Courtesy of Kitchenette
It’s the end of the workday. You’re heading home with full intentions to watch a bunch of TV and not do anything productive, but you realize you’re still going to have to eat, and a third frozen pizza this week just isn’t going to cut it. You want real food, right now. What do you do? You stop by the South Side's newly opened Kitchenette, where hearty to-go-only meals like roasted chicken, salmon cakes, meatballs and sweet potatoes au gratin await your hasty pickup.
Kitchenette is the brainchild of co-owners Kirsten and Ted Perkinson and Cynthia Webb, who brought us 821 Bakery & Café and Mainly Pasta. The Westover Hills dinner takeout location, which opened last week at 1405 Prince Arthur Road, is the second leg of Kitchenette, the bagel and muffin trailer that's found huge success at the South of the James farmer’s market since January. The new, expanded brick-and-mortar menu is big on comfort food, and because only you know how badly you need to be comforted, you can buy it by the pound. They won’t judge you if you need a pint of chicken corn chowder and four pumpkin rolls. Of course, it’s also ideal fare to share with family, bring to ailing friends or to serve at impromptu dinner parties.
The format is simple: The new takeout spot offers a cold case with pre-made foods at breakfast and dinner, plus hot dinner entrées available later in the evening. While dinner pickup begins at 3 p.m., you can stop by any time after 5:30 p.m. for nightly specials hot and fresh from the kitchen, such as Asian glazed salmon over spicy kale or pork loin stuffed with spinach, feta and red peppers.
“We try to use as much local stuff as we can get our hands on, since we have a relationship with the farmers at the market," says Kirsten. "Most of the vegetables we’re getting are from in or around Richmond; we use Cabbage Hill [Farm], and we sell Billy Bread and Cupertino's bagels. We’ll bake our own bread eventually.” Her habit of bringing meals to sick friends and family was the seed that grew into the business idea: For the last 18 years, Kristen has packed up meal after meal for loved ones, and once she started getting requests, it snowballed. At one point, a few years in, her kids started calling what she she was doing "Food for Families," and it evolved into a concrete business idea.
Two things happened to make the idea a reality. First, Kirsten’s husband, Ted, found a dream-come-true Craiglist ad. “He’d always wanted a teardrop trailer; he talked about it for 12 years," she remembers. "This Craigslist ad said something like, ‘Anybody want this old fixer-upper for $300? If not, we’re going to blow it up and put the video on YouTube.’ And we thought, if we can’t get that thing and make it work, we’re just not going to do it. The drive back was like a Chevy Chase movie, everything imploded, but it turns out that it was perfect. It had a good metal frame, and Cindy and Ted and [our friend Blake] restored that thing piece by piece.”
That trailer is now parked at the Martin Agency every Tuesday from 11:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch, open to the public, and at the South of the James Market every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Breakfast pickup at the Westover Hills spot is available Tuesday through Friday from 7 to 11 a.m., with dinner pickup available Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 8 p.m.
Kitchenette is now open at 1405 Prince Arthur Road.