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Pitchfork, Pilsen Taco Festivals Cancel as Illinois Waits For COVID-19 Vaccine

Plus, African-American women restaurant owners describe how the pandemic has effected business, and more intel

2011 Pitchfork Music Festival - Day 3
Pitchfork Music Festival has canceled its 2020 event.
Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker unveiled the state’s plan to slowly reopen Illinois businesses. While there’s a chance dine-in restaurants and bars could reopen at the end of June if infection rates reduce (among other factors) it will take longer for conventions and festivals to return. Pritzker said they won’t be permitted until scientists develop a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19.

National Institutes of Health Dr. Anthony Fauci has said it could take a year to 18 months before a vaccine is developed. This will also have an effect on sporting events and concerts, and the food service companies that supply fans with their snacks and drinks.

Chicago’s major food events, like Taste of Chicago and Chicago Gourmet, haven’t made an official announcement. For both, especially with Taste — which happens in July — it increasingly appears festivals won’t happen in 2020. Pitchfork Music Festival, scheduled for July 17 and 19 at Union Park, on Wednesday morning canceled its event.

Smaller festivals are also in jeopardy. On Wednesday, the organizers of Pilsen Taco Fest announced they would be canceling the event, scheduled for June 15 and 16. Organizers have created a video encouraging fans to take their energy and diverted toward supporting local restaurants and stores, the ones that supply the food for their events. Carniceria Maribel, Casa Índígō, and Don Pedro Carnitas all get shout outs.

Reaction to Restore Illinois has been mixed for restaurant owners in the state. Many see states like neighboring Indiana — which on Monday reopened most of its dine-in restaurants — and wonder why Pritzker is taking a conservative approach. During Tuesday’s novel coronavirus update, Pritzker touted how the plan would allow different parts of the state to reopen at different times. That way, the cities in Southern Illinois wouldn’t have to wait for Chicago, which has a larger population. Bars and dine-in restaurants would likely reopened with restrictions like a reduced capacity, a staff mandated to wear masks, and tables spread apart through the dining room.

Ever co-owner Michael Muser tells Eater Chicago he anticipates opening six to eight weeks after the state allows restaurants to reopen. Ever, located in Fulton Market, is the eagerly anticipated restaurant from Curtis Duffy, the former chef at three-Michelin-starred Grace. Muser says they’ve already designed masks for staff to wear. They’re still finalizing the design, but the masks will have the restaurant’s logo on them.

Others owners say they’re behind Pritzker’s plan, and would rather preach caution to ensure the safety of their workers and customers. Residents can follow along and track progress at the state health department’s website.

Support Your Pilsen Locals

Because of all the support we receive every year from local businesses we decided to show our support for them during this pandemic and remind everyone in our community about the power of investing in our local economy. Sending lots of love out to Casa Índígō, Don Pedro Carnitas, Carniceria Maribel & all of the small businesses out there doing what they do every single day. This Public Service Announcement was shot and directed by Mateo Zapata. #FromTheCommunity #ForTheCommunity #Fuerza #Comunidad #StillPilsen #Amor #LaDiezyocho

Posted by The Pilsen Taco Fest on Tuesday, April 28, 2020

And in other news...

  • The Sun-Times spoke with a few African-American women who are restaurant owners and asked them about their efforts to sustain their businesses during the pandemic. Dominque Leach, the owner of Lexington Betty Smokehouse in Oak Park and inside One Eleven Food Hall in Pullman, told the paper she was just starting to build momentum before the outbreak. Annah Mitchell, the owner of food truck Gobble Doggs, said she had to stop construction on her restaurant.
  • Chicagoans can now get fresh pasta delivered at home thanks to the new “Pasta Peddler” pop up from chef Ryan Poli (Tavernita, Perennial, Butter), who returned in March to Chicago, according to Time Out Chicago. He’s selling full and half pasta kits featuring two kinds of fresh pasta and four varieties of sauce, including spicy tomato sauce and mushroom ragout, available for pickup or delivery through Eventbrite.
  • Forthcoming LA- and Jewish-style deli Jeff & Judes from former Hoosier Mama baker Ursula Silker is popping up Wednesday at Split-Rail in Humboldt Park with a sneak peek of what’s in store when the restaurant opens. Silker is offering Reuben sandwiches and hefty meal kits that include ingredients to make two “huge” Reubens, plus two potato and beer-braised kale knishes and one cinnamon roll challah bread pudding. Details on pickup-only orders and preorders are available online.
  • Lula Cafe hostess Zoe Hendrix Johnson is on leave from her position at the acclaimed Logan Square restaurant due to the coronavirus, but she’s still keeping spirits high with bright, vibrant outfits and masks, the Reader reported. The disease has rocked the restaurant world. Kimski chef Won Kim tested positive for the disease in early April and wrote about his experience on Facebook.
  • Potbelly Sandwiches — the Lincoln Park-bred chain that has grown nationwide (and the company that’s returned its $10 million Payroll Protection Plan coronavirus relief loan) — has cooked up a new gimmick aimed at parents who are going a stir crazy while spending copious amounts of time with their children during stay at home. They’ve marked off spaces in parking lots with green and white signs reading “Alone time parking, reserved for parents to eat in peace and quiet, children and conference calls prohibited.” There’s even a shadow drawing of a family with a slash through it. The spaces are for curbside delivery so parents won’t have to lock themselves in their bathrooms for some time away from their children. The company is testing this out at select locations, according to a news release.
A no family parking sign.
Potbelly’s new gimmick,.
Potbelly Sandwiches [Official Photo]
  • James Beard Award-winning chef Bruce Sherman, who stepped away from his role as chef at Michelin-starred North Pond in November in Lincoln Park, has launched a new collaborative project, Thumbelina CSA, in partnership with his daughter and six local, small-scale women farmers and producers, according to the Tribune. Each box is designed to feed three to four people and will include a variety of green vegetables, some fruits, dried goods, flower bouquets, eggs, and a loaf of bread every other week.

Don Pedro Carnitas

1113 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608 (312) 829-4757


2500 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 697-4413 Visit Website


2500 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 697-4413 Visit Website


1800 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614 Visit Website


151 W Erie Street, Chicago, IL 60654 312 274 1111 Visit Website


652 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60661 (817) 877-3388

One Eleven Food Hall

756 East 111th Street, , IL 60628 Visit Website

Lula Cafe

2537 North Kedzie Boulevard, , IL 60647 (773) 489-9554 Visit Website

Union Park

1501 West Randolph Street, , IL 60606 (312) 746-5494 Visit Website

North Pond

2610 North Cannon Drive, , IL 60614 (773) 477-5845 Visit Website

North Pond

, , IL 60614

Casa Índígō

1314 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608 (312) 929-3653 Visit Website


1330 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 Visit Website