New food delivery service Eat Purely expands into Evanston

Ben Winck, Assistant City Editor

Chicago-based food delivery service Eat Purely expanded to serve Evanston earlier this month with its kitchen-to-door business model — and free delivery.

Eat Purely was founded in March 2015 and now delivers to more than 20 Chicagoland neighborhoods. A kitchen staff led by executive chef Sean Spradlin cooks new meals every day to be delivered around Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Eat Purely’s meals focus on nutritional balance and avoid the use of GMOs and preservatives.

Co-founder Raymond Lyle said the city was a great place for their new idea to gain a following, as the movement to eat healthier has gained traction in recent years.

“We see Chicago as the ideal place to start something like this,” Lyle said. “We’ve seen similar health restaurants popping up around the city. People are trying to eat organic, eat clean and healthy, and we’re trying to push that further.”

In order to differentiate itself from food delivery services like GrubHub and Postmates, Eat Purely prepares new meals every day before freezing them prior to delivery. Previous recipes include walnut pesto zucchini, grilled steak salad and truffled mushroom polenta.

Spradlin said the cooling process is essential to preserving the meals’ quality and that the food prepared by the kitchen is very similar to that found in an upscale restaurant.

“The fact that we make everything from scratch daily in house, we can ensure the quality of the food,” Spradlin said. “I run the kitchen with the same mentality of running a restaurant kitchen, just in a different format. We wanted to bring the experience of going out to eat to your home.”

The staff also praised the service’s affordable cost. Co-founder Dan Wetherald said other “middleman” services make their profits from various fees that often equal the price of the food, but Eat Purely offers free delivery and encourages tipping. He said Eat Purely’s checkout process is more transparent than competitors’ and doesn’t include hidden fees.

The service’s founders chose to expand to Evanston after gathering data about which areas around Chicago showed the most interest in the service. Spradlin said the demand for healthier food options from Evanston residents and Northwestern students was encouraging. Wetherald said Eat Purely caters to students in particular, as it gives them a cost-effective way to get food that can be either eaten right away or saved for later.

“Everyone knows when you’re in college that you don’t have a lot of time. You normally aren’t the type of person who cooks a lot,” Wetherald said. “Having a service like Eat Purely being convenient and healthy lowers the friction point on eating healthily for a busy young professional.”

As for the company’s future, Eat Purely plans on reaching out to more neighborhoods in Chicagoland before starting kitchens in other cities. Lyle said several areas around Chicago still show interest in the company, and expansion to new suburbs will come before moving to another city.

“We’re opening new zones every few weeks depending on what we can handle at that time, so we still have a lot of work to do here,” Lyle said. “We’re just a good meal delivery service. We’re just trying to have good, regular food delivered to the masses.”

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