Lake & Co.’s Meals Make a Night In Feel Like a Night Out

From mouthwatering meatballs to herb-roasted chicken, the Yarmouth catering company delivers one heck of a heat-and-serve spread.

Lake & Co.’s wedding soup, meatballs, and mac and cheese make for one heck of a comfort-food spread.
By Will Grunewald
Photos by Nicole Wolf
From our April 2024 issue

The table setting was pretty darn lovely — a light-gray runner draped diagonally, beneath a small vase of yellow and white tulips and a couple of squat, flickering candles. The napkins were folded just so, the lighting dimmed exactly right. All in a private dining room. Or, more precisely, our dining room — at home. I’d arranged most of the scene myself, so I’m a little biased toward how it turned out. Not often do my wife and I do a fancy meal at home, and I was feeling inspired. As for the meal, it too came together without a hitch — an incredibly tender herb-roasted chicken, delicata squash stuffed with seasoned rice and lentils, and a vinegary slaw of red and green cabbage. The absence of any hitch, I should probably add, owed to us not doing any actual cooking.

Our dinner came from Lake & Co., a meal-delivery service based in Yarmouth. There are a handful of such services around Maine, mostly concentrated in Portland and surrounding communities. Hannah Lake White and her husband, Charles, started theirs as a catering company in 2018. Hannah had experience in catering, and Charles is a Culinary Institute of America graduate who cooked at Portland’s former Vignola/Cinque Terre, among other restaurants. When the pandemic hit, they added regular meal service to the company’s lineup. All that’s left to do when their food arrives, each item neatly packaged, is to heat and then serve.

881 U.S. Route 1, Yarmouth.
Ordering Process
Lake & Co. takes orders Friday through Monday, for delivery the following Friday.
Minimum Purchase
Only orders of at least $50 qualify for delivery, which also incurs a fee depending on distance.
Pickup Option
Instead of delivery, self-service pickup is also available at the company’s kitchen, in Yarmouth.

All in all, a service like Lake & Co. combines, approximately, the convenience of DoorDash, the principle of TV dinners, and the quality of a high-end restaurant. And while prepared meals of course cost more than simply cooking at home, I’d ballpark that they’re about half the cost of an equivalently good meal at a nice restaurant (our tab for the evening was $85). Plus, the portions were ample. For the sake of research, we had ordered more food to try the next day, and we wound up eating meatballs (hearty but delicate, in a creamy tomato sauce) with garlic bread (liberally garlicked and buttered) and maybe my favorite mac and cheese ever (a rich but not gloopy smoked-cheddar sauce clinging to big, al dente shells), plus leftover chicken, slaw, and squash, for several days.

There are other perks to this sort of meal. I mixed up cocktails — mezcal palo- mas, and according to some back-of-the-napkin math, they cost all of about $4 apiece. Also, we got to throw a dog bed between our chairs and let our little guy hang out with us. After the meal, as we nursed a second round of cocktails, there was no rush to order dessert or settle the bill. We waited a good while, then cut into a hulking Rice Krispies treat. That might not sound too exciting without knowing it was filled with a layer of drippy dulce de leche. Then, with a glass of milk and a side splash of bourbon, a chewy chocolate cookie laced with white-chocolate chips capped things off.

So minimal was the effort of heating and serving everything, it felt a bit like we had hired a chef to run our kitchen for the evening. Alas, if only it felt like we had hired bussers and dishwashers too.

May 2024, Down East Magazine

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