Take-out orders and drive-thru windows are nothing new in the food service industry. A positive of such is convenience … a downside for families is remembering and satisfying everyone’s desired dining preferences.
Enter family meals – just like what most family meals are like, with the same options for all.
With the emergence of the COVID-19 virus more than a year ago, limiting what restaurants could do in forms of service, some establishments have focused on developing a menu that appeals to the family unit. These meals are tailored for working parents – whether from home or in the office – and provide nutritional and tasty dining options for reasonable prices.
The family meals featured in this issue of L Magazine are from Copal Mexican Cuisine, MoMo Pizzeria & Ristorante and Villa Amore Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar. These meals are geared to serve four individuals and are for pick-up at the restaurants.
Copal Mexican Cuisine owner Rebeca Lopez didn’t know what to do when the COVID-19 restrictions hit last spring. How to keep her restaurant afloat?
She said that a friend suggested thinking outside the box. The result, according to Lopez, was Copal’s being one of the first to offer curbside, no contact pick-up family meal options.
Relying on social media and word-of-mouth to get the word out, the restaurant offered five meal options that customers could take home to feed four or more people.
General Manager Josue (Josh) Afandor emphasized that the family meals are at a good price for a good quantity. “We can feed a lot of people for a little amount of money.”
Afandor said that while the demand for family meals has diminished a bit because of loosening dining room restrictions, the family meals are still selling well. “People are happy, and it is a good deal.”
The made-from-scratch meals include: Chicken Tinga (rice, beans, 1.5 lb. chicken tinga, house salsa, queso fresco, chips and a dozen tortillas, $33); Shredded Beef Barbacoa (rice, beans, cilantro, onions, 1.5 lb. shredded beef, chips, house salsa and a dozen tortillas, $36); Ground Beef Meal (rice, beans, 1.5 lb. ground beef, queso fresco, sour cream, pico de gallo, lettuce, house salsa and a dozen tortillas, $30); Carnitas Meal (rice, beans, 1.5 lb. carnitas, house salsa, onions, cilantro, spicy salsa, chips and a dozen tortillas, $35); and Fajita Meal (rice, beans, 1.5 lb. chicken and steak fajitas, house salsa, sour cream, spicy salsa, chips and a dozen tortillas, $37).
While customers like all five dining options, Afandor said that the fajita meals are the most requested.
The family meal orders can be placed by phone or online. To find the choices, visit the Copal website and click on Meals, Lincoln and Family Meals.
“People are happy with the ease and convenience of our family meal options,” said Tara Schroeder, manager of MoMo Pizzeria & Ristorante. “It is a slick system that gives customers a pretty good dining option.”
The family meal service was started last fall, with orders accepted online only and with curbside pick-up. To find the Family Meal site, click on Take Out, then Choose a Menu and Family Meal.
There are two general choices – the Pizza Package ($60) and the Cedar Salmon Package ($75). Both feed four. The Pizza Page offers choices of bruschetta, white bean dip or garlic cheese bread; house, Caesar or wedge salad; and three pizzas mixing or matching between margherita, pepperoni, balsamic chicken, cheese, verduna, fennel sausage, prosciutto & egg and steak & gorgonzola. Desserts and wine are available at extra cost.
Choices of bruschetta, white bean dip or garlic cheese bread and house, Caesar or wedge salad are also offered with the 1.5 pound Cedar Salmon, along with sautéed vegetables, jasmine rice pilaf and lemon. Rare, medium rare, medium, medium well and well done preparation choices are available for the salmon. Additional salmon, rice and vegetables, as well as dessert and wine, are available at extra cost.
Schroeder said that the family meal service has the customer advantage of not requiring any special sign-ups or commitments for usage. “It’s nice and easy – just order, pick up and eat.”
The Villa Amore Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar’s family-sized meal (serving four individuals) also began in March of last year with orders taken over the phone, online (website, catering, family-sized meals) and in person. Pick-up for the meals is curbside or inside.
Villa Amore’s family-sized meal menu offers a good variety of items under the categories of Specialties, Oven Baked, Sauteed and Seafood.
Ranging from $39-$44, Specialties choices include Cacciatore, Damabianca, Tortellini ala Vodka, Chicken & Sausage and Tortellini Primavera. The Oven Baked choices are Homemade Meat Lasagna, Cannelloni and Chicken Parmesan (each $39).
The four Sauteed options are Pasta & Meatballs, Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo, Spinach Ravioli and Pollo ala Penne, ranging from $39-$49. Each of the four Seafood choices are $59 and are Salmon Due, Salmon Quattro, Shrimp & Scallop Pesto and Seafood Alfredo.
Villa Amore manager Billy Latifi said that the meals were most popular during late fall and early winter, and while the demand has diminished somewhat, customers love the meals and are still purchasing them.
“They get great portions – even more than the four servings size,” Latifi said. “They love the quality and quantity and the taste.”