‘Halfway Homemade’ Is the Dining Trend We Should All Get On Board with Right Now

On March 16, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered bars to close and restaurants to pivot to takeout-only. Sadly, this means A) we don’t get to eat out for the foreseeable future and B) the staff at our favorite spots might lose their jobs. But not all is lost. A clutch of indefatigable restaurateurs has started or ramped up their takeout offerings, including a novel concept that we’re calling “halfway homemade.” These are kits to make delicious meals at home, or nearly fully prepped meals that just need to be finished in your own kitchen. Many of these places have curbside pickup (just call ahead and they’ll run it out to you) or use delivery services. It’s a great way to support local restaurants while enjoying the freshest meals around with minimal fuss. Here are our picks of the best ones in town.

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1. Jon & Vinny’s: Dried Pasta And Sauce

This hipster Italian red-sauce joint is known for its rustic pizzas and authentic house-made pastas. You can order a bag of the cheese-intensive Bolognese or fresh pomodoro and dried pastas—shelf-stable for now and satisfying forever.

412 N. Fairfax Ave., 323-334-3369, or 11938 San Vicente Blvd., 310-442-2733;

2. Kismet Rotisserie: Rotisserie Chicken

It’s not exactly a kit or even a recipe, but ordering via DoorDash or picking up one of Kismet’s succulent whole birds with chili and garlic sauce is the ideal two-in-one meal. Enjoy it first with sides from Kismet, like turmeric-roasted cauliflower and shredded carrots, then put the carcass and scraps into a soup with some chopped carrots, celery and white rice. Now that’s the kind of thriftiness Grandma would approve of.

4666 Hollywood Blvd.;

4666 Hollywood Blvd.;

3. Guerilla Tacos: Emergency Nacho Kit

Let’s say you wanted a big plate of deliciousness that you could nibble on all week. That’s the pocho taco at this downtown spot, where $40 gets you one pound of spiced wild boar, toasted pine nuts, house-made queso (with cotija, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese), chipotle crema, avocado salsa, beans, onion and cilantro—all ready to assemble. There are also sweet carne asada and roasted chicken taco kits to choose from, plus jumbo 96-ounce pre-mixed margaritas ready to go (they’ll last in the fridge for a week, lest you think your small household has to imbibe them all immediately).

2000 E. 7th St.; 213-375-3300 or

4. Zinc: Pasta Kit

This fab French bistro that’s famous for its breakfast, lunch and brunch service has pivoted to a grocer offering everything from almond milk to mixed greens. But what’s really getting our attention are the mouthwatering pasta kits—little single-serve assemblages of noodles and sauce. Pick up a box (or two or three) of penne with marinara or linguini with clam sauce, all served with a side of garlic knots.

580 Mateo St.; 323-825-5381 or

5. Little Doms: Cocktails, Fixings And Freezer Meals

Not only is there a daily $25 three-course “pan-dom-ic” menu available (say, arugula salad, ricotta ravioli and chocolate budino), but there are also pickup orders or Caviar deliveries of grocery items you’d find at your favorite Italian grocer. Need a pound of rosemary ham or sopressata? Want some frozen meatballs? Freezable baked ziti in a pan? It’s all here, along with wine and 16-ounce servings of cocktails including margaritas, Bloody Marys, Moscow Mules and the topical Penicillin (scotch, ginger, lemon and honey).

2128 Hillhurst Ave.; 323-661-0088 or

6. Broken Spanish: Freezable Tamales And Salsas

Stocking up on tamales is always a good idea, and when you can order a bunch to be picked up curbside from this superb Mexican joint, you’re in luck. Kale and mushroom, lamb neck and oxtail are some of the savory filling choices, with a quart of refried lentils and pints of mole negro and salsa verde on the side obligatory.

1050 Flower St.; 213-749-1460 or

7. Huckleberry Café: Baked Goods

Not only does this casual, next-level bistro want to be your new neighborhood market, they are also keeping their freezer case prepped with take-and-bake family packages, such as mac and cheese, cheese lasagna, braised brisket, soba noodle salad and a bajillion other choices. Call two days ahead to reserve your farmers market box, and make your house smell delightful (and your fellow occupants happy) by baking a batch of gluten-free oatmeal raisin or whole wheat chocolate chip cookies from their easy-to-make mixes.

1014 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; 310-451-2311 or

8. Birdie G’s: Cold Cuts And Special Spices

Sorry Oscar Meyer, we’re making our sammies with corned brisket, olive and Calabrian chili loaf and more from the experts in comfort food. There is also all manner of special spices on offer to use on your chops (chili-fennel pork rub), steaks (house-made steak sauce) and chicken (tiki barbecue sauce). Roll up from noon to 8:30 p.m. or leave it to Postmates or ChowNow.

2421 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; 310-310-3616 or

9. Tallula’s: Margaritas And More

What a time to be alive: Now you can add pre-batched margaritas, Palomas (tequila, lime and grapefruit) and assorted beers to your online delivery or curbside pickup, just as long as you also order food. So, put in for a dozen grass-fed beef-pork meatballs in yellow coconut curry sauce and a half-dozen chicken enchiladas made with blue corn tortillas and chili verde sauce. Because you can always freeze the food, but you need those Palomas immediatamente.

118 Entrada Dr., Santa Monica; 310-526-0027 or

10. Gwen: Rib Eye Steak

While dinner amid the sparkling interiors of this steak house, with its high ceilings hung with chandeliers, glossy tiled walls and glam leather booths, is not going to be re-created in your eat-in kitchen, a big part of chef Curtis Stone’s restaurant’s appeal can be. Namely, 30-day dry aged rib eye steak available for delivery right from the butcher case, along with pantry staples, dairy, eggs and ground beef and pork.

6600 Sunset Blvd.; 323-946-7513 or

6600 Sunset Blvd.; 323-946-7513 or

11. Pizzeria Mozza: Diy Pizza Kit

Here’s everything you need to make your own version of the eatery’s famous Margherita pizza at home, including easy-to-follow instructions. It’s all about the thin and crispy crust as well as the fresh, quality ingredients. Bonus? This will teach your kids that pizza doesn’t just magically appear on your doorstep.

641 N. Highland Ave.; 323-297-0101 or

dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...