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.
We're heartbroken to announce the cancellation of @PitchforkFest 2020 https://t.co/Svz0kQqepL— Pitchfork (@pitchfork) May 6, 2020
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 #LaDiezyochoPosted 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.
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We know it’s Cinco de Mayo (more on that a little later) but wanted to give you a quick @jeffandjudes Reuben update! Again- these go on sale tomorrow at noon for pickup after 4 pm and they will go fast! The kits sold out super fast, so we’ll be making a few more available on our site at noon today- for pickup after 4 pm tomorrow as well. A couple notes, because we do expect these to go quick (@basic_baker_bitch is very popular guys!)- you’ll be able to order by going either to our website and clicking order online, or just going to our bio on here and press the order food button. We will make them available at noon- sometimes the site takes a couple moments to refresh. You will not be able to preorder for delivery, only pickup. If you have any Qs, please DM us on here ahead of time- once they sell out, we won’t be able to help! The additional meal kits will be available on our website (ticket link in our bio) and we are only adding a few extra!
- 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.
- 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.