When Grasse’s Grill closed early in August because of the challenges of the pandemic, co-owner Jess Grasse found herself sorely missing her connection with customers. To meet a bit of that need, she created a way to sell some favorite soups by taking advance orders and planning a contactless pickup service for customers on Saturdays.
“I said to [chef and co-owner] Jimmy, ‘If you do the soup, I’ll take care of the rest,’” Grasse said.
She posts the soups of the week – usually including a vegetarian or vegan option – every Monday evening, and customers can place an order for pickup by emailing her the quantity they want, their vehicle type, the time of pickup between 10 am and 2 pm, and whether they prefer the soup to be placed in the trunk or passed through the car’s window.
“I’ve learned that I thrive on the people I see at Grasse’s, and this is a way to see them – even through the mask or the window,” Grasse said. “It just makes me happy to be able to communicate with regular customers and to write notes on the to-go bags. It’s a way to end the season on a positive note.”
In addition, some of the proceeds go to a nonprofit each week, and she shares information about the selected organizations to increase awareness and encourage individual donations. The first week, the recipient was the STRIDE program: a collaboration among the five Door County school districts, United Way and mental-health professionals. Last week, it was the Northern Door Children’s Center.
“Someone who loves Door County and has eaten at Grasse’s might see these places – places they don’t usually visit – and see how their favorite shop or restaurant is made possible because the employees’ kids are able to go to the community child care center.”
This weekend, Jess and Jimmy are taking a break, but they plan to serve soup again Nov. 14, with potato soup and meatloaf options.
“It’s a way to bring awareness to some of the local resources in our communities,” she said. “These places are what keep Door County going.”
Visit Grasse’s on Facebook (facebook.com/Grasses-Grill-216367545125369) or Instagram (@grassesgrill) to see the current special and nonprofit that will benefit, and to get updates on ordering. Customers must wear masks when picking up orders and provide exact change or a check (no credit cards). Grasse’s plans to run the soup pickup at least until the end of November, but possibly into December, depending on the weather.