Although there are seemingly endless restaurants to get takeout from in St. Louis, it is easy to return to old favorites again and again when deciding what to pick up for dinner. A new service hopes to break people out of their takeout ruts while supporting Black- and immigrant-owned businesses.
Starting Sept. 30, To the Table will offer weekly dinners with a twist: Diners don't have any idea of what food is headed their way. For $40 (plus a little more for tax and fees), customers will have a dinner for two delivered from a local restaurant during one of two timeslots; you can choose to have your meal delivered between 5:15 and 6:15pm, or between 6:15 and 7:15pm.
Colleen Durfee, an urban planner by trade, was inspired to start To the Table in St. Louis after seeing a similar program called Trust Fall in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio. But Durfee put her own spin on it; she wanted to help support restaurants with owners who are Black or immigrants to the U.S.
"I've always had an interest in small businesses, especially local, Black- and minority- and immigrant-owned businesses," Durfee says. "I think it'd be really helpful for the restaurants, but also just successful in general."
Customers can place their orders up to several days in advance, but Durfee will close orders a few days prior to delivery to allow the restaurant of the week to plan accordingly. She and close friends will begin as the delivery drivers, and deliveries are limited to St. Louis city and a few adjacent St. Louis County zipcodes. She hopes that, if the service takes off, she may be able to expand offerings to more than one day a week. That would also allow for a little more variance in the meals, especially when it comes to dietary restrictions. Currently, since meals are a surprise and not custom-ordered, Durfee cannot accommodate individual dietary restrictions. Those who have restrictions can reach out to inquire about whether a certain allergen will be included in the meal, and Durfee also hopes that she can have future meals that are exclusively vegan or vegetarian.
"It'll be great food that the restaurants really wanna showcase what they can do," she says.
The price point also allows for To the Table to pay full price for each meal, which Durfee says is the goal. While she might be able to get a deal on bulk ordering, she wants the restaurants to get as much of a boost from each night as possible. In an effort to further promote them, there will also be a social media push once all food gets delivered by To the Table.
"It's really just to make sure that they are being brought into the fold of how people are ordering takeout in St. Louis," she says.
Orders for To the Table can be placed on its website.
To the Table, tothetablestl.com