With Jeff and Kimberly Paquette, their key word is — and has always been — family.
That was reinforced time and again last Monday morning during the grand opening of Johnston’s newest food service business — Heaven and Earth Catering at Schroder’s Deli at 1302 Atwood Ave.
There were red, white and blue inflated star-shaped balloons as well as ones with smiling faces attached to corn stalk decorations, further proof of how much detail Jeff Paquette — who has spent three decades and counting in the food service industry since he was a dishwasher at age 13 — pays to each and every details of his many food offerings.
There was one sign, which was held by Jeff’s father Jim Paquette amid the morning’s special pomp and circumstance that included Johnston High School Class of 1972 classmates Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena and Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins that epitomized what the restaurateurs bring to town.
“Family — where life begins and love never ends” echoed silently but loud and clear through a short ceremony emceed by Jim Hopkins, a former JHS teacher-coach who chairs the Panthers Athletic Hall of Fame committee, who along with his wife Lois have long been friends with the Paquettes and enjoyed many-a-meal at the couple’s former restaurant in East Providence.
“Today, we welcome Jeff and Kim, two great people who are known for always serving good food and enjoy giving back to the community,” Jim Hopkins began while welcoming the Paquette’s family, friends and town officials including JPD Chief Joe Razza, Deputy Chief Mark Vieira, JFD Chief Peter Lamb and Councilman Joseph Polisena Jr. “It is my honor to welcome you to this grand opening and now I’d like you to meet Jeff’s mother Elaine Paquette, who will offer a special blessing.”
Soon thereafter, Jim Hopkins introduced his brother and Johnston native Ken Hopkins, who offered his congratulations to Jeff and Jim and Kim from the City of Cranston.
“Like the people in Johnston,” Ken Hopkins began, “Cranstonians love to eat at our many fine restaurants. I personally welcome you to town and will encourage people to support our business. On behalf of our city, we extend a warm welcome to the business community and wish you well for many years to come.”
Polisena, who like Mayor Hopkins, presented Jeff and Jim with a special official commendation, then offered his sincerest congratulations and warm welcome “on this special occasion” and as he has emphasized during his tenure emphasized: “It’s the small businesses that drive the economic engine of our town.”
The grand opening also featured an official ribbon cutting performed by Jeff and Jim who were flanked by Polisena and Hopkins, who held the ribbon.
After which Jim Paquette said: “Thank you for coming and we hope you will … enjoy our food. With that, please join us for coffee and enjoy a sampling of what we will serve here at Heavy on Earth Catering at Schroder’s Deli.”
Each and every guest was highly impressed with the unique food samplings, the taste and presentation which was further proof of the pride — and detail — the Paquettes take for each and every offering.
“Chef Jeff’s experience in the restaurant and food industry is quite diverse and extensive,” Jim Hopkins wanted it known. “He began washing dishes, to sweeping the floor and doing small jobs. We first met at his former Paquette’s Family Restaurant in East Providence that unfortunately, due to the pandemic and lack of help, had to close.”
Meanwhile, as Jim Hopkins related: “I was absolutely thrilled when Jeff told me he was going to purchase Schroder’s Deli that many people know has been around since 1945. The people of Johnston and surrounding communities are going to love the food here. To coin a phrase Jeff and Kim — whose experience includes waitressing — offer delicious food that’s like Heaven on Earth!”
The Paquettes, who as Jim Hopkins noted “are famous for many different foods including their famous family meals, including chicken parmesan, penne Rustico and Portuguese Stuffed Cod. Those are just a few of Jeff’s signature dishes that have received rave reviews from a number of noted food critics.”
As he said at the conclusion of the grand opening ceremony, Jim Hopkins mused with a special smile on his face: “It is my understating that Amazon made its final decision to come to Johnston once they found out that Heaven on Earth Catering was opening here at Schroder’s Deli on Atwood Avenue!”
Thus, Jeff and Kim — Johnston’s newest business owners — are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and they’re closed Sunday. For more information, take out or a menu, please call 401-942-1234. People can also go on Facebook, Instagram and Yelp. Their website is www.heavenonearthcateringsd.com.
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