Depot Dave’s culinary journey carries him to City Island Yacht Club—with catering to continue


The City Island Yacht Club.

To many residents of Pelham, Depot Dave is known for his catering. Now, Dave Katz will also be known for running the kitchen as head chef at a local yacht club.

The new position came about after the struggles brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. “I lost everything last year,” Katz said. He had to think creatively. “There was a bright side to it. I started doing dinners to go.” Katz created meals each day, like chicken parmesan on Tuesdays and even made dinners with a theme.

Two years ago, the City Island Yacht Club offered Katz the job as head chef. “Originally I said no to them, but this year they asked me again, and I said, ‘Why not?'”

The yacht club has a large room for dining with a bar and a terrace overlooking the dock. “The terrace holds about 40 people, so we will serve dinner out here around every other day,” Katz said. In the summer, Katz plans to put tables and chairs on a small grass area so families can eat closer to the water.

Depot Dave Katz

Assets for Katz at the yacht club are the two rooms on the water that he will use for his catering clients. “One of the challenging things I have always dealt with as a private caterer is not having rooms for parties,” he said. Katz told the Examiner that a website for renting out rooms and more details is currently in the works.

Katz chose to go with a “pub fair” style of cooking at the club. His favorite thing on the menu is the prime rib sandwich. “It’s a slow roasted prime rib, sliced thin, tossed with caramelized onions, dijon mustard, horseradish sauce and dill Havarti cheese,” said Katz. He is getting heros made from the local bakery in New Rochelle called Bread Factory.

Many different jobs and influences made Katz into the chef he is today.

“I always loved to cook, and to help my mother in the kitchen,” Katz said. He started his career as a dishwasher while in middle school and worked his way up the line. When he was thirteen, the head chef cut his finger badly, and the restaurant didn’t have anyone else to help cook. “The second chef came downstairs, threw an apron at me and said, ‘C’mon you’re working with me tonight.'”

Cooking that day was what made Katz know he wanted to become a chef. “It was a rush I had never felt before,” he said.

After high school, he worked at a pizzeria for six years, but when he wanted a better job, he was turned down because of inexperience. “So I went to college and got my culinary degree,” he said.  From there, he worked a few small jobs and ended up as head chef at the Pelham Country Club in 1994. “It was great, a happy marriage between me and the Country Club.”

Katz met his wife at the PCC and realized that starting a family would be difficult with the amount of hours he was working. That was when he took over the Depot Market Deli, which was originally founded in 1941. “The deli was popular in the fact that it was ahead of its time,” Katz said. “We were doing sandwiches that were never seen before.”

After three years of owning the deli, Katz and his partner decided to expand their business by catering. “I was driving down the street doing a delivery one day, and I heard some kids yell, ‘Hey look. It’s Depot Dave.’ So from then on, I just kind of ran with it.” Eventually, the grueling 90-plus hours of working at the deli each week became too much. So, Katz closed down the deli in 2013 and continued to cater.

Although Katz’s work at the yacht club is only beginning, he said he has been shocked at all the support he has received so far: “That’s one of the best things about Pelham. The town sticks behind people they care about.”