In the wake of coronavirus closures that began in March, a bounty of makeshift pantries in restaurants sprung up to meet our needs, from house-made queso and butter to umami-bomb vegan XO sauce and hand-pounded Laotian jeow. Many have been going strong ever since, even as restaurants have reopened.
At restaurant and coffee-shop makeshift pantries I’ve purchased freshly ground almond butter, dashingly vibrant house-cultured vegetables, lush thick-strained yogurt, garlicky pesto to lavish, glistening, over hand-extruded pasta, jam, and cascarones eggs filled with confetti. The essentials.
Hospitality industry folk are a special breed. They soothe. They offer sustenance. They are providers. This is what they do.
They are also on the one hand easing the pressure on grocery stores, while also doing what they can to keep the lights on (however meager the source of income). It’s an invaluable boon for buyers, who want to support them, and in many cases by extension a web of farmers, ranchers, and local providers.
Here are some essential non-essentials-but-very-much-essentials from local provision providers.
Tribal All Day Cafe
Here, it’s a wealth of vegan-leaning house-made items, like organic almond butter, grain-free buckwheat-based granola, superfood energy balls, their extraordinary cashew-based vegan queso and jalapeño cashew cream cheese, their spiced jackfruit, and Tribal juice, as well as locally sourced staples like eggs, Empire bread, honey, coffee, Siete grain-free chips—and even four-to-a-box packs of natural wines.
Davis Street Espresso
Through its new CliffMade Pantry, the Bishop Arts coffee roaster is selling its coffee (both as beans and coldbrew growlers), levain bread, and carefully sourced Five Mile chocolate bars, but also half-dozen eggs, Mill-King milk, savory and sweet jams, house-made granola and yogurt, flour from Barton Springs Mill, toast kits (think house nut butter and banana) and batches of scone and cookie dough you can bake at home.
Khao Noodle Shop
The team tacked onto the menu a blast-from-the-past snack pack inspired by chef Donny Sirisavath’s childhood, calling it a Khaovenience Mart care package. The rotating cache includes things like instant coffee, ramen noodles, brands of Thai chips, pork floss, sweets from Meiji like Hello Panda or Pocky sticks. Now, Sirisavath has expanded the Khaovenience Mart to include carefully made Khao staples you can take home, like jars of his addictive, mortar-and-pestle-pounded jeow, pickled greens, lemongrass-fragrant jerky, and even bags of purple sticky rice or pork-filled buns that can be microwaved at home.
Petra and the Beast
The Old East Dallas cabinet of curiosities of fermentation and preservation—announced today their expanded Petra Market. And what was a modest way to pick up a few jars of mustard or pickled smoked maitake mushrooms along with an order, has become a cornucopia of neatly arranged Mason jars that’s now two dozen items deep, ranging from $3.50 (whipped onion conserva butter) to $30 (a 32-ounce jar of peach strawberry mostarda); from pantry staples of anise Szechuan chile oil or a vegan XO sauce to the seasonal show-stealing jars of gorgeous purple Beauregarde snow peas. It’s a condiment bonanza and a proper Southern larder that all ties in the local economy of farmers and ranchers.
Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie
In addition to freezer-to-oven cookies, scones, and viennoisserie (their croissants, decadent kouign amann, and others), they’re newly offering pints of ice cream.
At the downtown deli that functions as commissary operations for Headington Co., you’ll find fresh vegetable boxes and items from the butcher shop—from 7-pound chuck roasts to 15-pound wagyu rib-eyes or mounds of dry-aged ground beef—as well as whole rotisserie chickens, soups, cakes, and wine. Meal kits will send you home with all the makings for a meal, and the Essentials kit includes butter, flour, OJ, and a six-pack of toilet paper, too.
Georgie Butcher Shop
Here, the focus is meats, with grass-fed New Zealand beef, Texas Akaushi beef, or Australian ultra-premium Blackmore wagyu. But there’s also charcuterie, dairy, eggs, cheese, produce, pantry staples like lentils and olive oil, and jars of pickles and jams. Wine and beer, too. View the marketplace menu here.
Stocks & Bondy
With her culinary roots, Joanne Bondy has expanded from her soups and stocks to offering containers of organic already-cooked rice, seasoned black beans (cooked with onions and garlic), tubs of roasted garlic, curry-roasted cauliflower, or roasted cabbage for meal-prepping. Meats (they source beef from Foster Farm or Burgundy Pastures and pork from Hill Billy), avocados, grapefruit, the promise of house-baked focaccia (coming this weekend)—and TP.
Brown Bag Provisions
The new spot is turning out everything from their Milk + Patience dairy line (Greek and vegan yogurts as well as cultured butter), packages of house-cured bacon, pork breakfast sausage, and the pastrami that goes into their sandwiches, as well as fresh pasta (everything from spinach cappelletti to ravioli filled with lemon-kissed ricotta or pea pesto or sundried tomato). Plus jarred house-made pasta sauce, hard Italian cheese, jams, chips, Topo Chico, and anything they can jar up for you (Almond milk? Vanilla paste? Just ask). And Bresnan Bread & Pastry croissants.
Until recently, a to-go kit could include a pound of freshly made pasta, a pint of sauerkraut, spiced bread crumbs, hearth-cured bacon, chicken stock, a quarter pound of salumi, a half loaf of fresh heirloom-grain bread. Now, the kit is dialed back: still the pasta and its sauces, plus a pint of ice cream and dessert from Maggie Huff.
The Design District Italian restaurant is offering 8-ounce packages of house-made pasta—beautiful paprika-blushing creste de gallo, plus semolina casarecce, and buckwheat lumache—and sauces, including their sumptuous beef-bacon Amatriciana, a garlicky pesto, and both lobster and Parmesan cream. (Tip: best to preorder to ensure availability.)