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'We've always been hustlers' | Restaurants get creative making coronavirus meal kits

"If you want to survive you have to figure out how to adapt," the owner of Nudo House said

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis restaurant owners have been feeling the heat from COVID-19, but they're cooking up a plan to keep business in high demand.

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Beyond curbside and pick up, some owners are whipping up, quarantine food kits for families.

Mitch Frost, the owner of Pi Guy said they've canceled their pizza-making classes.

So the next best step? To bring the experience into your home.  

"It's just me right now in the kitchen to make some money. I had to start getting a little creative," Frost said. 

Credit: Pie Guy

That's when he created a DIY pizza kit, with all the essentials such as sourdough, pizza sauce, and toppings. 

On their website, they have cooking directions. 

"Every day we are sold out, about 35-45 pizza kits," he said. 

Gezellig is next door, so you can get a beer when you pick up the pizza, he added.

Pi Pizzeria is also throwing their pizza kits into the mix.

Credit: Pi Pizzeria

Owner Chris Sommers said their kits were one of the first in the market, and they have something special. 

"It includes lots of math problems for kids of all ages, to get the homeschooling educational component, too," Sommers said.

Qui Tran, owner of Nudo House said they're selling noodles and broth, so you can make your own recipe.

"If you want to survive you have to figure out how to adapt. We've always been hustlers. We're trying to find a way to be more scrappy and survive this thing out." Tran said, "This will help people be more creative and be their own chefs at home."

Tran said sales of the kits have picked up every week. They plan to do videos on how to make certain dishes. They're also working with Schnucks to have food in their stores in May.

Mission Taco Joint is allowing you to build your own tacos.

Credit: Mission Taco Joint

Vincent Marsden, owner of Vincent Van Dough said his shop added a quarantine doughnut decorating kit. 

"Being forced to get creative creates other streams of income," Marsden said.

You can get six doughnuts with different toppings. Those doughnuts can also be gluten-free or vegan. 

Credit: Vincent Van Doughnut

Not only has this sparked more business, Marsden said, this also allows him to continue connecting with his customers.

Pictures of happy faces are rolling in, as families enjoy this sweet experience.

"We've got a lot of people sharing those smiles and whatnot. We get to have those frequently coming in, even when they aren't coming into the store. They are giving us exactly what we are in business for," Marsden said.

Marsden said even though these are new ideas, they are ones that will stick around. 

"That's the silver lining, that you come on the other side with all these cool ideas."

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