The whirlwind of virus issues swirling around the restaurant scene has a lot of us blown off course. Chef Brad Bernstein suggests that his Postmark restaurant has created a way you can find a safe harbor and enjoy a “nice meal,” a fine-dine meal, in a setting that suits you, your family, your friends. That safe harbor could be dining in, a sit-down meal at Postmark, or carrying out, an elegantly appointed meal taken home and enjoyed at your own table.
“I know some people are wary of going out to eat, even though we are taking all the precautions,” he said of his Postmark restaurant (also Red Feather). “We have guests who come here to dine at Postmark with us, and we encourage people to do that, to do more of that, in fact. But at the same time, we are focused on making the carryout experience something special for those who want that—just as romantic; as cozy and warm—a great experience.
“We put a lot of thought into the quality of the experience we offer here in the restaurant: the food, the service, every detail. We’ve taken that same thoughtful approach to solve some of the carryout issues. Some (food) items don’t do well in carryout. We’ve shied away from those. We’ve adjusted our cooking practices to maximize the impact (of high-quality carryout)—to help assure the food will travel well.”
Bernstein pointed to vegetables as an example of his thoughtful approach to carryout patrons and their satisfaction. The eatery’s wilted spinach is a crowd-pleaser for diners who sit down and eat at Postmark. Alas, in carryout, not so much. “We’ve changed our wilted spinach to a heartier mix, kale and mustard greens. That’s because they stand up to the transport and will not wilt down to a watery mess.
“At Postmark, the carryout is designed so…it’s like opening up (a package that is) a plate (of food). It’s plated and presented as if you were at the restaurant. At Postmark, you are getting that same ‘dine-in’ experience, even though it’s carryout.”
Bernstein went on to explain that he and his kitchen staff have time- and temp-tested the foods targeted for carryout. They have prepared entrée items in which steaks and crispy chicken are mainstays, then put them through 20- and 30-minute waits before removing them from the packaging and testing quality and performance. Those tests have informed the menu they offer for carryout, the way the items are prepared, as well as the way items are boxed for transport.
To encourage dine-in and carryout patrons both, Postmark has created a prix fixe special package deal. “We are doing three courses for $35, and that is for dine-in or carryout. Also, I’m offering a $15 bottle of wine that is a som (sommelier) pick—red or white. Dinner and a bottle of wine for $50, and if you order a second dinner (dinner for two), and the wine, it’s $75, so you save an extra $10,” he said. The 3-course meal features choices of four different salads, four different pasta dishes and four different entrée items, so, a lot of flexibility for individual diners.
Speaking of wine, Postmark has become a wine “shop” in addition to the restaurant side of the enterprise. The wine shop offers wines at retail prices, so that diners (and walk-in, walk-out trade also) may buy a bottle of wine and take it to their table to enjoy with the meal. There is a corkage fee of $10 per bottle, but that approach is well below the general restaurant practice of marking up wine by four to five times the wholesale price. As an example (from yours truly, not the Postmark staff), a bottle of wine selling at $12 wholesale, might cost you $20 retail, and a restaurant might sell that bottle for $48 to its patrons. At Postmark, you step into the wine shop, buy that same bottle for $20 and the corkage fee makes it $30; you save $18. Good deal!
That good deal is made even better during the Taste of Cincinnati’s grant promotion to restaurants, which allows Postmark to waive the corkage fee during the promotional season this winter. So, no corkage fee for you for now at Postmark!
Another aspect of the carryout theme at Postmark during the holiday season is meal prep for your home celebrations, Bernstein said. “What we are doing is preparing holiday meals to go, more on your schedule. The meals are 90 to 95 percent done, where all you have to do is dress your salads, pop (the entrée) in the oven for a few minutes to get it hot, but it’s all ready for you with none of the cooking and all the rest,” he said.
Bernstein said that a lot of people in the Jewish community have asked what they can do to help support his restaurants. There are two avenues of support he suggested, in addition to dining in or carrying out. One is the purchase of gift cards. The other is investing in Postmark—and Red Feather—through Honeycomb Credit. “Our customers can invest in us, support us, and there is a return on the investment,” he said. Anyone interested may go to the honeycomb credit website to find out more.
See you at Postmark!
3410 Telford Street
Cincinnati, OH 45220