Unbenownst to me, I live right around the corner from one of the best local gems in the landscape of Central Indiana catering. I had no idea until I drove there to meet the owners and try some of their amazing desserts.
Tucked in a tiny strip mall off Rockville Road in the Crown Liquor Plaza across from Meijer in Avon, Indiana, Marsha’s Specialty Desserts and Tierney’s Catering is a tried-and-true, local business that has gleaned several awards for their unique and delectable offerings.
When I stepped into their store, I was welcomed by what felt like an entire Halloween party on display: eyeball cake pops, bat cookies, spiderweb and skeleton cutouts stuck onto cupcakes, witch hat cookies and mini apple pies and pound cakes. The details, colors, sprinkles, and decorations were so festive.
Marsha Quarles started this local business along with six of her family members: Her sister Michelle Avant, her husband, her son, her mother and her aunt. Many of their cousins also help cater events.
Marsha’s Specialty Desserts offers desserts and meals of all kinds for weddings, holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, etc. In fact, their own family gatherings of the same kind growing up are what inspired their business in the first place.
The sisters credit their love of baking and catering to their granddaddy Conwell Avant. Conwell took immense joy in gathering his family. They would all cook together, pitch in food and essentially host huge family meals for celebrations and holidays.
Marsha especially remembers Soul Food Fridays, a family gathering time of cooking and eating together. Not only did they cook tons of food and desserts, they also claim they were “that” family with matching décor, plates, napkins, etc. It turns out, doing all of that for a big family wasn’t too different from catering.
Bred to Cater
Conwell commented at one point that their family was so good at it that they should cater full-time. After 20 years of cooking for family, they decided to do just that, and Marsha’s Specialty Desserts and Tierney’s Catering came to be.The second name of their title is the name of their brother Tierney who passed away.
Everything they do at Marsha’s is in honor of their granddaddy and brother. Every time they walk in the doors, they think of these men, pray for them and aim to live and work in honor of their loving memory.
Marsha’s Desserts encompasses far more than cakes and cookies. They are, as they say, small but mighty.
In addition to wedding cakes, their four-page menu includes everything from cakes and cupcakes with nearly 30 options of icing flavors to brownies, mini cheesecake shooters, mini pies, mini bundt cakes, cake pops and mini cobbler bars. They said many couples now forego the cake at their wedding altogether and offer a dessert bar, which Marsha’s is perfectly equipped to handle.
Marsha's work has been designated as an Indiana Artisan, which means it has been judged to be among the best in the state, specifically for their cream cheese pound cake and sock-it-to-me pound cake. They also pride themselves on their Strawberry Lemonade Cake and their Hot Fudge Sundae Cake.
More Than Desserts
Their business doesn’t stop at desserts, however. Far from it.
Their seemingly endless options for catered breakfasts, lunch and dinner range from appetizers and cheese trays to chicken and pasta and pulled pork, as well as lunch box meals and buffet meals.
Small and mighty isn’t just lip service. These ladies and their family have taken on the big dogs, catering more than 4,000 people at the Super Bowl tailgate when it was in Indianapolis, as well as cookies for various hotels that weekend and box lunches for the Host Committee. They’ve been at Zoobilation, even winning the Zoobilation People’s Choice award two years in a row, 2018 and 2019. They also catered Yelp’s Fifth Anniversary party.
They are a member of Indiana Grown, and they’re an Indiana Certified Minority and Woman-Owned Business Enterprise.
Stay tuned to their website, Facebook, and Instagram pages for an announcement about their Sugar Cookie Showdown Virtual Class! Participants can purchase a cookie decorating kit for $20 and tune in Nov. 9 for an online class!
You’ll also find them on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28, at the Indiana Artisan Gifts & Gallery in Carmel, sampling and selling their pound cakes.
Marsha said they love to specialize the occasions of your life, whether they're formal or informal. So if you’ll please excuse me, I’m going to call them to cater my entire life.
Give Marsha’s Specialty Desserts a try for your next party, anniversary, or special event! You will not be disappointed; in fact, we could all use some cheering up so even if you stop by for a small curbside order for a family dinner, Marsha’s has you covered!