Above: Pops of vivid color greet visitors to the Grateful Chef.
By Wini Moranville
Some west-side food lovers might have grumbled a bit last summer when the Grateful Chef moved from Sherman Hill to the south side. I sure did. Certainly I have nothing against any side of town, but an eight-minute round-trip drive for restaurant-quality takeout food beats a 28-minute round-trip drive any day.
I finally visited again recently, and I’m surely back in the fold.
Chef Brandy Lueders and her partner, John Cornish, offer dinners for pickup every Wednesday night. They post the menu on their website the week before; each week generally brings a choice of entrees, a salad and soup. You order by Monday at noon, and pick up your food on Wednesday. The meals are fresh and refrigerated, taking about 35 minutes to warm in the oven once you’re home. They’re popular, too—according to Lueders, the duo cooks for 175 to 220 families a week.
Options are far beyond predictable. Think balsamic glazed meatballs with cauliflower puree, rainbow crunch bowl with red-curry peanut dressing, and island black bean burgers with mango salsa, to name just a few recent weekly offerings.
The new location has a lot going for it, starting with extended hours for Wednesday pickups (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). The doors are also open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for limited grab-and-go lunch options, including sandwiches, soups, salads and side dishes.
A lunch favorite, according to Lueders, is the chickpea salad. “It’s vegan but has the similar flavors of a chicken or tuna salad, with fresh dill, pickles, mustard, red onions, etc.”
Other rotating options include cottage cheese power bowls (with vegetables, a nut-and-seed mix and dried fruit) and chia pudding with fresh fruit topping.
Did I mention that many of the options are healthful? Cornish is a certified holistic nutritionist, personal trainer and yoga instructor, and the couple’s commitment to good health combined with great taste shows.
Another nice touch: A few tables are available both indoors and out, so you can eat in for lunch, if you wish. Better yet, they offer pretty plates for serving the food, so you don’t have to eat out of to-go containers.
dsm magazine is the elegant and essential journal of local arts and culture. Each issue celebrates the breadth of culture in Central Iowa—from fashion to philanthropy, from dining and décor to lifestyle and social issues. Readers rely on dsm to report on Greater Des Moines’ civic growth and improvements, and they know when a new issue arrives, it will include fresh reasons to enjoy and take pride in the community we share. Our mission is not to flatter but to reflect Greater Des Moines at its best.