Nominate Meals Partners with Local Restaurants to Share Love of Food with Rochestarians
Words by Kass Degus
“We like to highlight what’s most important in Rochester—the food of the people,” says Chris Lindstrom, one of Nominate Meals’ five founding team members, a former restaurant reviewer, and food enthusiast. He says the initial goal of the project was to explore Rochester and “taste things that I didn’t know existed.”
If you’re looking for an exciting way to discover food around town, you need to know about Nominate Meals. Founded in early 2021, they are the bored foodie’s dream come true—an easy, fun way to explore new, local restaurants without spending a fortune.
So far, Nominate Meals has run over 40 events featuring 25 different cuisines. They host events every other Wednesday where customers can pick up a surprise meal-for-two from a locally-owned restaurant. It’s a unique opportunity to learn about the vibrant food scene in Rochester by partnering with small, minority-owned restaurants.
Here’s how it works: visit their website to purchase your order and then pick up your meal from Three Heads Brewing or opt for delivery instead. That’s it—no more hour long conversations about where to go for dinner, just a well-prepared meal lovingly made by one of Rochester’s many local gems.
Chris recalls when he and the team had a demo meal at Kamara’s West African Restaurant—many had never eaten African food and they were blown away. Not only was it an amazing meal, but they had the opportunity to learn about the history of the cuisine as well. The team could taste the influence that African food has had on so many other cuisines. This is the experience that Nominate Meals is trying to bring to their customers—connection.
So far, it’s working. Along with Kamara’s West African Restaurant, they’ve hosted Neno’s Gourmet Mexican Street Food, Levantine’s Cafe & Bakery, and Han Noodle Bar. The reception from the community has been excellent and they have a growing number of dedicated, repeat customers. Their restaurant partners are also happy, with many coming back for repeat events.
Chris says that it’s important for this project to be good for Rochester, and that means being fair to the restaurants. Nominate Meals deliberately hosts events on Wednesdays, when restaurants tend to be less busy. And they keep things simple—each restaurant offers two to three dishes with no substitutions or specialty items. The restaurants get an influx of easy orders that they can prepare in large batches, which keeps each event efficient and sustainable.
Simple and efficient doesn’t equal poor quality, though. The Nominate Meals team test drives every menu before an event, ensuring that each meal is both unique and delicious.
“You can be happy or miserable in Rochester…it’s all about how much effort you put in,” says Chris. Need a new idea for a mid-week dinner option? Nominate Meals is sure to curate something fun—and delicious.