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Ula’s Café at Arc of Rockland

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Zakia Lews at cash register with Ula Robertson, manager, Ula’s Café at Arc of Rockland

Ula Robertson, owner of At Your Service NY Catering, is the new manager of Ula’s Café at Arc of Rockland headquarters in Congers. 

“We are thrilled to have Ula on board,” says Dr. Steven Rubinsky, Chief Administrative Officer for Arc. The not for profit agency serves 1200 people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in Rockland County.  “We had been operating a Café successfully for several years, but we knew the time had come for us to bring on a professional in the food service field.  Ula has been a longtime participant in our premier agency fundraiser, A Taste of Rockland. We were familiar with the high quality of Ula’s fare, and Ula was eager to provide employment to some of the people who receive services through ARC.”

As part of the arrangement with Arc, Ms. Robertson uses the commercial kitchen for her successful catering business through which she provides meals to New York film crews, corporate clients and private customers. 

Ula’s Café employs seven people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and is open to the public. The men and women hired through Arc had worked in the Café prior to Ms. Robertson’s arrival.  “I kept them on because they are well trained in their jobs,” says Ms. Robertson. “They knew just what to do. It was an easy transition.” 

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Ms. Robertson’s association with Arc began during a Rockland Business Association (RBA) networking event in 2008. “I met someone from Arc who told me all about the work the organization does on behalf of people with disabilities. I have always believed in giving back to society, and I thought that this would be a wonderful opportunity to do that.”  

A native of Germany, Ms. Robertson’s first contact with the food industry took place when she was 15 years old. “I was a precocious teenager and wanted to be independent, so I figured the way to do that was to make some money. I applied for a job at a local hospital and, to my surprise, they put me in the kitchen. That wasn’t what I had expected.  I had never done any kitchen work.  At first, I wanted to quit. But I stuck with it and learned a lot. That’s when cooking became a passion.”

Cooking, however, has not been her only career.  While still living in Germany, Ms. Robertson was employed by an international steel company. After arriving in the United States in 1993, she established a firm importing and selling high-end plumbing fixtures.  “But I never stopped cooking and taking cooking classes,” she smiles. 

Finally, in 2007, she founded At Your Service NY Catering. “I started out small,” she states. “Then, I met someone in the music industry. He asked if I could cater a function for him. He was satisfied with my work, and before long I was catering all of his functions.” Through this initial contact, Ms. Robertson met someone in the film industry who invited her to cater for movie crews. “Out of that first little job, everything else evolved. Recently, I catered for a movie with John Travolta. My business grows through word of mouth.”

Ula’s Café at Arc of Rockland is open to the public, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., providing cafeteria-style hot and cold meals including, salads, sandwiches, snacks and daily specials ranging from standard fare such as bacon, egg and cheese on a roll, to ethnic dishes such as Jerk chicken, tortillas or kielbasa. The Café is located at 25 Hemlock Drive, Congers, NY.

Thank You to ARC of Rockland’s 2017 Corporate Sponsors: