Peters Township Resident Meal Delivery Company, Family Storm Against COVID-19 | Living
The business may be called Girl Friday Cooking Co., but most of the action takes place on Mondays.
That’s when owner Gretchen McNary and her team are busy preparing meals for delivery every Tuesday. And with more people than ever placing orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, a greater amount of preparedness is typically involved.
One week, all this work was wasted.
“On Tuesday around 1 p.m. my husband called me and said, ‘I have COVID,'” recalls McNary. “What we ended up having to do was get rid of all this food that we made. I had to go home and call 120 people and let them know they had no food.
The good news is Ron McNary has made a full recovery, no one in the family or in the business has gotten sick, and Girl Friday customers have been nothing but understanding.
“Gretchen made the right decision in this situation because there were so many unknowns around COVID. And even though we’ve been told it can’t be transferred with food, we don’t want to take any chances if someone gets sick, ”said Beth Ali, head of the kitchen. “We closed for a few weeks, and everyone was good. “
And the pace continues for a business that grew out of Gretchen’s culinary hobby and made it through a few changes of venue, with Girl Friday – the name being a variation of what Robinson Crusoe called her right-hand man – operating in Canton de Fayette Sud since summer 2020.
Because McNary’s move to Finleyville took place amid the pandemic, the Peters Township resident was unable to organize a grand opening, but one is finally slated for the afternoon of October 9.
“We’re just going to throw a nice big party and celebrate, because we should,” she said. “We are working hard.”
Girl Friday’s dishes – which are never frozen – are made entirely from fresh, quality ingredients, locally sourced wherever possible, with a particularly experienced chef putting her talents to work in the kitchen.
Domenica Merante was professionally trained in Lucca, Italy, and is certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana in using the good artisan traditions of authentic Neapolitan pizza.
She also has a background as a butcher and, well, you might not want to ask her how she learned to bone a rabbit.
After shutting down her own business, Merante Brothers Market in North Strabane Township, she actually advised McNary against going all-out with Girl Friday.
“I’m so glad she didn’t listen, because she’s done so well and it’s a different concept of a restaurant,” Merante said. “It can become something much bigger. “
For her part, she plans to lead cooking classes, continuing the type of training she still does with chefs in Italy. Additionally, McNary recently hired a new employee, Kiara Long, to help manage the catering side of the business as an increasing number of events appear on everyone’s social calendar.
Another staff member is Madi Donaldson, who joined in as a dishwasher and made such a good impression that she was cooking the next day. Her fiance, Joe Bardakos, co-owns the ever-popular Bridge City Brinery food truck, which has a storage deal with Girl Friday.
McNary has known employee Jake Momeyer for most of his life, being the best friend of Gretchen’s son Soren.
Speaking of which, to complete the crew, his eldest daughter, Sloane, a student at Peters Township High School, who is her mother’s alma mater.
The McNary children, including Freya, were all on the younger side when Gretchen started Girl Friday focusing primarily on foods associated with the paleo diet, which revisits the way humans ate back then.
This aspect has changed over the years.
“A lot of people think we’re still a Paleo delivery service, and we’re not,” McNary said. “While we always have these healthy things on the menu, we cater for the everyday family’s needs. “
Along with Sloane, members of her own family help out with the business, and she gives special credit to her husband, who works remotely from home.
“For years, when he worked downtown, I had to run my business, and if the kids needed anything at school, I had to leave. I had to deal with it all, ”she said. “With him being at home, I don’t have to think about it. He takes care of everything. I couldn’t do any of this without him.