Depending upon one’s age and whether one has watched television, a person might remember the family dinners (especially Thanksgiving) on the 1970s series “The Waltons.” Or more recently, those weekly dining gatherings of the Reagan clan of “Blue Bloods.”
In both situations, the family dinners have been popular with viewers.
During the COVID-19 period, when family life is often tested by the stresses of work, school and health, removing the added stress of preparing nutritional and appetizing meals is a decided relief.
Several Lincoln restaurants and catering businesses offer family meal preparation. Three were featured in the January issue of L Magazine, and in this issue we look at two other Lincoln businesses working to provide tasty and balanced meals.
The Green Gateau
In April of last year, Eric Lemke (owner/executive chef) of The Green Gateau started offering Gateau To-Go Family Meals. For $35, patrons would receive a fully prepared meal for four, ready to go, with each meal including an entree, a starch and a vegetable.
“It was a way for people to come and get a full family portion of food to take home and enjoy,” Lemke said.
Lemke points out that the cost of a Gateau To-Go Family Meal is less than if a customer ordered the same meal off the Green Gateau’s regular menu.
The Family Meal is available seven days a week with the menu options changing every three or four months. An example of the options offered on the Gateau To-Go menu (allowing the choice of one entree, one starch and one vegetable) include: entree – spinach artichoke chicken, chicken au poivre, pork loin, beer battered cod, cod scampi, vegan meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, pasta gorgonzola, fettuccine rosa, or fettuccine au poivre; starch – whipped yukon gold potatoes, risotto with sauteed vegetables, roasted herbed red potatoes, or thin-cut french fries; and vegetable – brussel sprout-sweet potato hash, green beans amandine, sugar snap peas or garlic roasted asparagus.
The Gateau To-Go Brunch is available only on Saturdays and Sundays, and serves four at $35. Options include Traditional Breakfast (eight cage-free organic eggs scrambled, eight pieces of sausage, bacon or Canadian bacon, and choice of hash browns or brioche French toast); or a Signature Breakfast (choice of crepes florentine with hashbrowns; huevos rancheros with scrambled eggs, pork chili and hash browns; corned beef hash with red potatoes, peppers, onions and scrambled eggs; or biscuits and gravy with scrambled eggs and choice of sausage, bacon or Canadian bacon). Beignets, scones, mimosas and bloody Marys are also available for purchase.
Meals can be picked up curbside at the Green Gateau, or customers can step inside for pick-up. Delivery options are available through different delivery services at additional cost. Orders may be made on the restaurant’s web and Facebook sites or by calling Green Gateau. Lemke said that orders can be spur-of-the-moment or in advance for pick-up later.
According to Lemke, the demand for the To-Go service has been average – “cyclical, up and down.” And like every other local food service provider, he would like to see the demand for services increase. “Come on down … we would love the business.”
Clean Slate Food Co.
In July 2018, Dylan Thompson and Jamen Danielson started Clean Slate Food Co., an event/catering business. The two co-owners/operators relied on word of mouth and social media to establish their business’ reputation and customer base.
Jump to spring 2020, when the public was faced with the pressures of attempting normality during a pandemic. Clean Slate’s catering customers began asking about the possibility of a regular meal service that provided good-tasting food and a healthy diet.
Thompson and Danielson began working on a menu that provided such.
“We were motivated through our own love of good food to provide a service that was convenient for customers and provided a healthy, tasty and varied diet that would not produce any consumer guilt,” Thompson said.
Clean Slate Food Co.’s Weekly Meals Delivery was born, and as the name implies, the service each week provides a set of six specifically designed and proportioned unique meals intended for one individual. There are two menus to choose from – omnivorous and plant-based. Thompson said that the plant-based dinners 100% satisfy vegan requirements. The omnivorous offerings cost $60, the plant-based $48.
A sample of a past omnivorous menu includes carnitas tacos (pork, mole sauce, pineapple slaw, salsa verde, tortilla), pesto grain bowl (chicken, farro, basil pesto vinaigrette, almond, hempseed, broccoli), winter detox salad (kale, shredded Brussels sprouts, grapefruit, cherry, chicken, pomegranate), cioppino soup (white fish, tomato broth, black-eyed peas, artichokes, olives), mac and cheese (steak, squash miso sauce, tomato, corn, zucchini, mushroom) and carrot cake overnight oats (oats, almond milk, coconut milk, toasted coconut, walnuts, rum-soaked raisins and chia seeds).
The companion plant-based menu provided lentil walnut tacos (mole sauce, pineapple slaw, salsa verde, tortilla), pesto grain bowl (quinoa, farro, basil pesto vinaigrette, almond, hempseed, broccoli), winter detox salad (kale, shredded Brussels sprouts, grapefruit, cherry, pomegranate), cioppino soup (tomato broth, black-eyed peas, artichokes, olives, potatoes), mac and cheese (squash miso sauce, tomato, corn, zucchini, mushroom) and carrot cake overnight oats (oats, almond milk, coconut milk, toasted coconut, walnuts, rum-soaked raisins and chia seeds).
The business’ meals change weekly, with the next week’s menus posted on Clean Slate’s webpage and Facebook page on Mondays. Orders are accepted online through 10 a.m. the following Saturday, with delivery to homes on Sundays. (No orders are accepted between 10 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday). Meals are prepared and pre-packaged with instructions for reheating. With no actual storefront, home delivery is the only option, but the delivery is free.
Thompson – who has studied culinary arts and worked in various Omaha and Lincoln restaurants and food services – said that creating the weekly menus begins with their passion for food … that cuisine creativeness is the start, then merged with nutrition and healthful necessities to complete each meal.
While Clean Slate has seen a decline in its catering/event business because of the pandemic, it has seen an increase in the home delivery side. Thompson added that Clean Slate is looking at establishing a location in Omaha sometime in 2021, while still maintaining its Lincoln presence and presentation of nutritional and pleasing food.