Salina Market Gourmet to Go Finds Niche Restaurant, Catering

Although the pandemic took its toll just months after it moved into its new location on North Ohio Street, Gourmet take-out from Salina, and its owner, have persevered to find success as one of the places where Salinians can have lunch throughout the week.

Blake Barrett grew up in Salina and after spending time in Chicago and Dallas and gaining experience and training in the culinary arts, he wanted to bring some of the knowledge he learned back to his hometown.

“I felt like Salina needed something different from the typical (restaurant),” he said.

As head chef of the restaurant, located at 115 N. Ohio St., Barrett is responsible for creating and training his staff on how to prepare menu items, which are never the same every day.

“We change the menu every day,” Barrett said. “People will ask if we do Italian or Mexican or American food or whatever, and I say we do everything.”

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Simple prices with fresh and homemade products

Aside from the changing menu, Gourmet to Go is not your typical restaurant one might find in Salina, in part because of the way the food is prepared, with fresh, handmade ingredients.

“I would say 90% of our menu is homemade and wholesome,” Barrett said.

He likes to work with what’s available at the time and build the menu from that.

“I’m a seasonal person and I play with it,” Barrett said.

Barrett said he wanted to bring this kind of food usually found in big cities to working-class people who live in that part of town. After having children, he also knew that returning to Salina would be good for his family.

“Big cities are very different from Salina,” Barrett said. “I didn’t (necessarily) want to raise my kids in this.”

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While drive-thru customers account for about 70% of business, Gourmet to Go at 115 N. Ohio St. also offers indoor seating.  The company offers fast and fresh food with a menu that changes daily.

Although menus change, pricing is an easy thing for customers, with each lunchtime special of the day, which comes with a starter and side dish, costing $13.

The restaurant is open from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, with breakfast options at $11, and also changes frequently and is available until 10:30 a.m.

The restaurant also offers dessert options, which again change daily, for $7.

Some of the items include risen and shine tacos, sunrise paninis, Hawaiian chicken and bacon, and Thai chicken.

Many customers make Gourmet to Go their quick lunch break, with around 70%, according to Barrett, getting their food through the drive-thru at the restaurant, although there is seating for people who want that option. .

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Finding success outside the restaurant walls

In addition to providing breakfast and lunch, Barrett also manages the restaurant’s catering and said he enjoys working and collaborating with these customers so that no two dining experiences are the same.

“I customize all of our catering, with no set menus,” Barrett said. “I work with the client, he tells me how much money he wants to spend and I tell him what I can earn.”

Part of that dining success has led to other food projects for Barrett, who said he works with Great Life in Salina to do dinner deals each night at the golf course and fitness center.

For more information about Gourmet to Go, call the restaurant at 785-820-8888 or find it at Facebook. Barrett said the Facebook page is updated ahead of Gourmet to Go’s opening each Monday, letting customers know what each day’s menu options will be for the week.

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