A new business has quietly taken root in Whitefish.
GreenGo’s Homemade Meals on the Run was founded by Curtis Green and just opened about two months ago. Green, along with Executive Sous Chef Tony Traina, prepare meals to the point that all customers have to do is pick them up, take them home and pop them in the oven.
“Word of mouth is starting to spread and a lot of people have been coming in the last couple of weeks,” Green said. “It’s all take and bake. We make everything fresh, refrigerate or freeze it.”
The initial idea for the business was actually foisted on Green by some friends. For the past nine years Green has been a teacher, but cooking has always been a favorite pastime of his. He cooked for his friends so much that they encouraged him to open his own restaurant.
“I did some research, asked around, and it looked like there was a good market for it,” Green said. “I found a space and opened it up.”
For the first few weeks or so he was a one-man operation, but realized that doing everything himself was a herculean task. He enlisted the help of Traina, who was introduced to him through mutual friends and had a lot of kitchen experience from area restaurants.
Together, they gather ingredients, prepare and sell food from a menu that changes every week based upon what’s seasonal and what people seemed to like from the last week.
The one entree that has been a mainstay is the chicken potpie, which Green said is their best seller. The chicken comes pre-cooked, so customers just need to heat it in the oven to prepare it.
Depending on the dish, they prepare the meat to different levels, something Green said they are continuing to experiment with. A few weeks back they had a pork loin roast they grilled to the point of being about 50-60 percent of the way done, so that when people heated it in the oven it would simply finish cooking rather than dry out. They use the popularity of certain items to gauge what to put on the menu in following weeks.
This is Green’s maiden entrepreneurial voyage and he said that while the experience has been overwhelmingly positive, it certainly comes with some challenges.
“Right now the biggest challenge is probably just space and storage,” Green said. “We don’t have a huge space.”
Having enough fridge and freezer space to house ingredients to make sure the product stays fresh is made harder because their finished product sits in the fridge until it is sold as well. Oftentimes by Thursday or Friday some menu items have run out, so consumers who want to have the full array of options should get there earlier in the week.
One thing Green said he hasn’t had an issue with is turning a hobby into a profession. He said cooking seven days a week for a living hasn’t ruined his enthusiasm for it, just made him feel like it is happening for a bigger purpose.
“I’m still enjoying it, it’s something that I get to call mine, so I get to take pride in it and enjoy and know that all the work we’re doing is coming back to the business,” Green said.
He has found the Whitefish community to be a hospitable one, and though he hasn’t done much advertising yet, he said word-of-mouth from his customers has led to an uptick in business each consecutive week he’s been open.
“The first couple weeks it was just kind of friends I knew telling friends, and now there are more people coming in,” Green said. “So-and-so is telling someone else at the gym, and it’s picking up.”
GreenGo’s is located at 6466 U.S. 93 S., next door to Two Men & A Truck. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The weekly menu can be found at www.greengosmeals.com or on GreenGo’s Facebook page.
Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at (406) 758-4438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.