A Chicago barista said a property management company won’t rent to her, claiming the firm is discriminating against her because she works in the food and beverage industry. The woman, who is described with a pseudonym, spoke with Block Club Chicago about her ordeal. She tells the website an agent gave her preliminary approval to rent a Logan Square apartment, but was then denied by Kass Management upon further review. The woman was recently laid off, and the agent asked her for more information on proof of income. The agent, via email, reportedly told the woman that Kass was worried about renting to those in the service industry. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many have lost their jobs due to reduced hours or closings; the governor also extended his stay-at-home order until May, keeping dining rooms and bars closed. Some believe the order could be further extended. The prospective tenant claimed Kass’s behavior is a violation of the Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance. Block Club pointed out that discriminating based upon source of income would be illegal. Kass didn’t respond to Block Club’s request for comment.
And in other news...
- Mini Mott, Logan Square’s burger-focused spinoff of Mott St in West Town, has started a campaign where the public can buy meals for health care workers at a variety of Chicago hospitals. Hospitalists have been overtaxed while treating patients during the pandemic. Donors can buy from 1 to 35 meals to support workers.
- Nando’s Peri-Peri, the South African chicken chain, is also doing charity work. They’re offering free meals to service industry members. Each location will donate up to 50 meals a day to employees laid off from a restaurant or bar, according to a news release. Nando’s has locations in West Loop, Loop, Hyde Park, Lincoln Park, and Lakeview.
- Parachute, which is now open on Sundays for the first time, has more news. They’ve been working on a unique cookbook with former Tribune food writer and Takeout editor Kevin Pang. The book uses the Field Notes pocket-sized format and concentrates on only one recipe: Parachute’s Bing Bread. Pang and Parachute’s Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark have been quietly working on the project for months. But now the pandemic has changed their release plans. They’ve announced a Kickstarter to fund the 32-page project. Pang wrote on Instagram that the thin profit margins on cookbooks lent him to believe focusing on one recipes was the best way to approach the book.
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Friends: For the last few months I’ve been secretly working on a cookbook. For Chicago food lovers, you’ve likely been to Parachute and have tried their amazing Bing Bread. So I collaborated with @parachutechicago to teach people exactly how to make this cult favorite dish at home. It’s 32 pages, Field Notes format, 5000 words and lavishly illustrated. I’m so delighted by how this turned out, and if you’re stuck at home looking for a cooking project, consider picking up this book. Thanks for your support, and link to order in bio!
- Carson’s, a longtime favorite for baby-back ribs in Chicago, has a new idea to survive this business climate. They’re selling vacuums-sealed, fully-cooked ribs to locals for curbside pickup from its restaurant near Navy Pier. The company would ship ribs in the same packaging across the country. Owner Dean Carson believes this is the best way to give customers a deal and reduce costs for the restaurant during the pandemic. Customers can grab two slabs for $39. More details at the website.
- The chef behind Etta in Wicker Park, Danny Grant, spoke with the Wall Street Journal about how his restaurant is faring with carryout and delivery. Grant’s group also runs Maple & Ash in Gold Coast. He told the newspaper his restaurants are making more than 500 meals a night, and that booze is popular. A customer bought a 12-bottle case of WhistlePig aged whiskey for $85 a bottle.
- Mark those calendars for 4 p.m. April 10 as Lost Lake’s Alicia Arredondo will be the featured bartender on an Instagram Live segment called Tip Your Bartender. The program spotlights bartenders across the country who show viewers how to make a particular cocktail for a virtual happy hour. The effort is spearheaded by PUNCH. It’s a way fans can tip bartenders via Venmo while bars remain closed due to shelter-at-home orders. Eater Chicago has collected a comprehensive list of bars and restaurants to tip.
- As more chefs jump toward Instagram Live to teach classes during the pandemic, a new program from Momma Cuisine features several local chefs to inspire home cooks. Rick Gesh (AceBounce/Flight Club), Lamar Moore (Currency Exchange Cafe, Smokedaddy), and Mike Haracz (McDonald’s) are among the teachers.
- Bartenders are also getting into Instagram Live. Rhine Hall Distillery in West Town will host a virtual bartending class on Saturday. Proceeds will benefit the distillery’s workers.
- And speaking of Lamar Moore, Moore got feisty on Thursday’s episode of Vegas Chef Prizefight on Food Network. After last week’s episode (where he and rival Jeff Kraus bickered over a pancake versus a waffle) Moore tried to have fun by making a savory waffle for the opening caviar mission. Celebrity host Anne Burrell didn’t care for the waffle, so Moore’s penance was to be teamed up with Kraus for the final round. They were among four chefs remaining. The pair didn’t let their differences slow them down. Moore showed an elegant side and prepared fish that was so expertly cooked that it impressed Alain Alpe, general manager of Restaurant Guy Savoy. Moore and Kraus advanced to the final episode next week and are considered the favorites. A third chef, Jeffrey Compton, is also in the final episode. The winner gets the job as head chef at the upcoming mobster-themed Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse at the Flamingo Las Vegas.