The Family Meal Deal at Blue Heron Brewery

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Blue Heron Brewery & Event Center general manager Khadar Soussou (left) and executive chef Ben Erjavec (center) and co-owner Mike Piazza load another Family Meal Deal into the back of a customer’s vehicle—curbside. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Mitch Allen

Khadar Soussou is obsessed with creating a positive customer experienced. Unlike most restaurants that can dismiss a single upset diner, he’s the general manager of Medina’s Blue Heron Brewery & Event Center, where a glitch during a wedding reception can create 300 upset guests and create a negative memory for the bride and groom for the rest of their lives.

So just after the March 13 shut-down when Khadar and his team launched a new takeout service offering a corned beef special on St. Patrick’s Day, he went home after an exhausting day and began checking their reviews on Facebook. It wasn’t pretty. While many customers were posting complimentary photos of their corned beef dinners, many others were complaining about not being able to get through on the phone to place their orders.

“We just weren’t set up to handle that volume of phone calls,” Khadar recalls. “That’s when I knew we were going to have to do things differently.”

The Family Meal Deal
The very next day, the Blue Heron team created their now legendary Family Meal Deal, retooled their website to accept online orders—including taking credit card payments—and developed a simple, no-touch, curbside pickup system where customers arrive in prescheduled, 30-minute increments, and have their orders placed directly in their trunks.

It was a smashing success. In fact, when I interviewed Khadar two weeks ago, he reported that the team was recovering from serving 1,800 filet mignons on Saturday evening, May 2.

“We’re used to doing volume,” Khadar explains. “In the summer, we often do six weddings on a weekend so our systems were already in place. We just needed to convert to curbside pickup.”

Blue Heron features different family meals and a limited curbside menu each week. Check their website for details.

The success of Blue Heron’s Family Meal Deal is in its extreme value. Let’s take those 1,800 filets, for example. That deal was six 7-ounce, hand-cut filet mignons; six baked potatoes topped with butter, sour cream and cheese; roasted summer vegetables; Blue Heron house salad featuring Arcadian field greens, English cucumbers, and sliced Roma tomatoes; and a bottle of wine—all for just $60.

“The idea is to feed mom, dad and the kids a high-quality meal and even have leftovers,” Khadar says. “And do it at an affordable price at a time when everyone is worried about their finances.”

Three hundred families ordered the six-filet meal deal online and 300 cars dropped by to pick them up. Oh, and how do you prepare 1,800 filets all at the correct temperature? Khadar figured that out, too.

“We cooked them all medium-rare, then enclosed detailed instruction on how to bring them up to medium, medium-well, and well in a 350-degree oven,” he says. “People loved it.”

Khadar says executive chef Ben Erjavec has unleashed amazing creativity in developing high-quality, affordable meals that also work well for curbside pickup. Chef Ben’s Mother’s Day Surf and Turf Feast, for example, was non-traditional, featuring a grilled chicken breast drizzled with a sweet lemon garlic sauce; garlic-parmesan-crusted jumbo shrimp; spinach salad with fresh raspberries, walnuts, goat cheese and a raspberry vinaigrette; wild rice pilaf; fresh roasted vegetables; giant gourmet cookies; and a bottle of white wine. They sold 300 meals.

Each Friday, Blue Heron announces the Family Meal Deal menu, which is served the following week on four days—Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Pickups happen on the half hour beginning at 4:00 p.m. and running until 6:30 p.m.

Blue Heron also features a limited curbside menu, including a burger and fries for just $8 and 50-cent wings.

And don’t forget about the brewery. You can pick up a growler of beer for just $15—with no deposit required on the growler.

4-Pack Cans of Blue Heron Brews!
Brewer Mike Piazza has been hard at work in the brewery, and is now offering a new way for Blue Heron patrons to get their craft brew fix at home.

Add a four-pack of cans to your Family Meal Deal on, featuring the legendary Brewer’s Mix— Blue Heron IPA; Hazy Wife, Hazy Life IPA; Mother in Lager Dortmunder; and Pour Spot American Brown Ale.

Brewer Mike Piazza has been hard at work in the brewery, and is now offering a new way for Blue Heron patrons to get their craft brew fix at home.

You can also order a four-pack of any of these individual brews.

Engaging the Community

Khadar and his team are also supporting other local businesses and non-profits. Through a partnership with Ken Ganley Kia, you can purchase a #MedinaStrong t-shirt for $20 on the Blue Heron website with all proceeds going to United Way of Medina County. Just pick up your shirt(s) curbside.

Blue Heron Brewery and Event Center is located at 3227 Blue Heron Trace in Medina. You may place an order for no contact, curbside pickup by visiting For more information, call 330-870-BLUE.