“We wanted to do something fun and a little quirky, but still honoring the holiday traditions, during what has been a not very fun and very different year. We took the traditional Thanksgiving meal and ‘tiki-fied’ it a bit, creating a teriyaki glazed turkey for the turkey option, making the cranberry sauce a mango-cranberry relish, using Hawaiian rolls for the stuffing, and a purple mashed potato with gochujang sauce,” said Lily’s co-owner Emily Mendenhall. “As always, we wanted to include some stellar wines, including organic and biodynamic options, at great price points, so $14 for organic chardonnay, $15 for a great California cabernet, and $16 for a very nice sparkling prosecco. We are hoping folks can make their pick up at Lily’s a one-stop-shop for their holiday meal to minimize the need to go out to multiple places and still keep the price reasonable.”
Mendenhall says she hopes the public will consider supporting local businesses for their Thanksgiving meals, as a way for businesses and their staff to catch up on bills and do what they love most — cook delicious meals. “Carryout is accounting for about 50 percent of our business right now and that will likely continue to go up, so ordering these meals (and any carryout and tipping) really goes a long way and is greatly appreciated,” said Mendenhall.
“We’re trying to give our supporters as many options as possible to dine with us whether at home or in the restaurant. One of the most recent programs we started was our cook-at-home meal kit,” said Warfe. “The concept was inspired from many of the big company meal kits that you can have delivered, but this is a way to be interactive and on a local level. It’s fun for us, a great opportunity for our guests to learn something and have restaurant-quality food in their home. It helps keep us in business through the cold months, especially since our dining room is significantly smaller with spaced-out tables and we’ll be losing patio seating when it’s too cold.”
Each kit comes with a typed-up recipe with easy-to-follow instructions and a cooking demo video that a home cook can follow along with. The restaurant announces a new kit on social media and customers can order them from the website. Each week, the kit is priced based on cost with affordable price points always being a focus.
Lily's Dayton announced Shepherd's Pie as one of its recent meal kits.
“Every Thursday we have a meal kit for pick up that is chef quality, but that also has some components for folks to finish at home and teaches some skills. We do a lot of the heavy lifting — slow cooking, sauce work, things like that, and then have assembly and a few other parts for people to work through. We create a written recipe and a video tutorial for each recipe because we know folks learn differently. We also have been making sure to have vegetarian and gluten free options for our friends with dietary restrictions. They have been really successful,” said Mendenhall.
“The reaction has been great and puts wind in our sails. As a chef, I want more than anything to feed people. With the pandemic, it’s been very hard on the industry with an understandable lack in business. We can’t pack the house like we used to. It forces those of us businesses that want to survive, to be creative and find new ways to generate enough profit to keep the lights on. Not just from a monetary perspective, but it’s important for us to nurture our passion and satisfaction for providing experiences and great meals to our guests,” said Warfe.
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HOW TO GO
What: Lily’s Bistro
Where: 329 E. Fifth St., Dayton
More info: (937) 723-7637 or www.lilysbistro.com
Consider ordering: The grits and grillades, short rib bao buns, crab cake mac, and stir fries, and for those who love a cocktail consider ordering a Hurricane.