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Pilsen Restaurant to Give Away Food Monday Night to Cope With Pandemic

HaiSous owners Thai and Danielle Dang want to help their community

A large restaurant dining room
Hai Sous in Pilsen.
Barry Breichsen/Eater Chicago
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

HaiSous owners Danielle and Thai Dang are inviting folks, particularly those in Pilsen and members of the hospitality industry, to visit their acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant on Monday night. They’ll be giving away food starting at 6 p.m. at HaiSous and neighboring Cà Phê Đá. This is the Dangs’s way of helping as Chicago copes with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Monday’s is the first event, but chef Thai Dang wants to periodically give away ready-to-eat, packaged food that’s meant to be reheated at home. Chef advises he and his staff continue to take proper safety precautions. Pilsen is home to one of the largest immigrant populations in Chicago. Thai Dang hopes to help the immigrants who are part of the hospitality industry and others. Many industry members suddenly won’t have paychecks thanks to the state’s shutdown of restaurants and bars. Some workers are being asked to take furloughs as restaurants struggle with meeting payroll.

Takeout, delivery, curbside, and drive-thru can still take place under the state mandate, but the Dangs, who also have a stall at Time Out Market Chicago, want to do something different. This effort is in lieu of carryout and delivery. They’ll use social media to let people know of the next event.

“This is for Pilsen and for members of our industry,” he said. “The backbone of our industry is reliant on these immigrants. Some are not documented and lack the means to get out of this.”

HaiSous and other restaurants in Illinois will close their dining rooms for at least two weeks starting on Monday night. Governor J.B. Pritzker’s order came Sunday afternoon and left restaurants flatfooted as they had to prepared to serve customers under normal circumstances this week. Thai Dang hopes to use his restaurants’s food before it perishes.

“This is serious,” Thai Dang said. “Every restaurant is sitting on inventory and supply,”

The Dangs’s generosity is noteworthy as they were victims of a scam involving their previous business partner that cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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