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Originally printed in the Scarlet and Black and online at http://www.thesandb.com/article/mcnallys-serves-it-up.html
McNally’s Foods may be known for its fresh food and produce, but it offers more than the raw materials for a meal. You can now add the local grocery store on Main Street to your list of off-campus lunch options, because McNally’s has started to serve fresh-made meals during the week. In fact, the hot food counter is one of the centerpieces of the new McNally’s location.
For owners Randy and Julie Smith, promoting hot food at the previous McNally’s location was tough. With the move across Main Street this past August, the Smiths made sure that a lunch area and hot food would be featured prominently in the new location.
“Something that was a huge tragedy—having to leave that building—actually turned into a big blessing. This has worked for us even better than we had imagined,” said bakery and deli manager David Barnes. “We have a fairly regular lunch crowd and quite a few people like to get their groceries and lunch in one go.”
The hot food counter offers a rotating menu of meals you can either take out or enjoy in the new seating area. Plenty of tables, a beautiful wall mural and a good view of Main Street through the large storefront windows create a comfortable eating space. The regular stream of lunch and grocery customers also adds a liveliness, making it a likely venue to run into friends, professors or townspeople.
The hot lunch menu is offered from 11 a.m. until about 1:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday, with a different daily special alongside regular options. Prices are very reasonable for the amount of food provided and all entrees are well under five dollars. The menu is fairly meat and gluten-heavy, but vegan and gluten-free options are currently being developed, according to Barnes, an employee of McNally’s for 20 years.
Recently, the addition of health foods, dried fruit and other specialty options from Juli’s Natural Foods has added even more unique options to snag from McNally’s. While Juli’s Natural Foods has decided to no longer stay in business, its offerings will still be available at McNally’s, and Juli will still be around to offer her expertise, according to Randy Smith.
With so many options to choose from, I was faced with a tough decision when I visited McNally’s for lunch. But then again, it’s tough to go wrong with delicious food. I ended up enjoying a chicken pot pie. A crisp, flaky crust split open to reveal the gooey goodness of rich chicken and vegetables in a creamy sauce. The warm pie was substantial and filling, rich without being overwhelming. It was clearly freshly made, as the crust was still light and the vegetables still full of flavor. The other options in the case looked equally tempting, especially the crowd-favorite, the “Tater Tot Casserole” (five people ordered it while I ate my lunch). The bakery case also offers pastries, including the dangerously delicious cinnamon roll I enjoyed, baked with tightly rolled croissant dough and topped with rich frosting.
McNally’s is a great lunch option for those looking to enjoy simple food with superb ingredients. Its grocery store selection ensures that every meal is made with fresh materials, which you can taste in the food. Topped with a friendly staff, it’s an incredibly convenient way to get a good, hearty lunch in and grab groceries, all in one place.