With coronavirus social distancing guidelines keeping hungry customers from gathering en masse in his normally bustling restaurant, Colonial House Restaurant & Bar owner Kevin Beshara knew he had to think outside the To-Go Box to keep his business going.
“The environment right now is critical. We’re not doing business as normal,” Beshara said.
“We’ve shut down our dining room, so take-out, curbside and delivery have become the way to get our food into customers’ hands,” he said.
Like many restaurant owners, Beshara’s full menu is available for pick-up and delivery from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from the Mount Rushmore Road restaurant.
Beshara, however, has taken the meals to go concept a step further by reviving a staple from the 1960s — the TV dinner.
Colonial House chefs and staff have repackaged many of Beshara’s favorite lunch and dinner entrees (and a few breakfast items) in a re-heatable container that can be taken home and enjoyed that night or frozen for later.
His first challenge was to find a suitable container allowing the dinners to be reheated. He found a recyclable bowl with a clear lid to replace the traditional foam box used for to-go and “doggy-bag” leftovers.
With so many eateries going to curbside, take-out and delivery, demand for the foam boxes has soared, he said.
Most of his TV dinners, which range from $7.99 to $9.99. can be reheated in a microwave oven in four minutes.
Some dishes require the food to be turned midway through reheating, or to have a small amount of water added to steam vegetables.
“Most people know how to run a microwave,” he said.
Since he began selling the TV dinner reboot a couple weeks ago, his lasagna and southern fried chicken entrees have emerged as customer favorites.
“What Rapid Citians need right now is comfort food,” he said.
“We didn’t cut back on the quality, these are the same items we sell in-house,” he said.
Beshara is also giving back, he said, by providing 50 sack lunches, including a sandwich, fruit, chips, cookie and juice box, daily to the YMCA on Monday through Friday.