2021 Meal Kits

Steve Babish photo

Restaurants responded to the shutdown last year with vigour. Not right away perhaps, but most were offering some sort of take-out menu within six weeks. The biggest challenge was to discover what would resonate with their customers and taste best out of a box. Many changed their menus to incorporate more casual dishes and set up special food nights—Chinese night, burger night, Ukrainian night. The Corso Group took a different approach. Their challenge was to recreate the Uccellino or Corso 32 experience at home, not the easiest thing to do when your menu is about rigorous attention to pasta. They created meal kits (photo) containing pastas, sauces, all the accoutrements, accompanied by precise instructions. Soon we had barbecue kits from Pampa, sushi kits, brunch kits, Biera boxes, Peking Duck kits from XIX, cocktail kits. The Marc’s kits included a Zoom invitation to cook along with their chef. These ingenious responses to keeping customers happy during the pandemic is a prime example of the constant reinvention restaurateurs had to do to survive. And that’s why it’s number one.