Every year, for the last 20 years, we have offered Thanksgiving To-Go from The Farm of Beverly Hills. We start about a month ahead with emails, postings, advertising (print when it was big and now Facebook/Instagram/Twitter as well) and cards on the tables along with the check presenters reminding everyone to order early. All orders are pre-paid so that the person just comes in, announces their name, goes through what’s packed for them and leaves. It has been a great success for us and people start calling to check on the date for ordering even before it’s ready for “publication.”
We close the Beverly Hills location that day for pick up only. You can’t believe how many calls we get each year from people just looking for a place to have breakfast that morning. They’re so excited to have us answer the phone and then so VERY disappointed to hear we aren’t really open!
I have to admit that the first several years were a bit disorganized (it got better as the years went on thank goodness). Chef would have been at the restaurant all night cooking everything with the Turkeys going in the oven VERY early in the morning so they would be freshly cooked by the time we were set to open the doors for pick up. I would get to the restaurant no later than 6am (pick up hours were always 10am-12pm) to start portioning out the different menu items, labeling them with the name of the person who ordered it and setting them out on the dining room tables. I always wrangled at least one person to help with this. I tried several different ways to organize the labeling and portioning and a few years ago the system was finally perfected with some help. I don’t have to get there before 8am now!
Each person’s order, with everything they’ve purchased from appetizers all the way to dessert, is put in one “pile” with a copy of their order and reheating instructions (so their house smells amazing!) on top and the room is set up alphabetically so that all the orders can be found easily. For some, they are picking up dinner just for themselves as they’re not near family or friends. For others, it’s a full meal for 20 guests or just pies for dessert. It can get a little crazy at pick up with several people showing up all at once and usually in a hurry to get out!
Every year there has been one or two stragglers who somehow haven’t managed their time well and are LATE for pick up. I’m always hoping that they actually answer their phone when I call to see where they are. I’ve been pretty lucky as they eventually show up. There are also those who stop in hoping that we have some “extra” gravy or pie that they can buy. We usually do. After the last order is gone, I finally leave for my family’s dinner. Some years I was a “little” late but fortunately have always been forgiven for my tardiness. At the end of it, I’m tired but happy.
I always felt it was important that I was the face people saw when they came to pick up their Thanksgiving orders (you know the face behind the name). People really appreciated that I was giving up my Thanksgiving morning to be there to greet them and it has always been my pleasure. I’ve been lucky in that I get to see several people each year-I guess they like our food! But, I’ve been even luckier in that I’ve been able to help make it easier for people to create their own memories around the table for this holiday whether it’s just having a comfort meal for one in front of the TV or those parties for 20.
These are the moments that feed my soul.