progressive dinner - strawberry dessert

Turn the drive-thru into a progressive dinner! 3 ways to elevate your takeout game

A progressive dinner is delicious AND fun!

We don’t want to kill any romance right out of the gate, but it’s too late to get Valentine’s Day dinner reservations. The sentiment among seasoned couples usually is that the restaurant crowds on a night like Valentine’s Day aren’t worth it anyway.

Since food is such a fun part of any holiday or celebration, Studio 5 Food Editor Chelsea Fairbourn is saving the day with a few elevated takeout options. These ideas are distinct and special, without that last minute dash.


Make it an Experience

Chelsea broke it down into three categories. First, make it an experience. These date night ideas are all about the memories and the meaning behind the takeout option. Even a spin through the drive through can be romantic, when done the right way!

Pizza Smorgasbord

This idea is totally cupid-approved. Everyone loves pizza, and it’s a play on the pizza party!

Grab your pizza squad. The more the merrier! You could even invite the neighbors over for a pizza block party.

“Pull over some neighboring families and everyone bring a pie,” Brooke said.

Next, head to your favorite pizza shops, but don’t just order any old pizza. Pick ones that are unique! Chelsea recommended choosing a pizza that your location of choice is known for. Ask the employees for their most-ordered pie.

Take it home to taste test! Slice up those pizzas and let everyone dig in. Rate them and share your thoughts. Get creative with your setup! Decorate the pizza party area with balloons, lights, and festive (paper) plates!

Pizza is an easy win. And when you turn it into an experience, it becomes an unforgettable memory. Pizza is love, and love is pizza.

Sticky Note Drive-Thru Date

Have a hard time deciding where to eat? This is your solution. It’s a choose-your-own dinner adventure.

First, gather your supplies. You’ll need some sticky notes and something to write with.

Break down your meal into a three-course journey: drinks, dinner, and dessert. Each course is like a pit stop on your food adventure. On separate sticky notes, write down the names of two places for each course. For example:

Drinks: Maverick and Swig

Dinner: Spitz (yummy Mediterranean food!) and McDonald’s (because everyone loves their fries!)

Dessert: Chick-Fil-A (those cookies are heavenly) and Fruteria

You and your date, or the kids, will take turns picking one for each course. Follow your picks to your progressive dinner! You’ll move from place to place for each course. If you drew McDonald’s for drinks, head there first. Then, for dinner, maybe it’s Spitz. And finally, dessert at Fruteria.



Make it Tasty

The next category Chelsea rolled out was all about taste. This takeout is a little more elevated than your fast-casual.

“I’m a snob when it comes to higher quality restaurants and when I do and don’t order takeout. Sometimes there can be a huge swing in quality,” Chelsea said. Only the best of takeout makes it in her book.


722 S. State Street, Salt Lake City UT

Sushi is always good for takeout. Whether you’re a seasoned sushi aficionado or just looking for a good experience, Sapa in downtown Salt Lake should be on your radar. Chelsea recommended the Imperial Roll, the green beans, and the beef Massaman curry.

“They have a very wide range of selections if you’re not a sushi person,” she said.


476 N. 900 West, American Fork UT

Sometimes takeout pasta can be a hit or miss. You might get a watery or steamy box depending on how it’s plated, and that could really ruin the whole takeout experience. Chelsea got technical with this recommendation.

Mastra in American Fork does their takeout right.

“They’re the only restaurant in the state that does a pesto lasagna,” Chelsea added. They offer a range of tiramisu, with and without coffee. She particularly loves their Nutella tiramisu.

Don’t forget the rocaccia—pillowy, herb-infused, and utterly addictive. Dip it in olive oil or devour it solo—your call.

Both restaurants typically require reservations, but you can swoop in there with a takeout order.


Make it Sweet 

Chubby Baker

317 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City UT and 1167 S. State Street, Orem UT

The Chubby Baker does Valentine’s donuts right. Chelsea said the strawberries and cream donut is the perfect way to end Valentine’s day on a sweet note!

Jeni’s Ice Cream

Found in Harmons, Smith’s and Whole Foods Stores. Order on the Jeni’s Ice Cream website for more flavors.

“I can’t shut up about this brand!” Chelsea exclaimed, “I love Jeni’s ice cream so much.” Jeni’s is known for their really creative, inventive flavors. Jeni’s isn’t your run-of-the-mill ice cream. They use grass-grazed cream for an extremely smooth and rich texture. Chelsea’s favorite: the powdered jelly donut flavor. Don’t even ask how they made it into an ice cream—but it’s spot on.

“It’s like biting into a powdered jelly donut, minus the sticky fingers,” she added.

They’re a little more pricey than your average pint, but a special occasion like Valentine’s Day calls for an elevated dessert. Swing by Harmons, Smiths, or Whole foods to grab Jeni’s pints. Once you try these scoops, you’ll be shouting them from the rooftops (just like Chelsea)!

The night isn’t lost if reservations have not been made. Celebrate with elevated takeout!

Find more foodie finds from Chelsea on Instagram, @yourgirlneedsfood.

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