Care for an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes at an unusually run food establishment?
We hope to share what’s behind the pretty cake photos, past the front counter, and into the nitty-gritty of the challenges AND triumphs!
There are many reasons why a lot of restaurants have either closed, restructured, raised their prices, or cut down menu items since the pandemic started. For us, we have felt the heavy load of the pandemic, too. Every day, we ask ourselves if we want to keep going. Endless repairs, not enough staff, growing demand (which is a good thing), inflation, supply chain shortages, the never-ending list of problems to solve on a given day can crush the soul. How much can a team take? How do we keep going when we feel like we’re spinning wheels?
We partially opened indoors very recently - February 2022. We waited until both our staff and guests were ready. Operating P.S. & Co. has always been about innovation, transparency, and delivering the best quality from product to people. When advice is given to “compromise” on ingredients or compensation, my internal thought is, yes, we need to make money to survive, but that isn’t the intentions of P.S. & Co. Hoping money will come later when the fruits of our labor have paid off, but if we compromise on the values that make us stand apart, then I’d rather not run this business. Someone else can take over!
We’ve made many changes to our business to still be here. However, our prices have always been a bit higher than industry standards because of the ingredients we use and the work that goes into the small-scale kitchen that we operate.
Organic. Plant-based. Gluten-free. These are three words that help to define what we offer in terms of our ingredients. Sourcing organic isn’t all that easy, especially when we need it readily available. We never stray from our commitment to stay organic, plant-based, and gluten-free. We are also kosher parve and our menu items are scratch-made. If an organic option is out of stock from our vendors, you will see us buying it at Mom’s Organic Market or Whole Foods to get the retail version. The organic option can sometimes be double the price of conventional items. If an item is out of season or we can’t find it, we scratch it all together. We would rather use organic arugula in a salad that’s supposed to be made with lacinato organic kale than choose something that doesn’t align with our mission.
Our gluten-free ingredients are fiber-rich, hearty, and provide tons of nutrients. A lot of commercial vegan, gluten-free products can include inflammatory oils, refined sugars, and digestive triggering ingredients like carrageenan or excess gums. To share an example of how labor-intensive our recipes are, I’m unable to source an oat flour that is both organic and gluten-free. However, I can purchase oats that happen to be certified in both. Therefore, we grind our own oat flour to maintain those standards. Wonder why our cake slices start at $15? This is one of the reasons why. We also grind our own organic flax seeds as the egg replacer, along with making our own organic applesauce as the binder for cakes.
Our food is clean, health-forward, and nutrient-dense. We want you to feel good while eating and hope our menu provides a gateway to feeling and living your best life ever. As of the last few months, we have brought on a new chef-curated option called Prep, which is an exclusive service where we prep weekly seasonal produce, create sauces, soups, curries, fiber-rich grains, plant milks, snacks, and more. You can either pick up your weekly ingredients at the shop or we can come to your home to organize and help get your health journey started with the pantry and refrigerator. Life can easily get in the way of nutrition. We just want to be a lending hand to take the hassle out of cooking. In addition to Prep, we offer plant-rich meal plans. These are great for someone with a busy lifestyle who can’t always make time for cooking. They are also wonderful for someone who is looking to jumpstart their plant-based lifestyle, trying to get more nutrients into their diet, or is looking for a seasonal cleanse.
Our menu is made from scratch. It’s pretty rare to see this among restaurants because it cuts into the already slim profits. A smart restaurant operator would make very little from scratch, and the ones that do highly skilled recipes are fine-dining/more expensive establishments. We only have a few items in our entire establishment that we source pre-made: our trusted Miyoko’s brand organic butter and cream cheeses, as well as noodles. I intentionally created our concept as a casual, approachable place so one didn’t need to feel formal or pay even higher prices if we were a fine-dining restaurant, I get the feeling this may have backfired! Because we are more of a cafe-style, it’s not obvious the amount of attention and detail we put towards creating our menu.
When it comes to labor, we have made it a point to pay above industry standards, create set schedules that allow our team members stability; and since 2019 have provided health insurance, paid time off, and 401K savings. I made a point not to take a paycheck until we could provide benefits for salaried employees. The restaurant industry (and its menu prices) has historically been built upon low wages, few benefits, and erratic and unreliable hours. We have always had set schedules since the day we opened, and an open feedback environment. But, all of those feel-good measures are tough to compete with larger restaurants or highly profitable ones that can afford to pay staff more.
I want to see our recipes and products live on forever, beyond my tenure. I, also, want to enjoy life and work on new projects! We will be looking for potential interested investors or partners who would like to continue our concept, while I start early retirement! If you happen to be someone who wants to learn more, we are always happy to share!