We’ve all been there. You’ve just brought your new baby home and are adjusting to a new normal. Or you broke your leg and according to your doctor, you need to stay off your feet. Sick children. Aging parents. Surgery. In and out of the hospital. The last thing you care about is cooking, but you likely have other mouths to feed at home, and coming up with a dinner plan isn’t high on the priority list.
How wonderful is it when a friend brings you a meal, especially in a time of need? There are some great organizational websites out there (check out mealtrain.com) that can help groups of people choose what dates and particular meals they would like to contribute to a friend in need. But don’t overthink it; one thing we’ve learned is if you know a friend is going through a tough time — whether it’s her parents, spouse or children who are ill — don’t hesitate to just drop off some food. It won’t go to waste. Either her family will gobble it up that same day, or she can pop it in the freezer until she needs it. In any case, it will be one less thing on her to-do list during a stressful time.
Of course, homemade is always nice. But don’t let your busy schedule get in the way of making someone’s day. With so many great cafes, delis and groceries offering top-notch to-go meals, bringing a meal to a friend in need is simple. Here are some of our favorite places to do just that!
3717 Lexington Road, Louisville, KY 40207 • (502) 896-6361
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Lotsa Pasta earns a place at the top of our list because of their gigantic freezer of to-go meals. Select from Italian classics like baked ziti or meat and cheese lasagna, or enjoy Mexican choices like spicy vegetable quesadillas or beef and bean burritos. You’ll also find dozens of ravioli choices, such as roasted chicken and tomato ravioli, and plenty of vegetarian options as well. Lotsa Pasta also carries various sauces and breads, so in 10 minutes you can leave the store with a complete meal in a bag, ready to drop off at a friend’s home.
Click here for area locations
Hours at all locations: Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Paul’s Fruit Market also carries a terrific selection of refrigerated, frozen and heat-and-serve meals. In the refrigerated case, you can find half and whole quiches, salads, pizzas and small casseroles. (A hot brown casserole was available when we checked. Yum!) Paul’s also has a more limited selection of Lotsa Pasta items in the freezer section, mainly ravioli and small pizzas. Lastly, if you plan on delivering the meal directly to your friend and do not need the frozen entrée option, Paul’s has a rotating menu of ready-to-serve meals such as meatloaf, beef tenderloin, salmon, twice-baked potatoes and various salads.
3909 Chenoweth Square, Louisville, Kentucky 40207 • (502) 893-2324
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Cheddar Box in Chenoweth Square is a Louisville favorite for sandwiches, dips and desserts. Take one look into their refrigerated case of homemade casseroles, meats and vegetables, and you’ll likely be bringing dinner home to your house as well as to your friend in need! The menu rotates, but the day we visited, we found delicious vegetable side dishes like Brussels sprouts, asparagus and broccoli, homemade chicken and tuna salad, mashed potatoes and creamy casseroles. Don’t forget to grab some cookies as well!
1114 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204 • (502) 584-DELI (3354)
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Don’t forget about Stevens & Stevens deli, located behind Ditto’s on Bardstown Road. Their extensive soup, salad and sandwich menu is available for takeout (a great option for lunch!), and if you’re looking for something besides a casserole for your family in need, you might find it here. Their famous tomatoes al fresco salad (bow tie pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, basil, toasted almonds and signature balsamic dressing) will delight, and a quart of homemade chicken noodle soup will nourish.
1147 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204 • (502) 451-0377
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
La Peche Gourmet to Go brings the delicious farm-to-table tastes from next door at Lilly’s Bistro, the venerable Louisville establishment, to a convenient carry-out option perfect to bring to a friend. Check the website for weekly entrée specials (like mouth-watering beef bourguignon or their famous shrimp and grits), or choose from barbecue, deviled eggs or an array of side salads. La Peche also always has a stocked dessert case, so you can add something sweet to brighten your friend’s day.
Click here for Louisville locations; hours vary by location
Zoe’s Kitchen specializes in light yet filling Mediterranean fare, which might be a welcome relief if your friend has been subjected to bland hospital food or inundated with cheesy casseroles and lasagnas. They offer quick and convenient online ordering and family meals that serve between three and six people. You can choose between entrées like chicken or veggie kabobs, chicken orzo pomodorina, or chicken or spinach roll-ups, then add sides like Greek salad or hummus and pita bread. Zoe’s has three locations in Louisville: downtown on West Jefferson, at The Vogue shopping center, and at The Paddock Shops.
605 W. Main St., Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 883-3398
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Recently, the tasty eatery Atlantic No. 5, located just west of The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, began selling items from their new General Store. Artfully packaged, creative lunch options include a loaf of homemade bread with small-batch peanut butter and a jar of preserves for a “grown-up” PB&J or a dinner option including homemade marinara sauce, locally made pasta and a loaf of Italian bread. The folks behind the counter can also wrap up any of their sandwiches for a grab-and-go meal, making this a sure bet if you’re only feeding one or two friends.
1805 Rudy Lane, Louisville, KY 40207 • (502) 895-7593
10480 Shelbyville RoadLouisville, KY 40223 • (502) 244-1844
Hours at both locations: Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Of course, the obvious choice for picking up a meal would be at any local grocery: Kroger, Valu Market, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or, our favorite for to-go tastiness, The Fresh Market. Fresh Market specializes in fancier, gourmet groceries, and their ready-to-eat salad, soup and sandwich selection will give you plenty of choices. They carry dozens of soups, freshly prepared sushi, twice-baked potatoes, wraps, sandwiches, empanadas and an entire case of warm-and-serve meats, fish and vegetables. Choose an entree, add some bakery-fresh bread or a dessert, include some fruit or a salad, and in one bag you’ll be able to give your friend a true feast.
So if you know a friend who has been affected by illness or if you’d like to give the new parents a night off, don’t hesitate — just do it! Hearty and healthy to-go options can be found at many cafes, delis and grocery stores around town, making it easy to provide the family in need with a delicious meal. Your thoughtfulness will be appreciated!
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