A Moveable Feast

A new local service takes the time and labor out of preparing healthy home meals.

It would come as no surprise to anyone who knew Frank Manning during his formative years in Wisconsin that he’s now running a food company. After all, this is a guy who, at the tender age of 12, bought a field of asparagus when he heard his friend’s parents were going to plow it under.

He set up a successful roadside stand. “It was really fun to see my hard work go straight to a family’s table,” says the early-20s owner of StayinPDX (stayinpdx.com). By the time he finished high school, he was delivering asparagus to local markets, and by college, as he began cooking for friends, he experienced an epiphany. “Everyone complains about cooking a meal,” he says, “but I realized what really takes a crazy amount of time is looking up a recipe, thinking about what you need, what you have, going to the store, getting ingredients. The easiest part is the cooking.”

He developed StayinPDX to eliminate what he calls the “pain points” of meal preparation. “I wanted to create something where people could, after a busy day, have locally sourced ingredients delivered right to their work,” says Manning.

StayinPDX delivers to employers and co-working spaces rather than to consumers directly. Once a location signs on, employees can order from a seasonal menu based on what chef Eric Johnson sources from area farms, such as Groundwork Organics and Gathering Together Farm, and from sustainable seafood and meat providers, such as Foods in Season. The meal kits, which are priced at about what it would cost to buy ingredients at the store and designed with prep times of 20 to 30 minutes, are delivered at the end of the workday.

Clients have been thrilled. Manning recalls one customer who hated cooking but wanted to prepare dinners for himself and his wife, who had recently had a baby. StayinPDX made it so easy that he actually looks forward to cooking a family meal after coming home from work. Says Manning: “It’s been cool to see our goal of bringing people together around food resonate with our customers.” —Kathleen Bauer | Photos courtesy of StayinPDX