The Green Lunch started out small; very small, as in, lunch for just one little girl.
In 2010, Dina Lombardi moved from New York City to Sag Harbor, and as her daughter started preschool, she did what many parents do: she sent her off every day with a nice, healthy lunch. But these lunches were much nicer and healthier than the cheese sandwiches, carrot sticks and juice boxes most of us manage to throw together at 7 a.m. Other parents noticed; soon they wanted nice lunches for their kids, too, but without the actual cooking part. “Nobody wants to cook for lunch,” says Lombardi. So Lombardi she making lunch for those kids, too, and her business was born.
But it was not to last. Lombardi’s made-to-order lunches just got too popular and she couldn’t keep up. “First it was just for kids, but then teachers started ordering, too,” she says. “And I was trying to serve these lunches hot, at different schools for kids who ate at different times. It became a real challenge. When people started coming to school to pick up lunches for their office, I decided it was time for a revamp.” So she changed the plan.
Enjoying a home-cooked meal just got incredibly simple, she adds.
Now, her business is called The Green Lunch, Dinner and Delivery, and it offers a by-the-dish, mix-and-match menu that can be ordered online. Right now, delivery is only available in the Sag Harbor, East Hampton and Southampton core area of the South Fork, but Lombardi plans to extend east to Montauk, north to Springs, and to points west in the near future. Delivery is now three days a week, but that will increase to daily, she says, so people can order in the morning and have their food the same day. “Enjoying a home-cooked meal just got incredibly simple,” she adds.
The menu has dishes like citrus herb braised organic chicken legs, grass-fed flank steak, organic beets and pea shoots with tahini and organic tomato tart. The food is simple by design, Lombardi says. It’s supposed to appeal to kids and adults, and stems from the home-cooked lunches and dinners she learned growing up in an Italian family in Boston. But it’s also slightly sophisticated, stemming from her experience in the city, where she worked for 15 years in the front of the house in fine restaurants like Nobu, Bouley and La Atelier. “I have this really formal, four-star experience,” she says, “but what I like is just good, clean, wholesome food.”
Eating healthy is never easy. Creating, shopping, preparing and cooking healthy meals for yourself and your family even just once a day can be daunting, stressful and impossible, even for those who love to cook.
Except for the occasional pastry, which she can’t resist, Lombardi herself sticks to clean eating, a general term for a diet based on organic, whole, unprocessed foods. She avoids refined sugars and starches, and over processed oils. Meats are organic, pastured and free range, and vegetables are non-GMO. Lombardi tries to source all Green Lunch supplies accordingly, and uses local food whenever possible, of course. The menu changes every two weeks right now, but will soon go to a new menu every week. “This is much simpler than trying to cook to order for everyone,” she says. “It’s also letting me get more creative, which I really like.”
She’s also getting great feedback from her growing list of clients, which still includes many from the original group from the schools. They want to feed their families well, she says, but most are just really busy and need a little help to make that happen. “Let’s face it,” she says. “Eating healthy is never easy. Creating, shopping, preparing and cooking healthy meals for yourself and your family even just once a day can be daunting, stressful and impossible, even for those who love to cook.”