BROOKDALE, N.S. – Elizabeth Soloway is getting used to hearing plenty of expletives when people sample the food at D&E’s Smoked Meats, Kitchen and Catering Services.
“Oh My God! is probably the one we hear the most. There are quite a few of them,” said Soloway, who operates the Brookdale-based food business with Dan Corbett. “It’s always followed by ‘this is so good!’”
Solloway and Corbett knew they were taking a risk when they entered the food business last fall when the opened their food and catering business on Willow Street just outside Amherst. From a soft opening in late October, their business has been a state of constant growth in just six weeks.
“It started as a concept in being able to provide the community with delicious, nutritious meals at very affordable prices,” Corbett said. “It’s not something you see a lot of when it comes to buying meals from the grocery story that are ready to eat.”
Corbett, who is a Type 2 diabetic, said he is conscious of what he eats every day. It’s this knowledge and his experience that enabled him to come up with a menu along with Soloway, who is a nurse at All Saints Hospital in Springhill, Cordon Blue-trained chef Jonah Harrison and Dawn Simmonds.
In his previous career, in which he spent considerable time on the road, he found most menus were bread-based and not always the healthiest. He and Solloway started mass cooking for themselves and the children when they came up with the idea of preparing healthy and fresh foods for families that always face time pressures.
“We offer a menu that allows people to order ahead of drop in and pick up something that is quick to prepare when they get home,” Corbett said. “A lot of people are very busy with the jobs and family life, sometimes coming up with something to eat for the family can be challenging. That’s what we had in mind when we developed the menu.”
All of its meats come from Dickie’s Meats in Leicester and every bit of it is smoked in-house. Depending on the day of the week, customers can get juicy pork, buttery beef brisket, melt-in-your-mouth whole chicken, homemade sausage, full racks of ribs or creative options from the chef.
There are also slaws, salads and cooked vegetables that are vacuum-packed and waiting for pickup in the Grab-and-Go fridge.
It also offers pulled pork sandwiches made to order.
“There’s nothing like this anywhere around here and its home-made quality food,” she said. “It’s not the chemical-packed items you may find at some grocery stores.”
Corbett said when he and Soloway were younger, their parents passed on the importance of a healthy, hot meal at the end of the day. Their parents would mass cook in advance so the kids could throw home-cooked meals in the oven after school, be fed and have the dishes cleaned by the time their parents arrived home in the evening.
Both believe in locally-sourced products with almost all its vegetables coming from Nova Scotia producers and distributors.
They realize opening a food business is risky, and the competition fierce, but so far it gone very well and that has been without a massive advertising campaign. Solloway said most, if not all, their advertising and promotion has been through social media sites, Facebook and word of mouth.
She said they are hoping to get out to various fairs and markets in the coming months to share their food and they are planning to advertise in traditional locations such as radio and the newspaper.
Corbett said it’s always best to call ahead to order, so food can be prepared and ready for pickup. That way it’s at its freshest. For more information, call 902-397-4868, see D&E’s Smoked Meats, Kitchen and Catering Services on Facebook or its website https://smokedmeat.co/.