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Order Up: Spotlight on Marcel’s Catering Cafe

A longtime JASP partner makes a difference in Chapel Hill

Driving along Fordham Boulevard in Chapel Hill with the windows down, one would be hard-pressed to ignore the tantalizing aromas wafting from the nearby Marcel’s Catering Cafe. For over 30 years, this family-run business has served the Chapel Hill community, not only catering events, but also building connections and memories within this slice of blue heaven.

Marcel’s entrees look positively scrumptious!

Case in point: Marcel’s has provided the catering for the Jane Austen Summer Program since the inaugural conference in 2013, nourishing our attendees and the marvelous relationships that JASP fosters. “We have always enjoyed working with JASP and are missing it this year,” says Marcelle Prater, who owns and operates the catering cafe with her husband, Larry.

The feeling is certainly mutual, as UNC graduate fellow Eric Bontempo states, “For the last two years, I have had the great pleasure of working with Marcel’s Catering Cafe to plan the menu for the JASP banquet and the Regency ball. I have taste-tested numerous menu items (I take my job very, very seriously), and they’re all delicious!”

Likewise, JASP co-director Inger Brodey highlights the business’s accommodating nature. “Marcel’s has been a joy to work with,” Brodey says. “[Prater] has been very understanding of our small budget and has helped us with a variety of configurations for our banquets.” Whether arranging box lunches or providing last-minute support, Marcel’s has been an invaluable partner for JASP.

But the story doesn’t stop there: Marcel’s continues to support the Chapel Hill community, even in the midst of crisis. Throughout the pandemic, Marcel’s has worked to provide affordable entrees while maintaining social distancing, with options such as vegetarian lasagna and pork tenderloin with apricot chutney available for preorder and pickup from the cafe.

UNC’s covid-19 workers show their appreciation for Marcel’s with a signed card

Beyond this, Marcel’s is also providing meals for UNC Hospital’s covid-19 workers. Funded by donations, Marcel’s has empowered the community to show its support for our front-line health-care professionals.

While we’re sad not to be seeing each other this June, we applaud the impact Marcel’s Catering Cafe continues to have in the Chapel Hill community.

Interested in donating food to UNC’s covid-19 workers? Email Marcelle Prater at or call at (919) 967-0066. For more information on menus, hours, and pricing, visit the Marcel’s Catering Cafe Facebook Page.


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