Zomida Will Deliver Home-Cooked Meals to Your Door

The Cambridge startup, which provides a healthy alternative to takeout, launches in spring.

Zomida photo provided to Boston Magazine.

We’ve all been there: Too busy or tired to fire up the stove, we reach for something frozen and microwaveable—or the phone number of the closest pizza joint.

Add in all the apps flooding the Boston food delivery market, and it becomes all too tempting for people to press pause on home cooking in favor of a fast, easy meal. Soon, however, fresh delivery service Zomida will provide some healthy competition.

“We’re going to bring home-cooked meals right to people’s doorsteps, just like a Chinese restaurant or pizza place would,” says Zomida founder Amir Valliani. “I know I’m not the only one eating terrible food who doesn’t have time to cook.”

Zomida will let chefs sign up online and specify their full menus, operation times, and delivery zones. Customers can then easily surf the platform, filtering by type of food and price, with the option of a one-serving or bulk order.

Valliani first launched a pilot version this summer, with fellow Harvard Kennedy School student Subhadra Banda. Orders doubled every week for four weeks, until the two women couldn’t keep up with demand. Now revamped and ready for more orders, the service will re-launch in spring 2016.

“There’s this huge underserved market of folks who want to eat healthy, but don’t have time to cook,” Valliani says. “Working parents who hate putting takeout on the table, or grad students who are sick of Chipotle.”

While there are some pricey niche dishes on the app, most ring in between $8 and $10 per meal—roughly the same price point as fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle, Clover, and Sweetgreen, part of Zomida’s aim to rival chains that, as Valliani says, “are pretty healthy, but sometimes pretty generic.”

Valliani says there will also be a wide range of cuisines and styles of cooking on the app, thanks to the diversity of chefs.

“The variety of chefs signing up for the service is amazing,” she says, adding that she and Banda taste-test each chef’s food. “Some are recent immigrants who can pick up a quick job by making meals inspired by home, or food truck owners who are really passionate and want to sell more food on the side.”

And while doing away with traditional takeout is good for patrons’ health, Valliani says it’s also about bringing a personal connection back to mealtime.

“When I was little, my mother would pick up fresh meals for us from other women in the community,” Valliani says. “I think people will value putting that care and attention back on their plates.”