We didn’t feel like cooking at Easter. With Michigan under a stay-at-home order and the grocery stores running out of certain items, there was no certainty I could find anything we still serve at our lavish family brunch.
So after seeing a Knight’s Kitchen promotion on Facebook, I decided to order an Easter dinner.
Knight’s Kitchen is a branch of the popular Knight’s Steakhouse restaurants in Ann Arbor that are often teeming with city dwellers and parents of University of Michigan students.
The meal was a good deal. For $ 18, we had enough baked ham, au gratin potatoes, and glazed carrots. I also added two pieces of Key Lime Pie for dessert.
Many Ann Arborites made the same decision, as Knight’s Easter dinner quickly sold out. And, there was so much food that we were able to spread it over two days.
Now restaurants across the country, from those run by celebrity chefs to fast food outlets, are promoting similar family meals in an effort to stay afloat amid COVID-19.
Prices range from $ 10 to $ 100 or more, depending on who is cooking. The offers usually include enough food for at least two people, and often four.
Sometimes the food is ready to eat. Other options are meal kits that provide ingredients that people can prepare at home.
According to Restaurant Business, a trade publication that covers the restaurant industry, the demand for family meals has increased as people are stuck at home, wasting energy in the kitchen and outgrowing pizza.
One of the hottest names to try this approach is Fat Rice in Chicago. Monday, New York Times
reported that Fat Rice has permanently closed its famous restaurant, which serves imaginative Asian fusion cuisine.
Instead, Fat Rice reopened on Wednesday as the Super Fat Rice Mart. These are promotional meal kits for $ 99.99 that include the ingredients to prepare meals for two adults.
Fat Rice has a lot of company in Chicago, where a number of restaurants have gotten into the big meal game. In March, Lettuce Entertain You, one of the city’s most prominent restaurant groups, launched Lettuce Take Care Of You.
Several of the group’s restaurants offer meals that will feed multiple people, and there are cocktail programs as well.
In Ann Arbor, Zingerman’s Deli sells meals at home and participates in ZingShare, a weekly $ 95 box that features ingredients from nine different Zingerman companies.
The ingredients can be used individually or combined to prepare meals.
The box set available for May 1 includes a steak and stilton pie, a baguette, a mini Brie, rice, cookies, brittle cashews and a carafe of cold beer.
In New Orleans, a number of well-known names offer family dining, including Dooky Chase’s, Galatoire’s, Toup’s Meeatery, and Willa Jean.
Indeed, think of a city, and you will be able to find restaurants which participate in the trend.
At the other end of the price scale, fast food and casual fast food chains have leapt to promote their family dining offerings, something they’ve always specialized in.
There are deals from chicken giants KFC, Chik-fil-A and Popeyes, as well as places like Chili’s and Red Lobster. You can see a list of 10 here.
One problem diners face, however, is uncertainty.
While researching this story, I discovered that some of the deals available last month were already gone.
Some places are taking a break, while restaurants that originally decided to close when stay-at-home orders were implemented have since reopened with limited menus.
As we saw with the Knight’s Easter Dinner, some of these deals sell out quickly. We didn’t move fast enough last weekend to enjoy Knight’s BBQ dinner.
So, before planning your favorite place for your family dinner, it’s best to check their social media or webpage to see if they’re open. You will want to look at the menu and also find the deadline by which you will need to place an order.