Chicago Restaurant Community Continues Generosity – Day 5

(Lettuce Entertain You offering family meals from places like Ramen-San. Photo: LEYE)

The last week has been a challenge, sure, but having a 22 and a 19 year-old around isn’t nearly as difficult  as having little ones to entertain all day. To say nothing of the restaurant industry, which is buckling beneath our feet. If you haven’t already, buy gift cards, order delivery and takeout and keep funneling as much as is comfortable to your local restaurants. So far this week we’ve had dinner from Pacific Standard Time (curbside pickup) and lunch from Fat Rice. It’s been nice to have time to cook as well, and I’m considering doing more stories for ABC 7 on how you can be creative at home during this time. Speaking of which, I’ll be on ABC 7 today at 11 am, unless I’m pre-empted by a Special Report, in which case I’ll most likely be on at 4 p.m. I’ll post on social media.

Speaking of social media, there’s a Chefs Call to Action campaign launching this morning. It kicks off at 10 a.m. CST today. With the #toosmalltofail hashtag, organizers are asking people to contact their representatives and senators and insist bailouts go to both small restaurant owners as well as corporations.

I finally went to the local Jewel yesterday, where the shelves were picked clean in only certain areas: chicken breasts, pasta sauces, salsa and meds. Plenty of hearty braising greens and mushrooms folks! Here is an updated list of businesses who have sent me information about fundraising efforts, free meals for industry folks and any other specials. Resources at the bottom. Please keep sending to me and I’ll post as often as possible. Stay safe, wash your hands and don’t touch your face.


Tonight, kāl’ish/Sam & Gertie’s is cooking dinner for local restaurant workers at 6:30 p.m. Just show up. Despite the restaurant’s vegan menus, they’ll have stuff for carnivores too.

Starting today, Epic Burger is transforming its Lincoln Park location into a social distance-approved drive-thru. They’re also offering 50% off for anyone in the hospitality industry at all four locations, through March 30. Internally, they’ve raised $20k for fellow employees who’ve been furloughed, thanks to current employees donating a percentage of their paychecks to an optional support fund. Cool!

I can’t imagine opening a restaurant in this climate, but Miki’s Park has opened a walk-up window in River North.  Expect dumplings, K-F-C, Seoul sliders, rice bowls and Korean-inspired hot dogs.

Venerable Yoshi’s Cafe (now led by the late chef’s son in the kitchen), now offers take-out from 4 – 9 p.m. today – Sunday; Wed – Sunday in the weeks to come.

Yelp just announced it’s waiving ad fees and offering free advertising during this time.

Lettuce Entertain You has set up an Employee Emergency Fund and several of its restaurants are creating family meals – 3 meals for one week, feed a family of four for $150. They’re also offering cocktail kits.



Dining At a Distance (constantly updated list of local restaurants with delivery, carryout)

Buy a Dining Bond – just like a savings bond. Essentially a gift certificate that is sold at 25% less than face value, but redeemable for face value when dining at the restaurant. (for example, a $100 bond is purchased for $75, but is worth $100 when you dine at the restaurant later)

Chicago Hospitality United is donating 100% of proceeds from merch sales to hourly workers.



Bartenders Assistance & Relief – don’t need to be a member to apply for help, but must prove you’re a bartender who has been affected

Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 Injuries & Losses (courtesy Taft Law)

Commercial Real Estate Legal Issues Related to COVID-19 (courtesy Taft Law)

Illinois Restaurant Assoc. – latest updates for the industry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *