Iliana Regan, the star chef behind Michelin-starred Elizabeth in Lincoln Square, has announced the restaurant will add delivery and curbside services due to Chicago’s mandated restaurant and bar closures. Regan isn’t involved directly in this endeavor, her staff is in charge, and they’ll keep the money from sales as the dining room closes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While it’s rare that a fine dining restaurant would offer these options, the announcement isn’t a surprise from Regan. Back in 2017, she began selling home meal kits from Kitsune, her former North Center restaurant.
“Please support your small businesses in whatever way you can,” the announcement read. “Not only will this affect small businesses, but staff, farmers, purveyors and beyond. Best of luck, stay safe. Don’t go out unless you have to. Please reach out if you have any further questions.”
As Elizabeth doesn’t have the ability to offer staff paid sick leave over the next two weeks, delivery and carryout provided the best solution, Regan wrote via email. Regan said she isn’t asking to be reimbursed for food or supplies used for the orders.
It’s a difficult situation for Regan as her mother and wife are members of high-risk groups and vulnerable to contracting the novel coronavirus. The chef is practicing social distancing and staying in to keep her family safe. That’s why her staff is leading the charge on delivery and takeout.
All Illinois restaurants will close at 9 p.m. Monday, as Governor J.B. Pritzker has ordered all dining rooms and bars to shutter. Carryout, delivery, drive-thru, and curbside services are exempt. Many restaurants, like Elizabeth, are for the first time offering these options so they could continue to pay their employees.
“We are in a particularly tight spot because of the nature of our reservations. If you have never dined with us before, we are a small, mom and mom owned business, with nine tables. Please try to understand that the nature of our cash flow is not currently set up to refund reservations,” the announcement also read.
For those with Elizabeth reservations on dates affected by the temporary closure, staff hope to reschedule. Regan and her team are figuring out what food they’ll offer, and advise customers to follow their Instagram account for updates.