“The world has changed, but excellent food stands the test of time,” reads the website for Kelly and Scott Nadler’s new Woodstock-based meal delivery business, Yes Foods. “We look forward to feeding our community once again and hope you will join us on this new adventure in food.”
The “again” piece refers to the Nadlers’ first commercial culinary undertaking: the Black Bear Deli, which opened in 2001 on Route 375 in West Hurley. It was a big risk for the young couple, who were expecting their second child at the time. Kelly had been running a video store with her mother, and Scott was doing masonry work. He had spent years as a cook, however, and trained at the School of Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism at Schenectady County Community College. “He was Taco Juan’s first employee, as a 12-year-old,” says Kelly.
“I was eight months pregnant and had $500 in the bank,” she recalls of the founding of Black Bear. “But it was an instant hit. Our business was very similar to what Bistro to Go does now, but there was nothing else like that around here at the time.” Scott’s cooking inspired more than one customer to praise “the best breakfast sandwich I ever had,” according to Kelly. Popular dishes also included pancakes, spicy chicken wraps, blue claw crab mac-and-cheese, chicken marsala, curried tofu, shrimp puttanesca and eggplant parmigiana. David Bowie was among their regular customers.
But their popularity was their undoing. After four years, Kelly relates, “We lost our lease. Our landlord said he did not expect that much traffic.” Black Bear Deli closed in 2005.
The couple’s next move was to purchase the Mountainside building, between West Hurley and Glenford on Route 28, near where Santa Fe and the Hotel Dylan are now located. That was an even-bigger risk, resulting in bankruptcy in 2008, “when the economy tanked,” Kelly recounts. “So, my husband went into property management. I went back to school to become a licensed veterinary technician,” at SUNY Ulster. She then pursued a second degree in social work.
Eventually the Nadlers’ financial situation eased, and they were able to send their two sons off to college. “I said, ‘I will dance in pork-chop panties in a lion’s cage before I go back into food again,’” Kelly recalls. “But then the plague hit, and we were getting everything delivered.” An ill wind blows nobody good, they say, and the COVID pandemic was the inspiration the couple needed to dive back into commercial cookery.
Their business model was to compete with newly thriving national companies such as Blue Apron, HelloFresh and Factor, but on a hyperlocal level. The menu would be similar to what their deli customers had loved before, but this time the food would be brought right to their doors. They invested in a van, worked out an arrangement to lease the kitchen at the former Zena Elementary School and got to work. Yes Foods launched in February 2023, and all systems are go. “What I’m hoping is to have ten vans,” says Kelly optimistically.
The way it works is that customers place their orders online as needed; there’s no subscription required. A new menu is posted every Thursday. The deadline to order is midnight on Saturday for Tuesday delivery and midnight on Tuesday for Friday delivery. Their twice-weekly van route visits Woodstock, West Hurley, Mount Tremper, Kingston, Saugerties, West Saugerties, Port Ewen, Ulster Park, Olivebridge, Stone Ridge and Hurley — basically, “anywhere within ten miles of Zena Road,” Kelly says. That includes the far ends of remote mountain roads where it’s usually difficult to get anything delivered, she adds. For those who live farther away, there’s now a curbside pickup option at the Zena School on Fridays only.
Most of the meals are fully pre-prepared, packed in insulated boxes with dry ice and ready to pop into the fridge, the oven or the microwave. You can get entrées, soups, sides, salads, deli specialties and desserts, breakfast dishes and brunch boxes. For the Fourth of July weekend, they instituted “build-your-own” backyard barbecue meal kits, with meat items ready to slap on the grill and your choice of assorted picnic salads.
Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan dishes are available, and all ingredients are labeled. Salads that contain cheese have them packaged separately to accommodate vegans. All dishes are prepared in small batches, and ingredients are ethically, sustainably and locally sourced to the greatest extent possible. Locally produced condiments such as bottled hot sauce and maple syrup are also available.
The minimum order amount is $35, plus a $5 delivery fee, which is waived on orders of $60 or more. Prices range from $2.50 for a container of potato or macaroni salad to $23 for a gourmet fish entrée. “The entrées are huge. They tend to be enough for two people,” Kelly says.
Who are Yes Foods’ client base? Busy professionals, retirees who don’t want to drive, people with home-based businesses, the ill or housebound, people who simply acquired a taste for having things delivered during the pandemic… and many who simply love Scott’s fresh, local, made-from-scratch cooking. “Food is our love language,” says Kelly. “Our tagline is ‘Happiness Delivered.’”
To learn more, view the current Yes Foods menu or place an order, visit www.yesfoodswoodstock.com.