What do you do when you own a restaurant group and don’t have recipes for some Hanukkah stapes? You borrow from the family recipe book, of course.
David Benowitz, whose Craft & Crew restaurant group, which operates The Block in St. Louis Park, Pub 819 in Hopkins, and Stanley’s and The Howe in Minneapolis, is offering a take-and-bake Hanukkah menu for curbside pickup for Dec. 13, including his wife Cassie’s matzah ball soup recipe.
“We wanted to simplify the menu so our chefs and restaurants who haven’t made this before could execute,” he said. “The brisket we’ve done for other meals, but the biggest thing in terms of new for us is latkes and the soup. It was pretty spot on, but I’ll be stopping by to do a final test to make sure there aren’t any last-minute changes.
“It’s the first time we’ve done this, and we have to make sure people are satisfied.”
The Craft & Crew restaurants are some of a handful of restaurants and bakeries that are planning some specialty menu or items for Hanukkah. As the pandemic and resulting shutdowns have been extremely hard on the restaurant industry and all the people who earn a living from it, Benowitz hopes that adding special, prix fixe menus will allow restaurants like his to come through this.
“Being creative and fun is part of our core values,” he said. “I’ve been telling the staff: ‘yes, it sucks.’ But we have to make adjustments and pivot quickly, and not think of ourselves as a typical restaurant. Pivoting on short notice is what it’s about right now.”
Jim Cameron, the general manager of BLVD Kitchen & Bar – which is also taking pre-orders on a Hanukkah to-go meal – has tried holiday-related, curbside takeout meals for Easter, Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving, and being creative has been important for the business.
“Over the course of the year, I’ve changed or altered plans more than any time in my life,” he said. “It really comes out of what are the things we can do to keep business moving?”
Like Benowitz, BLVD doesn’t have the items on its Hanukkah menu regularly – and Cameron admits that his chefs were caught a bit off guard by the concepts.
“The hesitation on any sort of holiday meal is to get what people are looking for,” Cameron said. “It’s not the over-the-top wow food. It’s what did grandma make. People want memories of their grandparents or parents cooking. We’re hoping to recreate that as best as possible.”
Besides the food, Benowitz’s restaurants also offer Hanukkah themed cocktails kits to pick up with the dinner. Dani Fream, one of the Craft & Crew general managers took a few ideas from Benowitz and created “Drop It Like A Top” and the Sufganiyot martini.
Other Hanukkah to-go options:
- Birch’s on the Lake has a Hanukkah meal that serves 4-6 people for $265. Check their website for the complete menu and how to order.
- Valley Pastries in Golden Valley now has their sufganiyot available for order with either lemon, strawberry or apple filling, as well as the Hanukkah cookie decorating kits. Order online, and make sure you select “Schedule for Later” to choose your specific date and time for pick up
- Common Roots Café in Minneapolis is taking pre-orders on sufganiyot and latkes from Dec. 10-13. Preorder by noon the day before you want the items at their website, for either pick up or delivery (if available to your location).
- Prime Deli, the Kosher restaurant in St. Louis Park, is selling latkes for pick up – the last day of which is Dec. 17. To order please email [email protected].
- Yum Kitchen and Bakery in St. Louis Park and Minnetonka have a Hanukkah to go option for pick-up. Check their website for ordering details and product availability.
The list is not meant to be exhaustive. For more user-generated options, check out our Facebook post.