Photo by Erin Metzger: Michaela Skloven, chef and co-founder of The Speedy Dish, assembles meal bags at their warehouse space in Mercer Island. The Speedy Dish is a meal-service based out of Queen Anne.
Photo by Erin Metzger: Michaela Skloven, chef and co-founder of The Speedy Dish, assembles meal bags at their warehouse space in Mercer Island. The Speedy Dish is a meal-service based out of Queen Anne.
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Queen Anne mom and businesswoman Erin Metzger knows the struggles families face when it comes to  meal times, which were made glaringly obvious during the pandemic.

To help families who may find shuffling different work schedules and activities with a desire to eat simple but nutritious foods with minimal effort a challenge, Metzger and co-founder and chef Michaela Skloven developed The Speedy Dish.

During the pandemic, Metzger, who was a leader for Homegrown, and Skloven, Ballard resident and chef for Homegrown, worked with other team members on a Homegrown grocery and meal delivery service. When that closed in September of 2021, Metzger and Skloven developed the Speedy Dish to fill that gap. They started the meal service in October and had a small pilot with about 15 customers, from whom they wanted feedback on their dishes and meal service.

During that time, Metzger said she and Skloven learned that some of the recipes they thought were easy could be made easier and faster, and the pair took those notes to heart and made adjustments as necessary.

“It was great to get that real-time feedback on that,” she said.

In January, the pair unrolled the meal service to residents in Queen Anne, Magnolia and Ballard.

The venture’s early success has allowed Metzger and Skloven to hire their first part-time staff, but the pair are taking their expansion plans slowly.

“We are going to keep expanding the neighborhoods but just want to continue step by step to learn along the way and refine along the way,” Metzger said.

“We definitely want to expand and bring the service to more people. Eventually we’d like to bring it to the greater Seattle area and the east side. We’re really driven, and it’s so gratifying to help busy families.”

While similar to other meal services, Metzger said The Speedy Dish is different because the meals are made locally, they are faster to prepare and are geared toward families. She describes the meals as “almost-ready meals.”

Every week, The Speedy Dish staff prepare and deliver bags filled with meal kits for the week. Individual ingredients, like caramelized onions or different proteins, are prepared in advance and portioned out. Instructions are included in each meal kit and the different meals can be assembled in 20 minutes or less.

Metzger said the recipes are developed by Skloven to suit the palates of the pickiest eaters, including children.

“We want it to be nutritious but to feel approachable overall to families,” she said, adding ingredients can easily be modified to suit different preferences.

The meal kits are also ideal for home cooks of every skill level.

Metzger said one customer said he typically doesn’t cook but prepares The Speedy Dish meals because they are easy to make, but more experienced cooks like scratch-made flavors and fresh ingredients. People can order either grab-and-go lunches or meals ready to heat. Servings are made for two but can be easily adjusted to accommodate more people when ordering.

“The feedback from our customers has been really, really positive,” she said.

Meal kits are assembled and delivered on Tuesdays. People can place orders for the following week on Wednesdays. Metzger said by having orders placed by Wednesday night, she can order the proper amount of food from vendors, eliminating food waste.

“We try to be as sustainable as possible,” Metzger said, adding meals are delivered in reusable bags and ice packs that are picked up when a future delivery is made.  “So that is a key thing that people have been really excited about.”

Metzger said most of The Speedy Dish’s customers are women so far, but men take advantage of the lunches-to-go  option for themselves or meals or to offset those prepared at home.

“We feel that we have something that benefits someone’s lives, so we really want to keep doing that,” Metzger said.

Currently The Speedy Dish does not have a subscription service. For more information or to order, go to https://thespeedydish.com.