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Sep 10, 2012 10:22 AM

Home Meal Delivery Service in Minneapolis

I'm looking into buying some friends a few weeks worth of delivered meals from a service (not a one-shot delivery from a restaurant, but somewhere they would get frozen/refridgerated heat and eat meals) as a gift - i'd be there cooking for them myself if i was closer.

i wanted to see if any hounds back in the TCs had experience with any vendors locally who offer this service.

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  1. I know someone who swears by Annie's Cooking Tonight. Says it's completely awesome. I don't know about prices, but I'd guess it's not cheap.

    1. Can't speak to the food, but I would imagine there are lots of reviews on the Web for Seattle Sutton's. There also is a grocery delivery service called Colborn's Delivers which could deliver restaurant-quality frozen meals similar to what you would buy in a supermarket.

      11 Replies
      1. re: steve_in_stpaul

        COBORN'S is an excellent suggestion. I've used them.

        Lunds/Byerly's also has excellent delivery service. I've used them too. Look for "Deli" and then "Prepared Foods."

        1. re: ChillyDog

          I actually looked at an old thread about grocery delivery which mentioned Coburns (and lunds/byerlys). We live in NYC these days where FreshDirect is all the rage, and i know they provide reasonable quality/value/convenience ratios. Coborn's website seemed more than a little dated but if that ends up being my best option its good to know there are folks who havehad positive experiences.

        2. re: steve_in_stpaul

          Steve, can you share a little more about the frozen meals you've ordered from Coborns? I've ordered their groceries and found them pretty so-so. Limited selection, mostly, is problem. I'm curious about the restaurant quality frozen meals though!


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            It was 2 years ago, but I remember getting a Chicken parm and a lasagna from the heat-and-serve section from Coborns that were definitely edible. They weren't frozen, but they came ready to cook in the oven. I've tried to find them on the site currently and don't see the, so perhaps their inventory has changed.

            1. re: jaycooke

              I think I found it on their site under "Coborn's Diner", then cooked entrees. [ETA: okay, weird, I just went back into the site and now I can't find Coborn's Diner...instead, it appears to be under "Grocery Store" then, "Meals and Sides" then "Heat and Serve Entrees" ].

              They have about a half dozen "comfort food" items under the label "Last Minute Gourmet": Baked Ziti, Chicken Parm, Chicken Alfredo, Chicken Burritos, Enchilada Chicken Casserole, Lemon Butter Chicken w/Linguine, and Sesame Chicken+Jasmine rice.Maybe I'll try some of these once the cold weather settles in...

              Also, a bunch of meals from Hormel, and some BBQ (brisket, pulled pork, etc.) meats from Willingham's.

              Anybody know anything about Willingham's?

              For some reason, I didn't realize those Last Minute Gourmet items were fresh, not frozen, though it certainly makes sense for them to be fresh. Upon closer examination of the description, it seems they are fridge (not frozen) items to be consumed within 3 days.

              That's another complaint I have about Coborn's delivery, it's sometimes hard to tell what's going to show up fresh vs. frozen, which can really wreak havoc with meal planning.


            2. re: The Dairy Queen

              TDQ, I've never actually tried any of the "Diner" entrees mentioned here. I just know that it is possible to get some/most of the better frozen entrees available in most local grocery stores (Bertolli, etc., as opposed to, say, On-Cor). Not that they're necessarily culinary marvels, but if the OP just wants to be able to have delivered meals which require little further preparation, this is an alternative that won't cost an arm roast and a leg of lamb.

              My MiL is a fan of Coborn's (sorry about the earlier typo) for when she can't get out to do her grocery shopping. She's been very pleased with the quality of what she's ordered and the price is not out of line for all the service involved.

              1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                I agree that the quality of Coborn's products is good, though not exceptional. It's just not the same as selecting your own produce or your own cuts of meat, but that would be any delivery service, I guess.

                But, on the other hand, they do odd things like when you order three zucchini, bring you two monster ones and one puny one. Don't they assume this is likely all going in the same dish and you'll want it all to be the same size?

                I also wish you could order your meat, poultry and cheese by weight rather than whatever they have programmed into the website.

                But, those are smallish gripes. My bigger gripe is that their selection is pretty limited. It's not like shopping at a big metro area grocery store. It's like shopping at a grocery store in St. Cloud... ;-). For instance, limited yogurt selection, just whole and non-fat, but no 2%. That sort of thing.

                Still, it's a huge convenience and time saver.

                The only ready to go frozen entree I've ordered from them was D'Amico soup which was delicious, but crazy salty. I think I will try a couple of those Last Minute Gourmet entrees...they seem like they are a pretty good price for what they are.


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  TDQ, do report back if you get around to trying this stuff out. It may end up being easier to just have other friends (of these friends) make a trip to a co-op and drop stuff off for them. We're lucky to have a high concentration of folks right near each other back in msp, so I dont need to soley depend on a delivery service but its nice to know its an option.

                  1. re: tex.s.toast

                    Will do! I'll probably put an order in this weekend for next week's groceries...

                    If you do go the Coborns route, see if you can't find a coupon at retailmenot for X months (I think I got 4 months, or maybe it was 6) of free delivery on orders over $50. Otherwise, delivery charge is $5 for orders greater than $50, and $10 dollars for orders less than $50, as long as you aren't attempting to do "same day" delivery, which is more expensive.

                    Even so, one of those dinners is $9 or so. Even with tax and $10 delivery charge, it's going to cost you less than $25! If you can get the free delivery, well, that would just be a super deal!

                    It really is quite painless. You just look at the scheduled drop times (it's typically a window of 5 hours...) for the address in question and choose one. You don't have to be home to accept delivery. If you're not home, they just leave your items on your porch (or wherever you specify) in an insulated green bin.

                    The one hitch I see here is if you set up an account in order to deliver food to your friends, you may need to be the one to schedule (and pay for) a bin pickup if they aren't home and Coborn's ends up leaving the food on the porch in their green bins.


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Theyre expecting a child, so being home/letting them schedule things isn't so much the big deal. Having the time/energy to get to the store, purchase food, and prepare it for themselves, now thats another story.

                      Again, i found the web design on Coborn's just appaling, but was able to search for info regarding gift certificates and it indicated that yeah, they would have to create an accoutn and my gift would just appear as an unspent balance in that account.


                      1. re: tex.s.toast

                        I think that is a perfect, and super thoughtful, gift for someone with a new baby.

                        Be sure to direct them to that "X months delivery for free" coupon if you can find it at retailmenot. In addition to the Last Minute Gourmet entrees, Coborns will also deliver fresh salads. Also, pre-cut fruit. Unfortunately Coborns doesn't seem to make (or deliver) their own quiches, but they do deliver a couple of pre-made frozen quiches which make a nice breakfast for new parents. You can bake it up and keep it in the fridge and eat off it a slice at a time for a couple of days.

                        Coborns also has a "baby club". If you join the club and spend $150 on "baby items" over time, you get a $10 credit. I don't know what exactly constitutes a "baby item" (apparently, according to my purchasing history, Teddy Grahams and Cheerios count), but it might be worth checking out...

                        If you want to go another route, another thing I really like, which may or may not be of interest to you is Hells Kitchen's bison sausage bread and coffee. They used to do nice little gift arrangements, but I guess they don't do that anymore. Still what new parent doesn't need coffee? and that sausage bread would be good any time of day. (And, wow!, I see HK delivers now. Maybe just a gift certificate to HK!)

                        Anyway, good luck to your friends. All new parents should have such thoughtful friends!


          2. Hey, Tex. Good to hear from you again.

            This is probably a long shot, but Mississippi Market now has a delivery service. They have a hot bar deli, and put together good entrees every day that are made with high quality ingredients. They also have a surprising amount of frozen entrees and meals, again made with quality things, I think.

            If you called them and told them what you want to do, I think they could come up with a good strategy. And supplement it with fresh produce or dairy items (like great frozen desserts, for example) and everything else.

            6 Replies
            1. re: karykat

              This is fantastic news! Have you actually tried it?

              I've been poking around their website for a few minutes and I already like it (vs. some of my annoyances about Coborns). I can see they clearly distinguish between "fresh" and "frozen" in their meats, for instance, and give you the ability to write-in specific instructions. (though, I can't find where, exactly, you do that. In some "comments" field at the end of your order?)

              The delivery charge is $5 more than Coborns (I think it's the same price as Lunds/Byerlys delivery) and, unlike Coborns, you have to be home at time of delivery, but if the quality and selection is better, then it could be totally worth it.

              I see that (unlike Coborns) you do have to be home at the time of delivery. I do like that feature of Coborns that they just leave the stuff on your porch if you aren't home (unless you're having alcohol delivered) because it gives me the flexibility to go run an errand if I need to. But, as a practical matter, we don't like having the green Coborn's bins hanging around, so we almost always make sure we're home anyway.

              I don't really see what you mean about the surprising amount of frozen entrees and meals, though. The freezer meals seem to be your typical "Amy's" or pizza-type frozen meals that you'd typically fin din your co-op freezer. Am I overlooking something?

              ETA: Also, there's a difference in tipping policy:

              MM: Tipping is not expected but is always appreciated. You will have the option of adding in a tip at the time of delivery. All tips are split evenly between your Personal Shopper and Delivery Driver.

              Coborns: No tipping, please!

              I forgot to mention one nice feature of Coborns delivery and that is they give you these email delivery alerts to tell you when, approximately, your delivery will show up. They keep updating that estimate and you can check it online, which can be helpful for planning.

              From poking around the deli section of their website, I don't think Miss Market has the same kind of set up to serve meals to families the way Coborns does with it's "Last Minute Gourmet". Miss Market seems to have about a half dozen deli entrees that you order by weight, for the most part. It seems to me your best bet would be exactly as karykat suggests and call and ask how they can work with you. Mississippi Market seems more (compared to Coborn's) oriented towards providing a more personalized service.


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                This is all great - thanks for the exhaustive discussion of my options.

                Said friends are much closer to Seward Coop, so i may try to just call and be nice and explain the situation and see if they'd offer one-off delivery for a reasonable fee for a reasonable amount of groceries/food.

                as a slight tangent (and its obvious ive been away for a while) when did the second location of MS Market move down to W 7th?

                1. re: tex.s.toast

                  I guess MIss Market moved in 2010?

                  You know, tex, I think what you need is something like Rock-It Bicycle Delivery...

                  I only know of them because they are apparently doing the delivery for Hell's Kitchen now.

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I haven't tried the MM market delivery. But I've seen the new delivery vehicles in the parking lot so they seem to be underway.

                    I don't think you are overlooking anything in the freezer department. Just, like you say, Amy's and things like that.

                2. If you haven't ordered yet, I'd urge you to seriously consider Solo by Bonicelli ( Laura Bonicelli is the chef, and she cooks breakfast, lunch and dinners, prepackaged, and delivered to the doorstep twice a week. She uses organic and local ingredients when possible. One of her major sets of clients is new moms. It's great quality, and very tasty.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: foreverhungry

                    Does she ever do family sized portions? Her meals sound lovely, but I have to say, having a fridge full of a million little boxes would drive me bonkers.


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Good question. The meals are mostly vacuum sealed (except for salads and a couple other things), so I'd imagine that the portions could be doubled/tripled/whatevered for the household. While Laura usually has a set menu going into each week, she works with individuals around food allergies and tolerance issues, so customizing to fit your needs is something she does on a regular basis. It would definitely be worth contacting her about packaging meals family style. I'd be surprised if she wouldn't do that.

                      1. re: foreverhungry

                        +1. she is a responsive person. worth an email conversation.