As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, supporting each other becomes more and more important. For Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook, Illinois, the phrase “it takes a village” has become a mission.
Sarah Stegner, co-chef/owner of Northbrook’s Prairie Grass Cafe at 601 Skokie Blvd., said “we have embraced this new normal by supporting our customers’ food needs–and they are supporting us by regularly ordering take-out and purchasing food for their neighbors, friends and first responders. We have a lot to be thankful for—our customers are caring people.”
Stegner is full of praise for the entire Prairie Grass Cafe marketing team. “We have an amazing non-stop marketing team that includes Cindy Kurman and Lee Barrie at Kurman Communications, Grace Wood on Social Media, and Aushim Nair, website developer, who have continued to work diligently and aggressively to get the word out to about our specials and programs including the launch of our Cooking Tips Hotline.
“We are so grateful that during times like this, friends really pitch in. Our longtime friend and my fellow Green City Market board member Bill Kurtis and his wife Donna LaPietra have been amazing,” says Stegner. “They didn’t miss a beat when I asked them to help produce two videos explaining the need to support local farmers and restaurants.” (link to videos)
“Our internal team has been remarkable, too, working long hours and adjusting to the changes,” she adds.
Here are some of the forward thinking moves the team has implemented to keep Prairie Grass Cafe in business:
Prairie Grass Cafe offers curbside service during this difficult time because they want guests to enjoy food that is familiar, sustaining, and delicious. “Our customers’ continued business ensures that when it is safe and legal for our employees to work again, we will still have a restaurant for them to come back to,” she says.
Daily Menus and Special Promotions:
Curbside Pick Up daily menus are posted weekly on the Prairie Grass Cafe website, Facebook, Instagram and emailed to the restaurant’s 5000-person database for pre-order and pick up.
Kids Kitchen Crew Pizza Kit on Sundays. Customers should order by 7 pm Saturday for pick up 4-7 pm on Sunday.
Access to Fresh Produce, supporting local farmers Three Sister’s Garden and Ellis Family Farm. Order directly from the farmer on Mondays; pick up at Prairie Grass Cafe 4-7 pm Tuesday,
Sustainable Fish Mondays to cook at home. Prairie Grass Cafe is offering fresh, uncooked fish for preparing delicious dinners at home. Fish, provided by Prairie Grass Cafe supplier Seafood Merchants, is available to pre-order and pick up curbside every Monday at Prairie Grass Cafe. Learn about Sustainable Seafood here.
Chef Sarah Stegner’s Cooking Tips Hotline (2-4 pm daily, 847-920-8437), offers the chefs’ assistance by providing information and answering cooking questions and helping people feed their family.
Produced videos in support of Green City Market, farmers, and recipes, for distribution via press releases and social media
Providing meals to front line workers at University of Chicago Hospital, Glenbrook Hospital, and Evanston’s Thrive|Connections to the Homeless, all aided by the support of private donations.
Working with the community. Prairie Grass Cafe is working with amazing individuals like Glenview’s Bonnie Kearns who is working with her neighbors to organize large community takeout orders to support the community and the restaurant. Read about Bonnie here.
Owners Stegner and George Bumbaris are heartbroken that they have had to let many of the staff go until it is safe to open the doors again. Many of our staff are long-term employees, and we have all come to feel like a family. We have spent countless hours working together to feed and serve the people that patronize our restaurant. To navigate this period of unsettlement, Prairie Grass Café has opened a GoFundMe page and is encouraging its customers to contribute what they can. “Any amount of money that our customers can generously donate is appreciated. All donations go directly to our laid-off staff and will be divided equally,” said Stegner.
“We are committed to seeing this period through so we can bring the back to the restaurant and, with our customers, celebrate the part we played to sustain our community during this pandemic,” said Stegner.