Serving the Perfect Dinner


New business proves the perfect option for busy families

Laura Bayard / Chicago Parent  Karen Gruber, left, Deborah Beuttler and Jill Haas at The Perfect Dinner.

Three moms, sick of worrying about dinner after a long day of work, have a solution for other moms: the Perfect Dinner. Their new business offers full dinners with a home-cooked flavor available for takeout or delivery.

The Perfect Dinner is the brainchild of friends Deborah Beuttler, Karen Gruber and Jill Haas. The business, which Gruber describes as "an extension of mom's own kitchen," is designed to be convenient for busy families without compromising the quality of dinner.

"Preordering is not required," Gruber explains. "We get a lot of walk-in traffic right off the train or people calling at the last minute."

It's in west suburban Oak Park across from the Metra and Chicago Transit Authority's Green Line train tracks, making the business a convenient stop for frazzled commuters. Gruber says the business averages about 50 meals per day and serves more than 400 families in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Elmwood Park and Maywood.

"It tastes like a home-cooked family dinner and usually better than I can cook myself," says Sally Kooser, of River Forest, who usually orders once a week. "It's really great to come home at the end of the day and know dinner is ready for you."

Gruber says the clientele ranges from the "planners" who e-mail a month's worth of orders, to the customers who come in at the last minute. Families also can place standing orders for a certain day of the week.

Customers can order meals online at Meal prices average $5 to $7 a person and meal-size options serve two, four, or six to eight people. Past favorites include lasagna, fajitas, beef tenderloin and chicken pot pie, Gruber says.

With the holiday season approaching, families can preorder platters. The Perfect Dinner, 809 South Blvd., also sells gift certificates and small gift items "to enhance the whole dinnertime experience," Gruber says.

The Perfect Dinner is planning a special cookie making and decorating party Dec. 6. Space is limited for the three sessions: one for kids fourth grade and up ($15 per person), one for adults ($20 per person) and one for parents and children, kindergarten and up ($25 per parent-child team). Prices include ingredients, instructions and use of the kitchen. “But most importantly, we're cleaning up the mess," says Gruber.

For information or to register, call (708) 660-8731.

Alissa Calabrese and Laura Bayard

Lenna Silberman Scott

Kids Eat Chicago

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