I’m happy to admit that I truly love finding a food bargain: everything from happy-hour eats to coupons, anything to make eating in Boulder more fun and affordable.
The satisfaction of scoring a discount on dinner is the appeal behind Goodie Bag Co, a new platform created by a trio of Boulder students: Luke Siegert, Eddy Connors and Ethan Mills. Their idea took first place last August in the Silicon Flatirons Startup Summer Pitch competition at the University of Colorado. The business launched shortly thereafter.
“Goodie Bag connects customers to restaurants that have surplus food during the day. You know you’re going to get at least a 50% discount. It’s perfectly good food that they haven’t been able to sell,” Mills says.
Part of the company’s mission is to keep edible food out of landfills and to combat food insecurity.
Goodie Bag launched in Boulder in January and has lined up eight partners: Barchetta, Great Harvest Bread Company, Vitality Bowls, Pupusas Lover 2, Whole Sol Blend Bar and The Corner, Pizza 3.14 and Nude Foods Market.
Connors says about 500 customers have signed up at goodiebag.co. Restaurants offer one or more goodie bags in two sizes, which tend to get snapped up fast once the app alerts members, Mills says. The offers pop up typically from late afternoon to late evening when kitchens are closing. Customers click on an offer, pay online, then pick up the food.
Goodie Bag is currently targeting Boulder’s hungriest population — students and recent graduates living and working in central Boulder.
“Statistics show that one-third of students are food insecure, so it helps them,” Connors says. “But we’ve also seen young parents with kids take advantage of Goodie Bag.”
Bargains and mystery
What’s in a typical Goodie Bag? “Well, that’s the surprise,” Connors says.
The Goodie Bag twist is that customers won’t know exactly what’s for dinner until they open the bag or box. Diners must be open-minded and willing to taste the unknown.
“It can include messed-up orders, like the wrong topping on a Paleo bowl,” Connors says.
The massive discount comes with a few provisos. The customer has to pick it up from the eatery. They can’t sit at a table at the eatery or ask for it to be warmed up.
The sign-up process for restaurants and food businesses can take as little as one day. “There’s no fee for the restaurants to become partners,” Siegert says.
Solving the surplus pizza problem
Goodie Bag solves an age-old problem for food businesses.
“I like Goodie Bag because there is a lot of food waste in the restaurant industry, including pre-made food that doesn’t sell. If there’s a mess up on a pizza, seven times out of 10 the staff eats it, but a lot of it has gone in the trash,” says Jesse Jensen, chef/owner of Boulder’s Barchetta, the first eatery to sign up for Goodie Bag.
Barchetta’s bags are likely to contain pizza slices but can include small plates like wings, or dinner salads.
“Goodie Bag helps restaurants recoup some of the costs and it’s been really successful for us so far,” Jensen says.
The founders hope to expand the model to other college towns. “Everybody loves a bargain meal,” Siegert says.
Local food news
- Denver’s Curtis Park Deli has finally opened at 3000 Pearl Parkway in Boulder.
- Boulder’s Blackbelly has opened its expanded and renovated butcher shop and market for breakfast and lunch and meat sales (read more in this week’s Good Taste).
- Chocolate Lab — Colorado’s only chocolate-centric café — has reopened at 5575 E. Third Ave., Denver, serving dishes such as shrimp with milk chocolate chestnut risotto and Impossible meatloaf with chocolate mushroom gravy.
- Boulder’s Benevolence Orchard & Gardens is now offering a weekly mushroom CSA with an assortment of oyster, Lion’s mane and other varieties.
- Boulder Public Library’s Meadows Branch hosts a garden seed exchange Saturday, March 11. Bring home-harvested seeds and unopened store-bought seed packs. Leftover seeds will be donated to Meadow’s Free Seed Library.
- The Farmette in Lyons (4121 Ute Highway) offers workshops including Vegetable Gardening 101 (April 1) and Beekeeping 101 (April 2).
Vote with your taste buds
Boulder Weekly’s 2023 Best of Boulder survey welcomes your votes at boulderweekly.com. This is your chance to make sure your favorite eateries and food businesses get the recognition they deserve. Voting closes March 25.
Wine is now available in Colorado supermarkets. It is unquestionably a convenience, but I buy my wine and beer from independent wine and liquor stores like Public Wine, a new shop that just opened at 100 S. Public Road in Lafayette. I like the selection, the emphasis on local and the service at these places, and I want them to stay in business.
Nearly one-third of supermarket shoppers are choosing store brands over name brands and, in a pandemic echo, 29% of us are buying rice, beans and lentils again to keep grocery costs down, according to a recent Deloitte national survey.
Words to chew on
“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” —Yogi Berra
Send information about spring and summer food classes, experiences, farm stands and festivals in Boulder County and around Colorado to: Nibbles@BoulderWeekly.com