A year into the pandemic, Hailey Allen was sitting on the couch alongside her chef/boyfriend, Bryan Sparks, listening to him talk about his frustrations and dreams—and wondering aloud if he should strike out on his own.
Six weeks later the duo had launched Beloved-On The Go, a non-subscription meal delivery system featuring chef-driven, health-conscious, ready-to-eat dishes delivered direct to customers’ doorsteps. “We’re both big dreamers and creative people,” says Allen. “We launched the website on Tuesday and posted on our social networks for people to check it out, and we woke up Wednesday morning to our very first order.”
Sparks has worked at The Jacobsen, Jax, Broadway Bistro, and more. Allen grew up in a restaurant family and worked front of house at North Italia. She also makes the pottery that appears in photo shoots for the website.
They chose the name Beloved-On The Go for Sparks’s two-year-old daughter Esme, whose name translates to “beloved.” Sparks imagines the business will be a legacy for her, but he also wants to leave the grind of a business where he once worked 57 days without a day off.
His Beloved-On The Go menus are health conscious, featuring local farm ingredients whenever practical. Menu items are available in individual or bulk portions. Special diets can be accommodated. “Everything so far has been organic growth. When we say beloved is a family—and its really starting to feel like that right now, with everyone who orders from us—we’re legitimately building relationships,” says Sparks. “I think that’s one thing that sets us apart—a personal connection.”
There’s also an important philanthropic component. For every $100 food order, Beloved-On The Go provides $25 in food for those in need in Kansas City. “Cooking is a vessel I’m using, but it’s the creation of futures and lives for others is what I’m really passionate about,” he says.
So far, risotto is turning out to be Sparks’ favorite dish. Allen is fond of the butter chicken dish she created for the menu. It’s both dairy-free and features raisins for a hint of sweetness. And, no real surprise, Esme, like most toddlers, likes any of the pastas with red sauce.
The duo find inspiration while cooking to music. They create crazy playlists to jam out to when they’re in the kitchen. “I might have been singing some Boyz2Men last night and I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston,” says Sparks. “Cooking can be super stressful because we live and breathe off the opinions of other people—so if you don’t make it fun, you’re going to be miserable. You have to find moments to lighten it up.”