Want real food without spending hours in the kitchen? You have choices.
By ANDREW GAUG
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN — Two local food providers offer customers something they can’t buy at a store — time.
Super Suppers and Blackstone Gourmet, both in Boardman, are reaching out to busy people who want good, healthful meals but don’t have the time to shop and prepare meals themselves.
The differences between the two are a matter of preference.
For people more interested in a hands-on approach, Super Suppers, 1419 Boardman-Canfield Road, offers customer-assembled meals from their monthly list of 12 entrees created by the Dallas-Fort Worth Culinary School.
“We want them spending time with their families while still motivating them in the kitchen,” owner Gordy Jelic-Lettieri said.
While Super Supper customers may assemble meals or buy pre-made meals to cook at home, Blackstone Gourmet, 6810 Market St., delivers the food cooked and ready to eat.
“We ask them to skip [cooking their meals] and call us when [they’re] hungry,” owner Jim Crawford said.
Super Suppers deals with more ethnic-based food such as Asian and Italian. Blackstone Gourmet offers more traditional food such as chicken Marsala, beef, pork and sandwiches as well as seafood and pasta, among other items.
How they came about
Both services started from the urge to do something different for the area.
With shelves lined with pictures of her family and vacations, Jelic-Lettieri wants Super Suppers’ customers to feel at home while they’re preparing their meals. She said she and her husband gave the place a design different from other Super Suppers franchises.
“Anything for them to get to know me as a person,” she said.
Walk-ins are always accepted, and help is always available for those who aren’t handy in the kitchen but still want to assemble their entrees.
“I didn’t want to turn away someone just because they didn’t know the proper requirements,” Jelic-Lettieri said.
This is the first time she’s owned a business, but after working in management with the two creators of the Sharon-based Quaker Steak and Lube, she felt the drive to own her own food service.
“I had an excellent experience to see two wonderful businessmen take an idea and see it explode,” she said. “And I knew I could sell [Super Suppers] to the public because of its wonderful choices.”
Crawford had experience owning a few small businesses while teaching at Ohio University, but it wasn’t until he had a conversation with his son, Adam, and son-in-law, Perry Riddick, that the idea for Blackstone Gourmet came up.
“We were commiserating that all we could get delivered was pizza,” Crawford said.
Adam Crawford and Riddick both had experience in the food business — one as a chef, the other as a caterer — and thought opening a place where people could get fresh food delivered to them would be a great alternative.
Crawford doesn’t use the word gourmet just for show.
“We deliver a meal that’s gourmet in quality, containers and temperature,” he said.
Time and quality
Both Super Suppers and Blackstone Gourmet want to save people time without sacrificing quality.
Assembling an entree at Super Suppers, Jelic-Lettieri said, takes about five to 10 minutes. It can be stored in a freezer for up to two months. The store also offers pre-assembled entrees for people on the go.
Crawford said Blackstone Gourmet can prepare a four-course meal in 45 minutes, so it could be delivered within an hour of ordering.
“And it’s as good or better than anything you could get at home,” he said.
Both also offer spirits to go with their food.
Blackstone Gourmet can deliver wine or beer with its orders, while Super Suppers, in conjunction with neighboring winery Vino Novello, offers a wine already picked out to go with the customer’s entree.
Crawford hopes to add more stores as the idea of delivery meals catches on, while Dallas-based Super Suppers will open its eighth Ohio franchise in Perrysburg soon. The company has more than 200 locations nationwide.
The local owners say they want to stay grounded in making good meals for their customers.
“As long as there’s two-career people in a family, we want to provide not only meals, but quality also,” Crawford said.
Jelic-Lettieri said she was brought up in a family “where it’s all about the food and bringing the family together. We want to instill that with our customers.”