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The Retro Dinner Diva

A local business delivers freshly homemade meals to your doorstep — wearing pearls and an apron nonetheless — to homes around Columbus! Learn all about the Diva behind the business here.

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In a world that often values speed over quality, Stephanie Eakins decided she wanted to slow things down a little. So Eakins quit her well-paying corporate gig to pursue her passion of cooking full time and created Retro Dinner Diva, a one-woman effort to serve delicious meals to those who may need a little home-baked goodness.

 

“I just thought I want to do what I’m passionate about and see if I can make it work and at the same time make a difference in other people’s lives,” says Eakins.

 

Retro Dinner Diva has been almost eight years in the making. The service delivers freshly prepared, ready to cook casseroles to homes around Columbus. Customers order their meal online by Friday night and can enjoy it next Wednesday delivered to their doorstep.

 

Upon quitting her job, Eakins began to build every aspect of her business herself. Despite not knowing much about web design, she built her own website, using word-of-mouth and social media marketing to promote Retro Dinner Diva. She even delivers the meals herself, driving around Columbus on Wednesday afternoons after cooking all day Tuesday and for part of the day Wednesday, in order to ensure optimal freshness.

 

“Delivery is probably the only part of the business I’m not passionate about,” Eakins says with a laugh. “I’m like a one woman show.”

 

She makes everything herself from scratch, and avoids the canned soups that are usually associated with casseroles. The menu changes monthly, and Eakins regularly tests out new recipes to see which will make the cut. She also tests to see which meals freeze well, since a lot of them are frozen to eat later.

 

The North Market, Whole Foods, Lucky’s Market and farmers markets around Columbus are where Eakins finds the majority of her ingredients, as she tries to buy local as much as she can. The menu features items like southwestern quinoa chicken casserole, mini hamburger sliders and tuna noodle casserole, along with lighter options.

 

“It’s food you can feel good about eating later,” says Eakins.

 

Since leaving the corporate world, Eakins says she’s “happier than ever,” despite the pressures of running her own business. She currently rents a commercial kitchen space and volunteers at Columbus Soup and Bread, the proceeds of which go to Mid-Ohio Food Bank. She also offers personal chef services for those with more specific food preferences. She’ll work with her clients to develop a menu based on their taste, then prepares and delivers the meals biweekly, weekly or monthly.

 

A new offering Eakins is promoting is freezer meal parties, where a hostess picks out a menu and Eakins does all the necessary shopping and food preparation. Guests show up to the party with a cooler and leave with approximately 12 freezer-ready meals.

 

Ultimately, Eakins says, as her business grows she’d like to continue to do the majority of the cooking herself (and maybe hire a delivery driver). She plans on eventually expanding her delivery to two days a week, but maintains that she wants to bring back an old-fashioned well taken care of feeling for her clients, akin to the regular milkman deliveries of decades past.

 

“I’d like to help with getting people to slow down a little and spend time with family and loved ones,” says Eakins. “My goal is to deliver a little nostalgia in every meal.”

 

Find out more about Stephanie and Retro Dinner Diva at www.retrodinnerdiva.com

 

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