Owners of a Howell catering company were preparing oven-fried chicken, pulled pork sandwiches and side dishes Friday.
But it wasn't for a catering gig.
Earlier this month, PJ's Catering at 938 S. Michigan Avenue started offering takeout dinners, sides and desserts Monday through Friday.
"We have so many wonderful dishes to share," co-owner Pam Russell said.
Russell and her close friend and co-owner Jody Seagraves opened the catering business in April 2017. They cater parties, weddings, business lunches and other events.
Russell previously owned and operated Pam's Gourmet To Go in Brighton, which opened in 2006 and closed in 2011. She spent about five years as chef at Chemung Hills Golf & Banquet Center in Oceola Township, where Seagraves worked as a cook.
"The menu is ideas from my old business and recipes I've been making forever and some from the catering," Russell said. "I think it's a good idea for us because so many people don't like to cook, and you have places like McDonald's, but the world is full of processed food and here food is cooked fresh ... good food fast."
Customers can pre-order takeout meals by email at email@example.com or by phone and text at 517-518-0607 or buy meals on a first-come, first-served basis.
Pick up time is 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Some main courses planned for this month include chicken Marsala, pork enchiladas, roast turkey and Mexican lasagna, according to their downloadable menu at www.pjscatering.biz/daily-menu.
Each meal comes with a couple sides.
Daily desserts such as pieces of cakes will also be available at an extra charge.
"Jody is more of a pastry person and I'm more on the savory side," Russell said.
Seagraves said she has always loved baking and has dreamed of opening a bakery.
"I always thought that would be so fun to have a bakery with all the cases, and then when we did this, it was good because I can do the baking part," she said.
She loves making cakes, cupcakes and cookies. She plans to whip up carrot cake and triple peanut butter cake this week.
"We've had a few people come in who said we're trying you out because we want to figure out if we'll use you for catering," she said. "Hopefully it will increase business."
Russell said customers are starting to find out about the new takeout dinners and placing orders.
"I've already had people who came to the old business (Pam's Gourmet To Go) come to this one and be glad we're doing it," she said.
Customer Brian MacDonald, who co-owns family business MacDonald's Funeral Home in Howell, was a regular customer of Russell's former business.
"It's nice to have it (the food) back," MacDonald said. "It's always homemade, and it's easy to pick up if you're in a hurry and don't have time to cook."
He said the funeral home recommends catering companies to families holding funeral services there.
"They are one of the caterers we recommend and we feel very comfortable recommending them," MacDonald said.