It’s no secret that Covid restrictions wreaked havoc on the restaurant business, forcing everyone from industry leaders to everyday restaurateurs to conjure creative — sometimes transcendent — means for maintaining culinary voracity. The latest iteration of such ingenuity is blowing into town … via a Metro-North stop near you.
Every Thursday afternoon, Brooklyn-based MP, an Italian pasta and specialties company, delivers carefully curated products to the train station parking lots of Pelham, Rye, and Tarrytown.
The brains behind this unique, rolling venture is Missy Robbins, a James Beard Award winner and the much-lauded chef and owner of Lilia and Misi, two of Williamsburg’s most popular dining destinations.
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“We have people [from Westchester] that travel to Brooklyn to eat in our restaurants, and this was just a natural extension for us,” she says.
Robbins’ reverence for simple, regional, Italian cooking means she’s the best kind of chef: the kind whose respect for ingredients is so iron-clad she will refuse to serve you a sub-par strand of pasta. Or any lesser treasure.
Consistent requests from diners to take her food “to-go” at Lilia or Misi are systematically denied due to the inevitable suffering quality of a traveling noodle; an unacceptable allowance for this Italophile and the ingredients she reveres. Robbins wants her pasta to be experienced the way it’s meant to be, right from the heat to your plate.
So, in early 2020, she created MP, which provides customers with the tools to cook her food themselves. Her pasta kits include four orders of house-made pasta with sauce, and simple instructions so that, with little effort, diners can come close to soulful perfection without the trek to Brooklyn.
“All orders are taken before hand via our website, and we simply use the locations as a pick-up spot right from our delivery truck.”
Besides pasta, there are two grocery options: a pantry bag full of exceptional dry goods that make up Robbins’ own larder, like parmigiana, olive oils, and Calabrian chilies; or a garden bag of seasonally curated, farm-fresh vegetables, herbs, cheese, meat, and fish.
Robbins also offers a specialties bag that can include jarred goods like her marinated zucchini and artichokes, slow-roasted tomatoes in oil, and her semolina- and pecorino-crusted chicken cutlets for easy at-home cooking.
Robbins opened her first restaurant, Lilia, in 2016 (earning three stars from The New York Times), after maintaining coveted Michelin stars as executive chef at Café Spiaggia in Chicago, then at A Voce in midtown.
The quality of Robbins’ ingredients makes them worth seeking out. Plus, sourcing them from a nearby railroad has us singing Fee, fi, fiddly I oooo. Dinah, blow your horn!