B'ville: DIY gourmet cooking

Dinnertime in Baldwinsville homes just got a whole lot easier thanks to the recent opening of Make & Take Gourmet at 15 E. Genesee St., Suite 140.

Make & Take allows customers to come in and prepare meals which can then be taken home, placed in the freezer and cooked fresh at a later date. It's a convenience that many devoted fans have already come to love.

"We're here to make people's lives easier," said owner Cheryl Grenga. "We do the shopping for you, we prep all the ingredients for you, we supply the pans and we do the clean-up. People don't get the concept until they actually come in and do it."

Grenga added that not only does making meals at Make & Take save customers' time, but also saves them money.

"You cannot go to a grocery store and buy this amount of food for this amount of money. Each meal costs less than a happy meal if you break it down per meal."

The store has a rotating monthly menu of different dinner options that customers can come in and assemble at several food stations.

"If they come in and make it themselves, they can customize it for their family," Grenga said. "If they don't like mushrooms, they don't put them in. If they don't like onions, they don't put them in."

In addition, the store keeps a freezer stocked of already made meals ready to go.

"We're really getting a huge call for to-go orders, especially on Fridays," Grenga said. "We also always have a freezer sale going. Those meals are $5 off and have no assembly fee. They're all from last month's menu. That's been a huge hit so far. We also have side dishes already available."

The pre-assembled meals can be ordered ahead online or over the phone. However, many customers prefer to schedule a session to assemble their own meals, which often turns into a social gathering. Already, Grenga and her staff have hosted several private parties. They've also seen a big response to their special weekly teacher sessions, held at 4 p.m. so local teachers "don't have to go home and then come back out in the cold."

Grenga is enthusiastic about the warm welcome she's received from the Baldwinsville community.

"They're really embracing our business. They are very excited to see something new to come into town. People leave here smiling and they're even booking their appointments when they leave for the next month."

February's menu includes shrimp Creole, spinach tomato tortellini, French country-style beef stew, Italian herb crusted pork chops, Thai pineapple curry chicken and molten lava cakes for Valentine's Day. To learn more or schedule a session, visit makeandtakegourmet.com/Baldwinsville or call 635-6300.

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