From the Chef’s Kitchen to Your Table
Denver’s latest online delivery service
Photos by Aaron Colossi
“Every day I ask myself three questions: 1. What would my family want to eat? 2. What do I feel like eating? And 3. What do people want to eat that would reheat well?” This is how über restaurateur Frank Bonanno describes his thinking process as culinary director for Denver-based SupperBell, which offers chef-prepared, restaurant-styled dinners, ordered online or via app and delivered to your home or office the same day.
“We started this for busy people who have a distinguished appreciation for fine dining,” says CEO Dave Fantz, who launched the company last year along with a group of Denver entrepreneurs. “Many are also parents who know how hard it can be to get an impressive meal to the table, especially in a hurry.” In addition to families, among their growing number of repeat customers are attorneys, doctors, and office professionals used to working long past dinner hour.
SupperBell doesn’t have membership requirements. Customers simply log in at supperbell.com or use the free SupperBell app and select among the 12 to 14 dishes on that week’s menu. There is something for everyone: steak salad for the Paleos, vegetarian and gluten-free options, classic pasta carbonara for the purists, and smaller-portioned kids meals. Bonanno says, “Our kids dishes are real-people food, only less of it; lots of adults order them, and we keep that in mind when we create them.” Their highbrow version of Pigs in a Blanket is often sold out.
— Executive Chef Cristino Griego
Orders need to be placed before 3 p.m. for same-day service, and payment is entered upon ordering. Meals arrive between 5 and 8 p.m., within a customer-specified one-hour window. There’s little left for you to do but reheat and plate. Advance planners can order as early as Sunday night for the upcoming week.
Bonanno, whose empire includes Mizuna, Luca, Bones, Osteria Marco, and Green Russell, approaches cooking for delivery with a restaurant mentality, employing the same purveyors, efficiencies, and plating aesthetics. The quality of the ingredients remains high, but because there is significantly less overhead than for an actual restaurant, the cost savings are passed to the diner. Dinner options are priced affordably, ranging from $6 to $14 per dish, and to $28 for family-size meals.
But what really differentiates SupperBell from typical takeout food is their use of a blast chiller. This piece of equipment stops the cooking process just before the perfect moment, rapidly reducing temperature to seal in flavor and texture. Perfection is achieved when you reheat in your oven or microwave. The effect is remarkable with pasta, which typically falls apart and becomes mushy upon reheating.
Bonanno, SupperBell’s Executive Chef Cristino Griego, and a team of veteran cooks develop menus based on hard data (restaurant trends, repeat orders) as well as culinary inspiration. Some of Bonanno’s signature restaurant dishes in SupperBell’s rotation include Chipotle-Cranberry Glazed Pork Chop, Braised Short Ribs, Teriyaki Salmon with Sesame Soba Noodles, Kansas Style Pork Ribs, and Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken.
So far, high retention rates offer a positive portent. This year the company hopes to broaden delivery to more zip codes north of town and expand its dessert offerings, pasta dishes, and customer feedback channel. In the meantime, when you need a night off from that panic-inducing what’s-for-dinner question, download the SupperBell app and exhale.