Nabila Okudo '22/President of Marketing & Director of Branding + Creative Design, 2 Stay 2 Go LLC

Chef Will Henderson '22, without consulting a recipe, whipped up a delicious chocolate mousse.

September 30, 2021

Founded by Daniel Jones, Built by Ithaca: 2 Stay 2 Go LLC

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I showed up at Daniel Jones’ ’22 house expecting to have a one-hour interview while trying some different foods. Little did I know that my short interview would turn into a two-day behind-the-scenes tour of 2 Stay 2 Go LLC.

Daniel Jones, a 21-year-old in the School of Hotel Administration, is a truly remarkable individual. Wanting to create an innovative hospitality brand that was bigger than himself, he founded 2 Stay 2 Go in October 2020. The original concept behind the restaurant was having customers vote with their dollars on which items would stay on a rotating menu. Last year, the southern fried chicken sandwich was a fan-favorite, returning week after week. Since then, the company has evolved far beyond the original Collegetown takeout storefront to become an umbrella organization for several different culinary concept spinoffs. Daniel is the current CEO and creative mastermind of 2 Stay 2 Go LLC, with a hand in every dish.

A recent evolution of 2 Stay 2 Go is Luv Buttah: a distinctive collection of 10 compound butters Chef Dan himself invented and perfected, along with a finely tuned mac ‘n cheese recipe. I particularly enjoyed the delicious roasted garlic butter, with notes of lemon and onion. Luv Buttah has a dual purpose of first bringing the flavor, and then spreading the love. All of these unique creations will soon be available for nation-wide shipping.

What differentiates 2 Stay 2 Go from any other brand is the authenticity every chef brings to the kitchen. Daniel Jones runs a tight ship and expects a lot of his employees, but he gives them just as much in return. His chefs get the freedom to experiment with flavors and ingredients, each putting a unique twist on traditional dishes. The 2 Stay 2 Go chefs are currently in the research and development phase of the business, both brainstorming new restaurant concepts and experimenting with new, unique dishes made from fresh, local ingredients.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Chef Will Henderson ’22, President of Soul of the South Cooking, and one of Daniel’s chefs in training. Chef Will’s culinary journey started in middle school when he would get up early to make burritos to sell to other kids at lunch. When he arrived as a CALS undergraduate at Cornell, Chef Will started a small catering company geared toward friends and fellow Ujamaa dorm residents. He specializes in baking and soul food, and is passionate about using the ingredients around him to make something beautiful.

Daniel was confident I would be impressed by Chef Will’s baking skills, and asked him to bake three sensational, unique desserts for me. I was blown away watching Chef Will whip up masterpieces without once looking at a recipe. I first tried an airy chocolate mousse, which he spontaneously accented with a splash of cold brew coffee. Next was an apple galette, consisting of thinly sliced apples flawlessly arranged and folded over with pastry dough. I would have been blown away by just one of these desserts, but Chef Will dropped the mic by making cheesecake cream puffs with a cinnamon sugar glaze — my personal favorite. Yes, Chef Will whipped together a decadent cheesecake filling that he piped into delicate cream puff pastries.

Chef Dan has big plans to grow his company and has the vision and dedication to make it happen. He gets up at the crack of dawn daily to deep clean the kitchen and cook before starting school work, circling back to recipe development in the afternoon. I expect big things from Daniel this upcoming semester, and I look forward to following his cooking and business journey.

Starting tomorrow, Oct. 1, 2 Stay 2 Go LLC is taking its first step in becoming an innovative hospitality brand by releasing a business plan for the semester on their website. On Friday, Oct. 15, 2 Stay 2 Go will officially open for orders!

Olivia Smith is a senior in the College of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at [email protected].