We’ve all heard the expression, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” That’s certainly true in many cases, but not at the NoDa Company Store.
When we opened our doors in 2016, we didn’t have plans to serve free lunches on Sundays, but one beautiful afternoon a little over a month in changed everything for us. We love to cook, and especially grill out. On that particular day we would have fired up the grill at home and cooked all day, but we needed to work and open the store. So Joey had an idea: We’d do both.
We ran out and grabbed a grill, then hit the grocery store for hot dogs, hamburgers, buns, and condiments. It wasn’t anything fancy, and we didn’t get more than a dozen or so of each. Friends and guests joined us that day for lunch. It was on the back deck and was a super casual, all-afternoon affair. The next weekend we served about twice as many meals. Then someone posted on social media, and we were booming! When we showed up to light the fire, there was a line around the building.
We loved cooking and serving our neighbors food, and they seemed to like it in return. As the weekly event grew, we began expanding what we cooked, having fun with the toppings if we just did dogs or burgers, and adding other main dishes and sides when we felt inspired. We used ingredients from our garden when we could, like hot peppers for sauces, cabbage for kimchi or sauerkraut, and herbs for seasoning. We’ve cooked quesadillas, wings, barbeque (pork, chicken or jackfruit), flank steak tacos, and beanie weenies and chili. We always have a veggie or vegan option and, during football season, we switch from Sunday lunch to Monday evening dinner, and those are always meat-free (Meatless Monday!).
Is there a catch? Only one, really. This isn’t intended to be to-go food. We know so many people that have met each other at Sunday Funday Free Lunch – even some who are now married! We know folks who only see each other at our place on Sundays and folks who we only ever see on Sundays.
We want folks to break bread together, chatting while in line and chatting while eating, maybe sharing a table. Grabbing the plate and heading home doesn’t foster that spirit, so it’s not what we intend (though you’ll likely see some street art vendors grabbing theirs and heading back to their setup at the corner!).
We’d love for you to join us one Sunday if you haven’t already, and we’d love to see you again if you have! We fire up the grill and start serving around 11, and go until we are out (we prep enough for 150 – 200 plates, and typically end between 1 and 2).