Now is not an ideal time to be critical of others’ efforts—unless we’re talking about elected leaders.
As a non-baker, cook of middling efficacy, and high school student of thermodynamics, your author is overjoyed and grateful for the culinary skills of others, full stop. Plus, if your author’s granma instilled in her anything it is two major refrains: 1) “Wantin’ and gettin’ are two different things,” and b) “Make do.”
Nonetheless, this weekend a reader was willing to point at the elephant in the room. “Now that I’m eating a lot more takeout, I’m finding just how much does not travel well,” they wrote, before making an earnest request.
(A shining counterpoint to poor travelling foods has been discovering the joy of a roadie jucy lucy from Matt’s Bar. Fetching a grease splattered bag that contains fries and a seared meat blimp is the ideal marshmallow test hack for those of us who scald ourselves every single time, warnings be damned, we find our asses in the Obama booth.)
Again, the reader in question hadn’t come to gripe, but with a request we’re happy to fulfill. “It would be great to see a list of local restaurants that offer pre-packaged ‘meals for later,’” they wrote, citing they hit a “sweet spot between not wanting to cook and not wanting soggy takeout tacos.”
Who could argue with that?
What appears below is a smattering of offerings around the Twin Cities, from restaurants and delis offering assemble at home, take-and-bake, or frozen options from local purveyors who’ve found ways to feed you and yours.
As it turns out, sometimes wanting is getting!
Jon Wipfli’s Animales BBQ has returned with a new to-go only menu designed to feed two to four people at a time. Each weekend’s variety will change, but this Friday through Sunday, they’ve got a whole, smoked Peterson Beef Plate rib rack on the docket, including house red sauce and pickles, which comes chilled and vacuum sealed to reheat whenever is convenient. Animales BBQ, 1121 Quincy St. NE, Minneapolis; animalesbarbeque.com/
Centro at Popol Vuh wants you to have your guac and eat it too, whether straight from the pint or as an accompaniment to any of their “Home Meats”—a section unto itself from their Take and Bake menu, which ranges from nachos to queso fundido and tortilla soup. Not a soggy taco in sight here, fam. Centro at Popol Vuh, 1414 Quincy St. NE, Minneapolis; popolvuhmpls.com
St. Paul’s Colossal Cafe has options like family-sized corned beef hash kits and pot pies that each serve two to three, racks of ribs, hot sauces, bottles of cava, and more are available for pre-ordered pickup Thursday through Sunday via their website. Colossal Cafe, two St. Paul locations; colossalcafe.com
Look, we know it’s almost cheating to include a takeaway frozen pizza in this list, but hear us out? Football Pizza from Crescent Moon Bakery in northeast makes pies bigger than most you’d find in a grocery store, with flavor options like “gyro,” and they’re a family-owned pizza business with a heart the size of Texas. Grab six from their freezer and stock yours like a true Minneapolis local. Football Pizza, 2339 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis; footballpizza.com
Foxy Falafel’s meal kits come in a variety of options, from vegetarian falafel and chicken shawarma to all out carnivorous lamb meatballs. Each flavor begs to be matched with Foxy’s array of ready-made desserts ripe for snagging—no assembly required. Foxy Falafel, 791 Raymond Ave., St. Paul, foxyfalafel.square.site/
Grand Cafe changed up its game to offer 30 “Meal & Wellness Kits” weekly. Each focuses on quality of life. Included in that broad mission are “treats for your home and your mind” like buckets of flowers to be arranged, watercolor starters, a cocktail kit, and (for our purposes) meals to be assembled at home like jambalaya and coq au vin… with instructions, of course. They go quickly, so far be it for us to instruct you to stalk their joyous social accounts? Grand Cafe, 3804 Grand Ave. S., Minneapolis; grandcafemn.com
Consistently spectacular Hazel's Northeast has created a clutch of packages that require a simple warm-up for dinner, or can be squirreled away for later in the week when morale and oomph run low(er). On the docket are Chicken Wild Rice Gumbo, Swedish Meatballs for Two, and a shareable pot pie (in addition to regular takeout items). Hazel's Northeast, 2859 Johnson St. NE, Minneapolis; hazelsnetogo.com
South Minneapolis lazarus queen Heather’s offers a heat-at-home quarter roasted chicken (your choice of light or dark meat) for $12. Because, let’s be real, they know you’re not going to roast a chicken correctly anytime soon. (Unless you start watching some videos?) Heather’s, 5201 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis; heathersmpls.com
ie Italian Eatery designed their "Whole Kit and Ka-Noodle" to bring together the whole family for a meal. The take-and-bake package (starting at $69) feeds four to five (plus "bambino") with pasta, "bambino pizza pouch," soup, salad, and a hard to skip option to add desserts like gelatos and tiramisu. ie Italian Eatery, 4724 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; italianeatery.com
Wednesday through Sunday, Red Wagon Pizza Company slings DIY pizza kits and their par-baked 'zas straight from their south Minneapolis kitchen. Pre-order whichever level of hands-on-ness fits best with your current lifestyle. They've got an app or online ordering portal (though the app is preferable and most sustainable for the business), and zero-contact retrieval. Red Wagon Pizza Company, 5416 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis; redwagon-mpls.com
Even on an average day, Sikora's Polish Market offers a larger selection of frozen pierogi than most folks have ever dreamt of, plus smoked sausages, and homemade cabbage rolls. Now Sikora’s is selling those same cabbage rolls in 1.75-pound portions to-go, plus frozen pierogi online… with delivery of both available all over town. For some of us, this was a heavenly assemble-at-home meal discovery… Sikora’s Polish Market, 1625 Washington St. NE, Minneapolis; sikoraspolishmarket.com