As Navy Pier prepares to shut down early in response to the rising rates of COVID-19, reps from massive rooftop cocktail lounge and deck Offshore announced they’ll keep operating even after the rest of the tourist attraction closes on Tuesday, September 8. Since debuting in 2019, the rooftop — operated by Maverick Hotels and Restaurants — has remained open year round.
At 36,000 square feet — the world’s largest rooftop deck as certified by Guinness World Records — Offshore is seemingly well equipped for social distancing. A news release promises tables spaced at least seven feet apart, and all indoor tables are placed within eight feet of a window. The space also features retractable glass walls, another asset when it comes to pandemic-era dining. The kitchen is run by executive chef Michael Shrader (Monnie Burke’s, Urban Union, Matthias Merges’ Folkart Restaurant Management), and features modern American shared plates.
It remains to be seen how many locals will go out of their way to visit a space that’s typically relegated to tourists as the seasons turn. In August, when Navy Pier officials announced the early closure, President and CEO Marilynn Gardner noted that cooler fall temperatures always yield fewer visitors, even without a pandemic. Operators have even organized a calendar of events to lure folks to the deck, including yoga followed by mimosas, a painting-while-drinking event, and a fundraising pop-up from the Junior League of Chicago and workout brand Pure Barre.
And in other news...
— Chicken, fish, and barbecue spot Uncle Remus & Guilty Pleasurez Bakery in Austin is temporarily closed after a fire tore through the 4731 W. Madison Street restaurant Thursday morning, according to the Triibe. Chicago Fire Department officials told reporters they received a call about the fire at 8:23 a.m., and that the building is significantly damaged. A police officer was transported to a hospital for minor injuries and smoke inhalation but none of the employees were hurt, Block Club Chicago reported. The location is not formally affiliated with the Rickette family’s chain of Uncle Remus Saucy Fried Chicken restaurants, the Triibe reported — it’s owned by the son of founder Gus W. Rickette Sr.
— Ownership at Lake Effect Brewing Company in Portage Park has been using breweries’ recently acquired powers for residential beer deliveries to help support local restaurants and food businesses that are struggling during the pandemic, according to Time Out Chicago. When the Illinois Liquor Commission in March temporarily approved a measure to let craft brewers make deliveries, Lake Effect owner Clint Bautz began reaching out to neighbors like Fannie’s Cafe to collaborate on bundled deliveries of bottled beer and mini pies. Both business share in the profits, and it’s helped Fannie’s stay afloat long enough to create her own online ordering system and introduce carryout options. Bautz has more collaborations in the works with Gene’s Sausage Shop in Lincoln Square and modern Indian restaurant Mango Pickle in Edgewater.