Let’s be clear: America runs on fast food. Food that was never meant to be served outside a styrofoam clamshell or paper bag, food that is made on a highly organized assembly line more efficient than the ones making Ford trucks, food that is based on ingredients prepped off-premise, consumed quickly and usually unthinkingly, food that has helped our population balloon to the sad status of fattest in the world. Undeniably easy, and often delicious, fast food may be contributing to the “COVID 19”—the extra pounds many are inadvertently adding during shutdown.
But you know that.
During COVID, mid- to high-end restaurants that can’t by law fill their restaurants to capacity are having to learn some lessons from fast-food restaurants—how to expedite online ordering, food pick-up and delivery, for example—and still keep customers coming back for creative, chef-conceived, carefully sourced food.
Some excellent restaurants built the to-go option into their concept—Spitz, Pretty Bird, Ginger Street, for example, opened with takeout in mind. So-called “ethnic” cuisines are good bets. Their food doesn’t suffer from a quick nuke. Skewered Thai offers curbside pickup. So does Himalayan Kitchen. All the Saffron Valley restaurants are well-suited to take-out.
But even places that don’t normally offer takeout are offering curbside service now—always call or go to a restaurant’s website to check what kind of conveniences are offered. Restaurants are experimenting and expanding their options all the time. Be aware that most pickup/takeout menus are limited versions of the full menu.
The Hive is Stronger than the Bee.
Hence, Hive Eats, a subscription meal delivery service featuring 10 of Salt Lake City’s favorite restaurants. Locally produced, locally sourced meals prepared by small local independent restaurants are delivered each week. Hive Eats helps the restaurants by giving them a consistent revenue source and keeping employees working, meaning some of our favorite restaurants will survive. Meals will be delivered on Sundays and Thursdays, pre-prepared and ready to eat after a few minutes in the oven. Participating restaurants include Arlo, The Copper Onion, Cucina, Finca, Mazza, Osteria Amore, Pago, Proper, Publik and Trio.
The homey, southern-tinged fare here is perfect to pick up and reheat—meatloaf, funeral potatoes, fried chicken, braised beef short ribs and their fabulous pies, whole or by the slice. 501 E. 900 South, 385-202-7167
I’ve never been a fan of grocery store sushi, or any sushi that had to wait around for more than a bare minimum of minutes. But Takashi does an outstanding job with takeaway sushi, whether you pick it up inside or curbside. Call ahead to reserve your time and phone consultants are available to help you choose your traveling sushi wisely. 18 W. Market St., 801-519-9595
Salads here are hearty and filled with enough vegetables to travel well—you could make a meal from one of these and a bowl of ribbolita, the wintry soup of cannellini beans, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes. Lasagna and filled pastas reheat in a flash but for something different, try the Osteria Amore pasta with bacon, pistachio and burrata cheese. 224 S. 1300 East, 385-270- 5606
Everything here is cooked in a pizza oven but our advice is to look past the pizza on the menu because the pork chop and half Mary’s roasted chicken with burnt lemon is plenty for two once you add a couple of sides—maybe roasted fingerlings, charred squash, a wedge salad? 1675 E. 1300 South, 801-883-9791
How about ravioli with ciderbrowned butter, duck confit, sage, pickled red onions and the tiny crunch of pepitas? Or wood-roasted bone marrow with apple butter, gremolata, pickled vegetables and brioche? If this doesn’t sound like fare that would normally come out of your kitchen, treat yourself and order dinner to-go from Provisions. We can only cook at home so much. 3364 S. 2300 East, 801-410-4046
The broth has been simmering since long before you even thought about ordering a hearty bowl of ramen. Take it home hot, give it a quick simmer or zap to bring it back up to temp and you’ll forget it’s cold outside. Pick up some edamame for your Netflix and chill and check out all the options. They keep expanding. 1465 S. State Street, 801- 456-7000