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Meal Kits bring the restaurant experience home this winter.

Alan Weiner Photography
Alan Weiner Photography

In preparation for Fall and Winter, Portland’s Common Market brings the dining experience home.

Like many restaurateurs facing COVID, Nate Tilden adapted his restaurant in response to an unknown future and a rapidly changing consumer market. He quickly transitioned Clyde Common — a Portland, OR restaurant that’s helped pioneer the PDX dining scene since 2007 —  into a dual-faceted establishment: Clyde Tavern and Common Market. Now, as patio season comes to an end, Tilden plans on expanding his offerings to bring the Portland dining experience to the homes of COVID-wary Portlanders with the Common Market meal kit. 

“We want to keep the tavern as the ‘come see us’ dining experience. We’ve been doing sidewalk dining four nights a week, but that’s all going to end once the rain comes in,” Tilden said. “The meal kits are in preparation for the winter. I think a lot of people are not going to feel comfortable eating out so we want to bring the experience to them.”

Each Common Market meal kit provides the ingredients and recipe for two hungry adults to make a flavorful dish from scratch — but with an added twist that takes the current idea of a meal kit and turns it into a true dining experience. “We’re going to portion and box raw ingredients here at Clyde, and use the name Common Market.  Each kit will be designed for maximum fun in the kitchen, so there will be some sort of snack to munch on while you cook, and a sweet something to finish the meal,” Tilden explained. “And as an added bonus you can watch my edited 10-minute segment where I cook the meal, show technique and share stories of the ingredients and the farmers we get the beautiful products from. It’s a real chef experience, Portland farm-driven meal”  

With the Common Market meal kit, customers experience cooking a local, chef-curated menu confidently with a short demonstrative video provided through a QR code in each meal kit. Unlike other meal kits and more to the nature of a true dining experience, each kit comes with a small bite and a sweet treat to round off the meal and make it more than just an entree.

Nate’s vision for the Common Market Meal Kit stemmed from Zoom cooking classes he’s been offering his wife’s colleagues during the shutdown. “I go, ‘Let’s make Gnocchi’ and everyone gets their ingredients and zooms in,” Tilden explained. “The downside is, not everyone grabs the right ingredients – so I thought what if they didn’t have to worry about that. We could put the ingredients together and write the recipes for them.” And that sparked a solution to reaching customers during winter months when his in-person restaurant Clyde Tavern will have to reckon with limited indoor seating capacity. The Common Market meal kit is set to launch toward the end of September and will initially be available for free delivery throughout the Portland, OR area.

As less favorable weather conditions for outdoor seating approach, many restaurants are facing the same worry around seating capacity as we all do our part to flatten the curve of COVID. The Common Market meal kit is a great example of innovative solutions restaurants are implementing to stay open and reinvent the dining experience as we wait for a vaccine.

Ashley Lange

Ashley Lange likes to cook, loves to bake and is always day-dreaming of her next meal. Ashley has spent the last 10 years in various roles within the food industry and is currently a server in Portland, Oregon.

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