from left, pho grand servers anh tuan nguyen and arny wichaya and owner tami trinh photo by david kovaluk

Meal delivery service supporting minority-owned restaurants in St. Louis launches next week

To the Table is a new online meal ordering service that will highlight local Black- and immigrant-owned restaurants by offering “mystery meals” for two people every Wednesday. Delivery will be available to those residing in the city of St. Louis and adjacent zip codes starting next Wednesday, Sept. 30. 

“The ultimate mission is to elevate Black- and immigrant-owned restaurants in St. Louis and bring a larger market reach for them,” said founder Colleen Durfee. “So when future shocks come through, they have more people that they know will order from them.”  

Orders must be placed through the website by the Sunday or Monday prior, which will vary depending on the featured restaurant, and the meals are then delivered Wednesday nights in the time slot of your choice: 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. or 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Once orders are placed, the chef from that night’s restaurant chooses what dish they want to feature.  

“We work with the restaurant to develop a meal that they want to showcase, and our customers have no idea where the meal is coming from or what’s going to be in it,” Durfee said. “It’s all a surprise.” 

For now, To the Table can not accommodate food allergies or dietary restrictions. However, if there are vegan or vegetarian nights in the future, that information will appear on the site when placing an order. 

The aspect of To the Table sourcing from Black- and immigrant-owned restaurants is a defining factor of the business. This was a suitable fit between Durfee’s interests and the need she believes St. Louis has. 

“Equity has always been a focus of mine,” Durfee said. “I’m a huge proponent of the fact that we need to redistribute wealth in this country – one way to do that is to get more people to buy things from Black- and immigrant-owned restaurants and businesses and help them grow just as much as we would any other business. The pandemic has been affecting these communities and businesses more acutely, so this is a logical way to balance the scales from a business perspective and add more revenue on a weekly basis. If people really like what they get, why not have it be a go-to takeout restaurant?” 

Although the restaurants will be a surprise, Durfee divulged a few she hopes to feature, including Pho Grand, SweetArt and Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant.

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