April 29, 2013 at 12:10 PM ET
Have you ever had a really fantastic meal when you were on vacation? The kind of meal that you keep thinking about after you’ve returned home and wish you could have whenever you wanted? Well thanks to brothers Brad and Ken Koenig, now you don’t have to travel to San Francisco to enjoy first-rate fish stew or hop a plane to Hyannis to have lobster bisque. Through their website FoodyDirect.com, customers can have regional delicacies delivered right to their door. Call it takeout with a twist.
The idea for FoodyDirect.com was spawned after the Koenigs had a top-notch meal at Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami. When Brad returned home to the West Coast, he recalls thinking how fantastic it would be to serve Joe’s cuisine at an upcoming Super Bowl party. Fortunately, Joe’s does ship their seafood and when it arrived, it was as fresh as if it had been caught and plated moments before.
“That was our epiphany,” Brad told TODAY.com. “We started to research what other eateries ship their food, and while a lot do, many of them had really crummy websites or were hard to find.”
So the Koenigs decided to create a clearinghouse site where users could log on and order the best regional specialties in one place.
FoodyDirect.com launched in October 2012 and currently has 30 restaurant partners, with more being added periodically. The Koenigs have a rigorous vetting process: they not only taste-test a potential partner’s offerings onsite—many already have a following or have been featured on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” or as one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things”—but also evaluate the cuisine’s quality after it’s been shipped.
“Sometimes we’ll find the food is fantastic everywhere we go, but not all of them package it as well as they serve it in their restaurants,” Ken said. FoodyDirect’s orders arrive either fresh or frozen, depending on the item’s perishable nature, with serving instructions. Most items usually arrive within two days and depending on how far away you are from the purveyor—say you live in New Jersey and crave crab cakes from Maryland—your shipping costs could be less than $10.
The site lets users search by categories such as dinner party, gluten-free and meals for 2 to 4. Among the Koenig’s favorites: buffalo wings from Duff’s in Buffalo, key lime bundt cake from We Take the Cake in south Florida and bagels and lox from Sable’s in New York City.
They were kind enough to send me ribs and pulled pork from Central BBQ in Memphis and cioppino in a bucket from Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing, Calif., and I could not believe fresh and delicious everything was.
"What Seamless and GrubHub do for local delivery, we’re doing for regional and national delivery, but with a highly curated selection of restaurants and bakeries across America,” Ken said. Now this is a long-distance relationship we can get down with!
Get more tips and recipes for seasonal eats atMade By Michelle.