When owner Jacqui Willey introduced the idea of a take-home dinner special for her restaurant, the Glenwood, some 15 years ago, it stemmed from her experience as a working parent. A mother of six with three more step children, she’s no stranger to the struggle of getting dinner prepared.
“There were a lot of nights where I’d leave work at six and I’d go to the grocery store, try to figure out what am I going to make for dinner,” Willey says. “It can be hard to be a working parent and get dinner on the table.”
Her children have since grown up and moved out, but that hasn’t stopped Willey from approaching her life from the perspective of family life.
After multiple closings and subsequent re-openings spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Glenwood’s “Takeaway Family Dinner” is helping keep business flowing while providing families in the community with an affordable, COVID-safe alternative to home cooking.
When the pandemic struck, Willey was ahead of the curve. Amid a cloud of unknowing and concern, she says she elected to close down both Glenwood locations several days before the official shutdown from Gov. Kate Brown.
“I never dreamed we couldn’t be open,” she says. “When [Gov. Brown] said we could open for takeout, I didn’t see how that would pencil out for us, so we stayed closed.”
Willey says she did intense research before reopening. She added UV sanitizing lights and glass dividers between tables. The Glenwood struggled to get consistent customers. Even still, Willey says she wanted to keep the Glenwood’s experience genuine.
“I didn’t want it to be that the Glenwood wasn’t the Glenwood anymore, for people to walk into a bunch of shower curtains,” she says.
Everyone has had their own ability to handle the risk associated with the virus, she says. At the Glenwood, they’ve worked to meet people in the middle.
“Overall everyone’s been so great, so respectful and generous with their tips, and thankful that we’re trying,” Willey says.
Each day, both Alder and Willamette locations of the Glenwood offer a separate take-home meal option. For $18, the meals include enough food to feed two adults and two children — or two hungry adults.
The menu, which changes daily and features gluten-free and vegetarian options, can be found online. The Glenwood’s website also offers an email list which sends out the menu on a daily basis to over 4,000 local residents, Willey says.
“If anything keeps us alive through this pandemic I think it’s going to be that,” she says.
In addition to its Takeaway Family dinner, the Glenwood on Alder now offers outdoor seating complete with tents and heaters. Both locations still boast an extensive breakfast menu as well. Willey says the French toast and eggs benedict have remained crowd favorites.
The Glenwood on 1340 Alder Street near the University of Oregon campus is open 9 am to 6 pm Monday through Thursday, 8 am to 6 pm on Friday and 8 am to 4 pm on weekends. The location at 2588 Willamette is open 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday and 8 am to 3 pm on weekends.