Social distancing is working against COVID-19, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County. But your leftovers might be working against your appetite.
Some of the jewels of Vashon’s normally vibrant restaurant scene remain open for curbside pickup and takeout. But until you can dine out to your heart’s content, islanders who want the best of local cuisine can order in with the newly launched Vashon Eats food delivery service seven days a week. Owner Kingsley Northcott got a jump on the new business he started with his wife Claudia, an illustrator and graphic designer, last month when they launched a pilot program together, prompted by Gov. Jay Inslee’s measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 that shuttered public spaces.
“We literally put our heads to the grindstone and within one week fully developed the website, started creating partnerships with restaurants,” said Northcott.
Those partnerships — eight in all as of writing, with more on the way — include names such as May Kitchen + Bar, Sugar Shack, Vashon Pizza and even Vashon Brewing. Now, islanders can enjoy their favorite dishes (or IPAs) without having to leave home.
The Northcott’s moved to Vashon five years ago close to town, and Kingsley said they fell in love with Vashon’s restaurants.
“We really didn’t need a delivery service, even though, from living on the mainland, living in a lot of cities, we were used to having UberEats and applications available for us,” he said.
Last November they welcomed a baby boy.
“There are times when you don’t sleep at night, especially in these early stages,” Kingsley said. And when cravings found them, both on baby duty, too tired to think about getting in the car much less waiting for a table on a busy night, the idea for Vashon Eats was not far behind.
Their service works by visiting vashoneats.com to browse the available menus to order from. Patrons call 425-224-5540 when they’ve made their selections and leave the rest to the driver delivering their meal. Vashon Eats can also schedule an order ahead of time. Payment is processed securely by card over the phone at this time. Vashon Eats does not offer grocery delivery services.
As part of the pilot, Kingsley said he and Claudia are finding new ways to improve the service. Now that word is out, the work begins, learning how best to collaborate with the restaurants and the drivers they employ while reaching new customers.
“The trial is about the best way to be the most effective,” Kingsley said.
Islanders thinking of giving the service a try can be sure that their food is in safe hands. Every delivery driver has a food handlers permit. The small team wears personal protective equipment including clean gloves and P-100 masks for every run. The precautions are worth taking, Kingsley said, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because the Northcott’s hope to come to the aid of Vashon’s businesses in an uncertain time.
“We love the restaurants here. We have such a great culture on the island,” Kingsley said. “Everything’s island made and island owned.”