We really like the idea of making dinner after work; the pride of making something with one's own hands, the "health" aspect of using fresh ingredients, the Instagram bragging rights. But after a day slogging through TPS reports, steeling yourself to face the insanity of Trader Joe's or Whole Foods or even the local grocery store has us clicking the Seamless bookmark. Luckily for the tired, lazy or harried home cook, a pop-up store coming to Union Square Station next week will afford you the thrill of making a meal while allowing you to skip the supermarket.
A newish startup called Fresh Routes will be parking in the mezzanine level of the station beginning next Thursday, selling "dinner kits" with all the ingredients to make a meal at home. Each kit includes "fresh vegetables, a bold spice blend and step-by-step instructions for preparing a seasonal entree." The company says recipes are from local chefs, including alums of big kitchens like Jean-Georges and Momofuku Ssam, with materials sourced from local spots like Hot Bread Kitchen and Satur Farms on Long Island.
Kits in the current rotation include meals like BBQ Chicken Skillet Salad with greens, avocado and other veggies; SoHo Rice Bowl with black beans, peppers and DYI guacamole; and a Tuscan Cannellini Ragout with spaghetti, olives, tomatoes and white beans. Fruits and veggies don't come pre-chopped—you're not getting off that easy!—and you'll have to BYO salt, pepper and cooking oil, but otherwise everything's included and ready for the stovetop.
Until now, the kits could (and still can) be ordered online and delivered anywhere in Manhattan; the USQ pop-up will operate Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through the rest of the summer. Kits average around $34 each and include four portions, so you can feed your significant other or your roommates or at the very least have some leftover eats. Side salads, appetizers and desserts are also available to purchase and the company says there will be at least one vegetarian/vegan option available in the day's selection.