Searching for ways to survive during a pandemic that’s preventing barflies from gathering at their favorite drinking establishments, two Logan Square venues have unveiled new food options to generate business. Scofflaw, the influential neighborhood cocktail bar — among the city’s best — is now serving comfort food for delivery and pickup. Meanwhile, restaurateur Esad Hani — who owns Café Con Leche, The Harding Tavern, and the Walk In — has begun serving deli sandwiches at his liquor store, Red Star Liquors.
Scofflaw has been closed more than two months, and they’ve returned with a menu available via DoorDash. Items include meatloaf, cheesy baked rigatoni, “Better Than Ikea” Swedish meatballs, and split pea soup with ham. They’re calling the effort from chef Matty Lehto (Publican, Publican Anker), Chin Up, Buttercup. Beer and wine is also available, and so are Scofflaw’s bottled cocktails. Yes, those famous cookies are also for sale.
Staying in Logan Square, Block Club Chicago has the story about Red Star Liquors, a store that debuted in 1991. Hani was one of the first to see the neighborhood’s potential for food and drink. It might be news to New Yorkers, but the deli counter gives the longtime liquor shop a bodega or corner store feel. Hani tells Block Club that he needed to think of creative ways to survive as the suspension of dine-in service has hurt his restaurants. Italian subs, lasagna, and salads are among the offerings for pick up.
Last week, indoor dining returned to Chicago at a 25 percent maximum capacity or 25-person limit; which ever is smaller. Bars that offer food and allow for food delivery are permitted to have indoor service. Some bars, like Old Town Ale House, have began to offer frozen pizza to satisfy the state’s requirements. However, many have elected to keep closed, worried about COVID-19 variants that could force a future suspension of service.