: Can we provide our own music?
A: We do allow outside music when the restaurant is closed for your group and, in the back “Havana” room at our Upper West Side location. At each Havana Central location, we have carefully selected Latin music that we play all day long as well as live music. Please consult our “Calendar of Events” for the live music schedule at each location.

Q: Do you do catering deliveries?
A: We can bring our great food to you, or you can choose to let our staff help in any way needed.

Q: Do you ever close the restaurant for private events?
A: Yes.

Q:
A: We offer the finest in corporate dining options for your organization’s client dinners, team dinners, and company functions. Please contact us at 212 398-7440 or via email at group sales@havanacentral.com for more information.

Q: Do you have private dining rooms?
A: We offer the finest in corporate dining options for your organization’s client dinners, team dinners, and company functions. Please contact us at 212 398-7440 or via email at group sales@havanacentral.com for more information.

Q: Do you have references?
A: Please see our feedback page to read what our catering clients have said about Havana Central events. If you feel you’d like more information, please feel free to call us.

Q: Do you offer seating in your outside patio area for private parties?
A: No, unless the host closes the entire restaurant.

Q: Do you provide a bag or coat check in?
A: We do provide every type of check-in including coat check for an additional fee. However, we cannot be responsible for any losses.

Q: Do you provide flowers or other event and entertainment services?
A: Yes. We work closely with many prominent special event planners in the area. Florists will bill directly to the client. We can also suggest a wide range of musicians and disc jockeys available in the area.

Q: Do you provide valet parking?
A: Yes. These services are contracted through independent service agencies. We are happy to coordinate these services for your event.

Q: Do you require a deposit and what type of payment is acceptable?
A: In order to reserve a space and book a party, we require a 50% deposit. Final payment can be made by company check or credit card. Final payment is due the day or night of the event. We do NOT bill parties.

Q: How are labor costs determined?
A: All service labor is billed by the hour, excluding deliveries. Kitchen labor, including lead chef and dish staff, are billed only for service hours provided. Labor cost estimates in our proposals normally include travel time between our facility and the event site.

Q: How do I get started?
A: Call Heather at (212) 398-7447, or email catering@havana.com . She can answer all your questions.

Q: How do our guests identify the party area?
A: We provide signage. When booking your party, please let the catering manager know what the signage should read.

Q: How long will you place a hold on a date?
A: Unfortunately, we cannot hold a space without a deposit.

Q: I may need a tent. Can you provide one?
A: We can arrange a tent rental for your event. Typically, rental companies for tents bill the client directly and require a deposit before installation.

Q: I’m not very confident when it comes to choosing the best wines to pair with my food selections, how can you help?
A: Our team is well-versed in matching wine to food and can recommend or select for you the best wine in your price range. Our wine prices (per bottle) are highly competitive and we offer the added advantage of charging you only for bottles opened, with no left-over, unused inventory.

Q: In the instance when a party is not “private”, how will your staff identify our guests?
A: All guests must wear some form of identification. We provide wristbands at no additional cost.

Q: Some of my guests are vegetarian. How will you accommodate them?
A: We are happy to provide vegetarian or other special menu choices, as needed, to please your guests.

Q: What beverage services do you provide?
A: Full bar services can be provided for parties large and small. However, Havana Central specializes in Mojitos, Margaritas and Sangrias. Beverage costs themselves are billed by number of bottles opened. We do charge a corking fee ($3.00 per 750 ml bottle of wine, $ .50 per bottle of beer) when we serve wine or beer supplied by the client.

Q: What can I expect to see in your proposal?
A: Our event proposals itemize cost estimates per person for food and beverage in addition to cost estimates for labor, rentals, etc. Changes in the final guest count as calculated on our proposal may affect stated cost estimates.

Q: What happens if there is a rain issue?
A: In order to get a refund on your deposit we normally require 1 week notice on cancelled events.

Q: What if our company is tax exempt?
A: To qualify as New York State Tax Exempt, you must provide us with the “NEW YORK STATE & LOCAL SALES & USE TAX, Exempt Organization Exempt Purchase Certificate” Tax Form # ST-119.1 (702). Payment must be made by company check or a company credit card. We cannot accept cash payments for tax exempt organizations.

Q: What kind of food do you cater?
A: We cater any food on our menu that you feel would fit your event needs. The Havana Central catering department has expanded our menu expertise to include Pan-Latin cuisine (Food from all areas of Central and South America as well as Spain). We also can, and have, catered food that is not on our menu, and is not typically Cuban. Basically the staff at Havana Central is available to make your event a successful one by going down any food avenue you desire.

Q: When do I need to decide on a final guest count? What happens if that number goes up or down shortly before or the day of the event?
A: We require your final minimum guest count one (1) week prior to your event. This number will be used to establish ordering quantities for food, rentals, numbers of staff, etc. After this final guaranteed minimum number is given, we will make every effort to accommodate increases to your final count made within three (3) business days of your event, but we cannot lower your final count for billing purposes after the first deadline.

Q: When do I need to reserve a date on your calendar?
A: As soon as you have a specific date in mind, contact us to reserve that date on our calendar. Some events are booked a year in advance! Normally, we need 10 days advance notice to plan an event, although some can be arranged in less time. A “save the date” deposit will hold the date in advance of our custom proposal. This deposit is non-refundable if you chose not to proceed with your event. Otherwise, it will be deducted from your final bill.

Q: Where do you cater? Can you cater at….?
A: Havana Central is a full-service catering company with its own refrigerated trucks, heating cabinets, etc. We cater to the entire New York, tri-state area. We can cater at your business, home, or banquet room, or we have a dining room available for your use.

Bar Parties

Q: Can an event be cancelled?
A: For bar parties without food the event must cancel the day before, otherwise the bartender fee is not refundable. For bar parties with food the event must cancel 48 hours in advance to receive a refund, except for weekend events when cancellation must be received the thursday before the event.

Q: How many people can one bartender serve?
A: We require one bartender for every 75 people who are attending an event.

Q: Is there seating and tables at bar parties?
A: Yes, we can provide seating and tables. Please speak with your Havana Central event manager.

Q: What if my guest count increases at the last minute?
A: We will do the best we can to bring in additional staff at the last minute. There will be an additional fee for additional staff

Dinning

Q: Is there a need to reserve a table?
A: If you are coming in with a large party we suggest you make a reservation in advance inorder to guarantee appropriate seating. In the case of smaller parties, we always suggest you make a reservation however, we always try to accommodate walk-ins at all times. Peak times are:

Monday through Friday Lunch 12:30pm to 2:30 pm

Monday through Thursday Dinner 6:00 pm to 8 pm

Friday and Saturday Dinner 6:00 pm to 10 pm

Sundays are generally easier to accommodate walk-ins.

Q: Are children welcome?
A: Always. Havana Central has a simple children’s menu and provides crayons and paper to keep the little ones occupied.

Q: Are weekend reservations on Friday or Saturday impossible to get?
A: Obviously the weekends are our hottest commodity each week and usually fill up first. If you are looking to join us on a Friday or Saturday, we recommend you contact us the week prior, so that we may be able to accommodate you.

Q: Are you serving during the holidays?
A: Havana Central is open every day of the year accept for Christmas Day, December 25th.

Q: Can we bring in our own wine?
A: Usually, we do not allow liquor that is not provided by Havana Central. Please discuss this with your Havana Central Event Planner for further details.

Q: Do you accept credit/debit cards and checks?
A: We accept Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover. Sorry we do not accept checks.

Q: Do you accommodate large parties?
A: Havana Central can accommodate parties up to 250 people. However, all parties over 14 people must reserve through the group sales department.

Q: Do you cater for vegetarians?
A: Yes. Our menu is clearly marked with what items are vegetarian. If you suffer from acute allergy, we advise you consult a manager before ordering from Havana Central.

Q: Do you deliver?
A: Yes offer free deliver within a 12 block radius of each restaurant. For longer distances, there may be a delivery charge. Larger orders ($200 plus) are delivered throughout New York City.

Q: Do you have a Sunday brunch?
A: We currently have a brunch menu that consists of delicious Latin breakfast items as well as some of our tasty lunch menu items. The brunch menu is served on Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm, except for at the Times Square location.

Q: Do you have a wine list?
A: Havana Central has a carefully selected list of wines from Central and South America as well as Spain. All wines are selected for superior taste and value. We have a good reputation for matching multiple wines with the courses for the “ultimate” in food and wine pairings.

Q: Do you offer gift certificates?
A: We offer gift certificates of any denomination up to $500 – Please call your local location to order one and pick it up or have the certificate sent to a specific location. – Or, call 212 398-7447 – The gift certificates come as a magnetic credit card. Unfortunately we cannot reimburse for lost cards. – The certificate will be packaged with a presentation envelope that has space for your personal message

Q: Do you provide entertainment during dinner hours?
A: Havana Central has a terrific live music program at most locations. Please consult our online music calendars or call the specific location of interest.

Q: How do i make a reservation?
A: There are 2 ways to make a reservation. – Call the desired restaurant and speak with a reservationist – Online – go to www.opentable.com and access the desired restaurant. Follow the instructions to reserve your table. – Please remember that all reservations over 14 people must be made through our group sales department 212 398-7447.

Q: How far in advance should I make reservations?
A: In general, we ask for you to contact us as soon as you know the date, so that we may be able to accommodate you on the night you wish.

Q: Is there wheel chair access?
A: Yes, at all locations.

Q: What is your policy on bringing in food such as a cake? Do you provide birthday cakes?
A: Havana Central offers the guest the opportunity to pre-order a cake which is baked in our kitchen by our kitchen staff. Our traditional birthday cake is our tres leches cake, an amazing Latin cake with a sponge cake base and condensed, evaporated and whole milk, topped with wonderful vanilla icing. If you bring your own cake A $2.00 plate charge per person will be assessed.

Q: What type of food do you serve at Havana Central?
A: Havana Central focuses on real Cuban “home cooking”. These are dishes that are familiar to Cubans who grew up in a traditional Cuban hoursehold. In addition, many of these dishes many be familiar to many guests of Latin-American origins.