My friend, Gabby, from Undergrad at UT was kind enough to let me stay with her while I check out Syracuse. We went to a brewery restaurant called EMPIRE.
Looking at the menu, I saw a few items that made me wrinkle my nose and arch a brow. I settled with the unique San Francisco burger. I’ve been meaning to try a black bean burger and I really liked this one. I had to trade out the poached eggs because I don’t do that preferred scrambled eggs. It actually was pretty good! I was full after one half of the burger.
Gabby chose the catfish burrito, which sounded like a terrible idea but ended up tasting fine, according to her.
Overall, I’d give EMPIRE my stamp of approval because of the interesting meal options. They were vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. There was a live band and a nice light vibe.
While in New York, I was impressed with the diversity of the people around me. There are some amazing culturally authentic pockets tucked away. My adventure buddy, Bukky, had the idea to meet up with some of her family and try out a Nigerian restaurant called the Buka Lounge. I usually only eat Nigerian food at my house and at Nigerian parties, and I have never been to a Nigerian restaurant. I had been to scared to try Houston’s Fingerlicking restaurant (I have no idea why because I’ve heard mostly good things.)
I ordered: Goat meat pepper soup and a side of akara.
I love my mother’s goat meat pepper soup because it’s the right amount of spice; just enough, not too little. I was pleasantly surprised to find this pepper soup was very similar to my mom’s cooking, only a tad spicier. I had to keep my glass of water near by, but the burning around my lips let me know I was eating authentic Nigerian cuisine.
The akara and the sauce (it wasn’t quite stew) were delicious together.
Here are some other meals at the table:
Great dinner, great company.
On another day, we tried Indian food. I already love Indian food, so I ordered Tiki Masala with Jasmine rice and a side of Naan bread. Delicious!
Earlier last week, I got the chance to sit down with the Founder of a new food delivery service called “GrubSquad.” Interestingly enough, founder Ogo Ifelayo and I have been family friends for a long time. I had no idea he was sitting on this gold mine of an idea all along.
We met up at Dunn Bros Coffee shop. Check out my “Good Eats” post on Dunn Bros Coffee (link to follow)
Meet Ogo, founder of GrubSquad, food enthusiast, LSU alum , and all-around good guy.
Check out his interview:
Naturale Chronicles: First off—GrubSquad, that’s a great name!
Ogo: Thanks! It’s better than “OJ Deliveries,” and the other names I came up with before [laughs].
NC: Congrats on the recent launch!
O: Thank you. Yep, we launched the site on April 3rd. We had our launch at Sushi Raku. We had a great time.
NC: Ogo, for those who know nothing about GrubSquad, how would you describe what you all do?
O: Our slogan is “feeding productivity enthusiasts.” We know that life is busy. There are enough things to worry about. Getting something to eat shouldn’t be one of them. We are an online food delivery service that connects customers with the food they want, when they want it. There are great restaurants that don’t typically deliver, we’ve teamed up with them so they can give you “EXACTLY WHAT YOU, DELIVERED.”
NC: How did you come up with the idea?
O: I used to help out a lot of my friends with catering businesses by taking their orders to big events, parties, weddings, graduations, etc. When my brother got married and we were catering food from all over the city, I thought to myself “What if there was a more effective and efficient way to get the food you wanted?” I talked to a few buddies of mine and tossed around the ideas. I suddenly got organized and started writing down my ideas in a journal.
NC: What’s your favorite part about being the GrubSquad founder?
O: Honestly, the deliveries.
NC: Really! You mean to tell me the founder of GrubSquad still makes deliveries?
O: [laughs] Yes! We just started up, so I still make some deliveries. I enjoy serving people. I’ve done it all my life with through church, camps like Camp Quality (a camp for children with cancer), helping out friends, etc. I like meeting people and being able to help maximize their day in a cost effective way.
Ogo’s GrubSquad Mobile
NC: If you could name 3 goals for GrubSquad off the top of your head, what would they be?
O: Grub Squad wants to help customers:
#1. Be more efficient and productive with their lives.
#2. Have access to their favorite restaurants and a variety of healthy options.
#3. Explore new good food in a convenient way.
Sidenote: I wanted to check out the ordering process, so I pulled up the website, typed in my zipcode and Grub Squad pulled up their partnering restaurants in my area. I was delighted to see new places I had never been to and many of them at relatively low cost. Once I selected where I wanted to eat, the specific restaurant menu pulled up and I could click and add to the cart what I wanted. Very easy to use!
NC: Do you have a target audience?
O: GrubSquad is for everyone. Our primary market has been those busy professionals who barely have time for lunch.
NC: Yea, doctors, business people, teachers…
O: Exactly! A lot of times, the lunch break is too short to hop into your car, wrestle through traffic, and find a proper meal. We do the hard work so they can eat and still be productive and keep it moving.
NC: So…I’ve been eyeing that GrubSquad tee. Any chance I could get some GrubSquad gear?
O: Of course! We ordered some new batch of shirts. We’ll put them up for sale on the website sometime in the near future. We’ll hook you up!
Bottom line: GrubSquad gets my NC stamp of approval! All the foodies of Houston will love them for bringing good food to a central location. Ogo was telling me that Houston has a great food culture. I’m discovering that myself, and I think GrubSquad can be the tool we need to try new foods and still stick to our busy schedules. Foodies and “Productivity Enthusiasts” are in good hands with GrubSquad.