Everyone can relate to the lunch bag blues — leftovers on their 3rd go-around or a sad sandwich you just can’t face. If you work in downtown Denver you can forget all of that. A new subscription meal service called MealPal is going to seriously improve your lunch repertoire.
This service lets you buy a meal plan (it started as lunch only but dinner has just started, we hear!) and you get 12 or 20 lunch entrees a month from 100s of Denver restaurants. You pay either $6.39 or $5.99 per meal depending on the package you choose. You pickup your lunch (skipping right to the front of the line). Each participating restaurant offers a different entree selection daily and you can filter you lunch options based on size of meal and nutrition preferences.
I used Mealpal for lunch over the past two weeks. Here’s what I found:
MealPal has an exceptional app and website. It is very user-friendly and makes the process of selecting your lunch extremely fast and easy. When your ordering window opens (5:00pm-9:30am) you get a reminder email and you can review the offerings for the next day. These can be viewed in a list or on a map, which is handy. You make your selection and pick a 15-minute pickup window.
While MealPal is fairly new to Denver, I was very impressed with the selection of restaurants participating. On any given day, I had a wide variety of options with a diversity of cuisines and everything from very clean and healthy to heavier, more indulgent choices. I was happy to find that using MealPal, I discovered some new restaurants downtown.
It’s fast – every lunch pickup was transacted within 5 minutes of walking in the door (some even faster). I loved walking outside to get my lunch (without MealPal there are days I don’t see the light of day during business hours — BONUS benefit!). I loved skipping the line, and the restaurants had it down pat. No confusion or delay. Food was ready and waiting for me.
The price is definitely a deal when you are eating downtown. BUT, that’s only if you like what you get! I had amazing meals most of the time. I enjoyed a delightful, healthy and filling Quinoa and Baby Kale Salad from Osterio Marco, a mouth-watering pulled pork sandwich and crunchy coleslaw from Russel’s Smokehouse, and a fresh and reliably tasty sushi roll from Tokyo Joe’s. All of these felt like a great value! I also picked up, but couldn’t even eat, a ginger chicken stir-fry from a restaurant I’d never tried before called Uncle Joe’s Hong Kong Bistro. The restaurant has great reviews; but unfortunately, this entree wasn’t a winner for me. It was at least 50% flaming hot Asian peppers). Worse, I had to figure out another lunch option after I’d already picked it up and was installed back at my desk. Grrr. Anything but a convenient value on that day.
My conclusion is that a 12-Meal package from MealPal is a no-brainer “Yes!” If you work downtown it is going to be a great experience. You’ll probably find that you get outside for some fresh air, discover some new restaurants, and enjoy convenient and delicious meals at a good price. And with the 12-Meal service you’ll still be able to brown bag it a few days a month!
The subscriptions are as follows:
20 meals: $5.99 per meal ($119.80 per mo)
12 meals: $6.39 per meal ($76.68 per mo)
The price per meal x the number of meals per month is your investment in MealPal. The price per meal is less than the price of the entree off the set menu, so it is a savings!
For this review, we welcome Sarah W., our newest member of the In Good Taste Denver team. To help facilitate the review, Sarah was provided with a trail subscription to MealPal. However, her opinions are her own.