Thursday, January 24, 2013

Castle Catering

Meet Ron Hobbs, founder of Castle Catering at the Castle Green in Pasadena. Ron founded Castle Catering in 1984, after having already catered numerous events at Castle Green. He thought he knew the place pretty well by then.

What he didn't know at the time was that there was a huge kitchen in the Green Street wing that hadn't been used for a very, very long time.

Ron got himself a visit to the Green Street wing, where he found not only the 1200 sq. ft. kitchen you see behind him, but also a ballroom that was once the main dining room for the historic Hotel Green. The kitchen had not been used for decades, and the ballroom hadn't fared much better. A scene from the 1977 Liza Minelli/Robert DeNiro film, New York New York, had been shot there. When Hobbs first saw the room in 1984, the set was still standing.

But Ron believed in the place. He renovated both ballroom and kitchen, and named the ballroom the Romanesque Room. (I like the pictures on his website better than mine). The Romanesque Room seats 250 with the dance floor, even more without it.
the bar at the Romanesque Room

I have another picture or two, and more to tell you tomorrow. For now, something to think about: in 1984, the concept of Old Pasadena as a high-end shopping area was just that--a concept. It was a neighborhood folks didn't walk in at night. Making it better took a lot of people with chutzpah, or nerve, or even a bit of the crazies. 

Whatever it was, it worked.

17 comments:

LOLfromPasa said...

Lovely to see inside. I have always loved this place and your photos are perfect. Look forward to tomorrow.

llandudnopictures said...

Well done Ron! And you have done a great job with your internal photography.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Old Pasadena has always exuded a higher caliber place to shop, dine, go for entertainment.. There is just something about it... Love his web site- wow, classy...

Adele said...

Love this story! I planned/attended a work party there once, in the late 80's I believe. I dont even think it was carpeted then. They just let us rent the room, with no catering. A very bare-bones party, but such an adventure! It's so nice to hear how the room and kitchen were discovered. Archeology, right there on Green Street!

Petrea Burchard said...

I was thrilled to tour the first floor of this wing of the old hotel. It's not open to the public, so it was a real privilege. And Ron is full of wonderful stories.

I understand there might also be a tunnel under Raymond Avenue, reaching from the garden furniture store to the hotel. I'd like a tour of THAT!

Good choices of words, Adele: "adventure" and "archaeology." This is our old Pasadena; discoveries like this keep me enthralled.

TheChieftess said...

How cool Petrea!!! We looked at Castle Green in hopes that my stepdaughter would choose it for her first wedding...her mom and grandmother didn't care for it...they're not into old historic spots so she didn't have it there...which is ok now since that marriage didn't take...she's much happier now with her current marriage...which took place in our back yard down in Glendale!!!

Petrea Burchard said...

It is definitely an old, historic spot. That's what makes it so interesting! I'm glad your stepdaughter got it on the second try!

savannah said...

*sigh* i'm missing cali today! i think i'll go look at his site right now!!! thanks for a trip home today. xoxoxox

dive said...

Wow! Love that vaulted ceiling, Petrea. Looks like Ron did a fantastic job.

Bellis said...

I love it when you take us on an archaeology adventure. That vaulted kitchen reminds me of those cavernous kitchens in Tudor and Jacobean manor houses. I have a feeling I dined here to celebrate the retirement of a Lady of Leisure. Eating, dancing, speechifying and singing - it was the perfect venue.

Petrea Burchard said...

Come on back, Savannah! We have room for one more!

I know it's not easy to impress you with California's ancient architecture, Dive, so I'm glad you like it.

Me, too, Bellis (reminds me of the old kitchens).

Ms M said...

Very interesting! Good photos and story. I hope his success continues.

Katie said...

What fun to see inside this beautiful kitchen (with a brick floor!) and learn about Ron and his catering business. So cool when spaces like this get renovated. I'd love to attend an event in the ballroom!

Petrea Burchard said...

We love our Castle Green. More tomorrow!

Laura Monteros said...

So good to know that the renovation at Castle Green/The Green Hotel continues. Did you know (you probably did) that the bridge that leads to the little turret used to extend across the street? I don't know what was there, but not that ugly Stat's building.

The concept of Old Pasadena started right before we moved to Pasadena in 1978. Paseo Colorado was a huge hole in the ground, and enough people were upset about the old buildings that were razed that Pasadena Heritage was formed, with Claire Bogaard being in the forefront.

Razing and redevelopment was supposed to continue west on Colorado, but PH stopped that in its tracks. They are responsible for ensuring that the facades remainded, even when the building behind was torn down. I remember seeing many facades propped up while building was going on.

The original idea was to have more of a small-business feel, more like Montrose, and not allow big chains. That didn't work out, but at least there is still a lot of architectural charm in Old Pasadena.

At first, many locals didn't really like it because of the traffic, parking, and prices. It was also dangerous because teenagers and young adults from other areas, who had no civic pride, would come in and get rowdy. I think more locals--at least some my kids' ages--are going to Old Pasadena now.

Just my musings....

TheChieftess said...

Thank you Pasadena Heritage!!!

Petrea Burchard said...

Love your story, Laura. As is often the case, you tell me things I didn't know. The one thing I know is the bridge led across Raymond to the original Green Hotel, where Stats is now. The building that remains was built later than the one on the east side of Raymond, but it has lasted longer. I heard there's an underground tunnel, too, and I want to find out the truth about it--and get a tour.

Well said, Chieftess. We have so much to thank them for.