Happy Holiday Weekend, amici miei! I am here, coffee in hand ready to share a few of my festive memorial Day table decor tips, menu suggestions and party ideas. Typically, this day starts with a tv segment for our steakhouse, Gene and Georgetti. Afterward my husband and I usually end up enjoying dinner with my parents on their beautiful boat, the “Andiamo.”


This is a holiday that I really enjoy celebrating, which I have talked about in previous blogs that you can check out here.  Memorial Day is a holiday that has meaning for all of us, and I shared a few great charities to support and things to remember about the holiday in a previous blog that you can read here.

This year is obviously very different. But that does NOT mean that you can’t enjoy the holiday. If I have learned anything over the last year, and especially these last few months it is that living in the present is really key. Even more crucial is enjoying and being grateful for the moments we have. So, I like to make them as fun, delicious and stylish as I can!

Allora (as we say in Italiano), without further adieu, here are some tips, secrets and suggestions for a great holiday:

Decor Inspiration for a festive holiday table

  1. Set your table. I am always one to encourage that you shop in your own home to decorate your table, and there is no better time than now to really hone in on this skill. Given that this holiday is the kick off to summer, I am always drawn to whites and blues. I love the feeling of “Americana” and I also love a really comfy feeling at the tables that I set. Meaning I want everyone who joins me at them to feel delighted, and welcomed to be there. Below you will see my white dishes that I use every day. When I purchased them from Williams Sonoma, I mixed and match for precisely these kinds of moments. The charger is from Sur La Table, the napkins from Pottery Barn and so is the napkin ring. The key here is to have fun!

2. Make it POP with a dash of color! Because I tend to lean towards really neutral tones in my home (and life) I make an effort to include a more bold color in with my decor. This challenges me personally to step out of a comfort zone, and it also is really pretty when competed! With the floral you see below, I was lucky enough to be able to call my friend Nadine at Fragrant Design, and place an order for some beautiful floral!

***Side note: If you are not able to order floral, or don’t love your dishes, do not despair! We have done everything with tables in our family, including wooden picnic bench celebrations outside of our camper. It does not have to be “fancy” to be fun, and it if makes you feel good and your guests feel welcome, then you have achieved the key objective for any host! Below you will find three examples of quick, fun outdoor tables that I have set with plastic tablecloths, paper plates and citronella candles! And I love them all. Carnations? Yup love them too. Don’t think it has to look some kind of way to be the most perfect day!

Menu suggestions to make your meal a memorable one

3. Plan your meal. For me, this holiday has always involved a family favorite: the grill. I am the third generation in a steakhouse family, and love nothing more than a gorgeous steak on the grill accompanied by some of my favorite sides. This year, Gene & Georgetti Chicago made it really easy for everyone with “Ida’s Pantry” grocery to go! Inspired by my grandmother, and our mutual love of small markets we loved to frequent both in Italy and here at home we created a perfect list to help you get your holiday right!

Festive memorial Day table decor tips, menu suggestions and party ideas

Ida’s Pantry has all the goods for a perfect summer holiday!

From prime aged cuts to seafood to great sides, this list has it all. My husband Collin is sharing some of his favorite tips for what to do when the weather isn’t great (and this May in Chicago has been a pretty rainy one so check out a few of these tips below and see more on the Gene and Georgetti blog here). Festive memorial Day table decor tips, menu suggestions and party ideas are a no go without great food right?! I agree. So, check out below for all the goods!

Festive memorial Day table decor tips, menu suggestions and party ideas

Prime aged and vacuum sealed, our Butcher’s List has everything you could need for a beautiful dinner this summer!


Rainy day and can’t grill? Got you covered! 

Collin suggests a heavy duty cast iron pan, 12-14 inches, which will be a life-long companion in the kitchen, but especially useful for cooking steaks, burgers, and my personal favorite, pancakes (believe it or not, it works!) Cast iron is a great conductor of heat, and will all that Summer Flavor this holiday weekend needs.
Suggested Ida’s Pantry Items: NY Strip Steaks and our signature seasonings, of course! 
Festive memorial Day table decor tips, menu suggestions and party ideas
  • Before the holiday fun begins, set your Ida’s Pantry meats out on the counter to remove some of the chill. This will allow for a better sear, and quicker cooking. Don’t worry, it is perfectly safe. (Just don’t leave fish or chicken out all day!)


  • No – oil – needed! For steak cuts like the Ida’s Pantry NY Strip and Bone-In Ribeye, start the cooking with the meat on its side, the fat will render for more flavor! Start G&G’s signature T-Bone with the T-side down, a little G&G secret to even cooking. For our Prime burgers, a little cooking spray with our Steak Seasoning is an easy flavor boost. Fish is perfect blackened with our G&G spicy seasoning blend, or use cooking spray and our citrusy fish seasoning to sear flat side down.
Festive memorial Day table decor tips, menu suggestions and party ideas

I am obsessed with the new seasonings we are offering in the “Spice Rack” on our Grocery to Go!

  • After your quick sear at high heat, lower to medium, flip once during cooking, and add 2 tablespoons of butter just before cooking is finished. Sprinkle a dash of G&G’s signature steak seasoning, and spoon the butter over the steak by tilting the pan.


  • I know you want to dig in right away to that beautiful prime beef burger or that perfectly seared steak, but you have to let it take a nap. 5 minutes is all your steak needs to rest, stay juicy and tender!


  • Cast iron clean up is a breeze – just water, a paper towel, and no soap is needed! Spray or dab canola oil on the freshly cleaned surface to keep the natural non-stick coating in tact.

Don’t forget a great side! 

Potato salad, corn bread and fresh tomatoes in a panzenella salad are a few of my favorite things because sides make all the difference for me. Check out some of the Pantry List sides below, and get to ordering today! They come in various sizes, which is helpful for anyone celebrating with very small groups or eventually larger (when it is safe to do so).
AND!!!! Gene & Georgetti is open all day tomorrow for pick up and delivery but you can pre-order too. And don’t worry, this list is here to stay all summer. In fact, we will continue to add to it each season so it becomes even better!

4. Leave room for dessert! Festive desserts are a GREAT way to bring a little more decor in to your table, and to celebrate a holiday! Toni Patisserie is a go to for me, I always obsesses over how delicious and adorable the desserts are! Check out some of my favorites from year’s past:

So, now you are totally ready to celebrate in style, with festive memorial Day table decor tips, menu suggestions and party ideas on a holiday that means so much to us as Americans. Thank you to all who have served, thank you to all currently fighting the Coronavirus on the front lines, and thank YOU for reading this blog! Cheers, friends!

Festive memorial Day table decor tips, menu suggestions and party ideas

“The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.” – Jeff Miller

Photos provided by Soda Fountain Photography, Collin Pierson Photography and my cell phone 🙂

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