A Dream Solution To What’s For Dinner
For many, weekday dinners are a drag, a teeter-tottering between takeout and leftovers that’s usually a disappointment. Gone are the days where we expect a home-cooked meal in the middle of the week, too hectic are lives. Or are they?
Dream Dinners is a west-coast concept that made its way to Ohio almost nine years ago. It’s a prep-and-store approach, where customers create their own dinners for freezing. The idea grew out of the desire to help those working moms with not enough time in the day, but it soon grew into the ideal answer for a lot of people’s dinner dilemmas.
Here’s how it works: guests pre-order their meals at the store or online, then set an appointment time to come in and make those meals at the store, located at 31 Cherri Park Square in Westerville. The staff at Dream Dinners preps the work station with everything customers need for two to three different meals, and when the time comes, consumers come in and put it all together.
The space is set up like a professional kitchen, and each station is outfitted with the necessary ingredients for the meals requested. Upon entry, clients are given cooking instructions and labels to go along with their order sheet, and with either the assistance of one of the Dream Dinners staff members, or on their own, create their favorite dinners, pack it up for transport, and leave happy customers.
There are two different meal sizes offered: three-serving and six-serving. Dream Dinners insists on a minimum of 36 servings per order, which patrons can mix-and-match, and which will set them back about $160-$190, depending on the meal. This works out to a cost of roughly $4-$5 per serving, which is less than what most of us spend nightly on average.
The first appointment will take newbies about an hour to an hour and a half as they learn the lay of the land, and how everything works (it’ll take less time the more familiar it becomes). If you don’t have that kind of time, or patience, Dream Dinners also offers Meals For You (MFY), where the staff will prepare your dinner of choice, and all you have to do is collect.
Appointments typically run from Wednesdays to Saturdays, with the occasional session on Tuesday evenings. When you order your dinners, you must choose one of the available times to come in or for MFY pick up. On Certain Fridays, look for wine, rum punch, and appetizers to be served at their Couples Date Night session.
The recipes from which you can choose are from a stock the company has, and it includes classics like Chicken Marsala and Pot Roast, but also innovative dishes, like Sesame-Glazed Meatballs and Golden Shrimp with Parmesan Risotto. The lineup changes weekly as availability and demand fluctuate.
So, this holiday season, look for Maple-Glazed Pork Roast, Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes, and Holiday Roasted Turkey, among other festive fares. Most meals come with rice, pasta, or potatoes, but you can also add one of Dream Dinners’ signature Chef Touched Sides, like Key Lime Corn, Parmesan Crusted Breadsticks, or Gourmet Chocolate Chip Cookies to round out the dinner experience. The sides serve 3-6, and cost anywhere from $3 – $5.
Dream Dinners offers special savings for volume orders of more than 72 servings, and customers can sign up for Dream Rewards, so they can earn discounts as they come back time and time again. Jon Mix, owner of the Cherri Square store, calculates that guests can usually save about 20 hours and $200 a month using this service, as both time and waste is spared.
“Ideally, our service is intended for family use, but it really does work for anyone who doesn’t have the time, patience, or know-how to make home-cooked meals,” shares Mix. “We do all the chopping, shopping, and prep. Our staff is on-hand to answer guest questions… and to clean up after the guest, which I think is one of the best benefits of using our store.”
Most Dream Dinner meals will last six months to one year in the freezer, and is not only an ingenious way to feed yourself and your family, but it makes a great gift for the season. So for a look at current and future menus, to place your order, or set an appointment time, visit www.dreamdinners.com.