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Chicago’s Pandemic-Inspired Outdoor Dining Program May Continue Through 2022

Plus, free Thanksgiving dinner in Bronzeville and a speedy new grocery delivery service

Tables on a sidewalk outside a restaurant with heat lamps, protected from the elements by a plastic tent
Chicago’s expanded outdoor dining program may continue for another year.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Chicago’s Expanded Outdoor Dining Program, which allows restaurants to set up outside seating on public streets and sidewalks, may continue for another year, until the end of 2022, if a bill introduced by Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday is passed by the city council. This news was first reported by Crain’s.

The program was introduced in June 2020 as a way to help restaurants stay open after the state of Illinois instituted a ban on indoor dining. Over the past year and a half, 179 permits lasting 180 days have been issued for 303 establishments, and several streets in various neighborhoods around the city, including the Loop, West Loop, Lakeview, and Rogers Park, have been closed off for outdoor dining, some furnished with portable heaters, tents, igloos, and greenhouses.

The program has not been without challenges: some city officials were not cooperative, failing to approve permits or provide funding, and restaurant owners reported having to pay for barricades and extra tables themselves. But restaurant owners in the West Loop told CBS-2 that they hope the program continues indefinitely; some have gone so far as to build permanent outdoor dining areas.

Hungry Chicagoans can find a free Thanksgiving dinner in Bronzeville

Chicago-area diners can share a free holiday dinner with the community on Thanksgiving Day at Two Fish Crab Shack, a Southern seafood spot in Bronzeville, according to a rep. Attendees can expect to find entrees such as roast turkey, jerk turkey, fried chicken, and crab legs, plus sides including macaroni and cheese, green beans, and yams. The free event runs on a first-come-first-served basis from noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, November 25, at 641 E. 47th Street.

Turkish grocery delivery giant Getir to make U.S. debut in Andersonville

Turkish grocery delivery brand Getir plans to open a number of delivery-only outposts around the city, starting with a vacant gym space on Clark Street in Andersonville, according to Block Club Chicago. The forthcoming spots will be the Istanbul-based company’s first locations in the U.S., where they will feature “ultrafast” 10-minute delivery of around 2,000 grocery items via the brand’s signature yellow and purple electric scooters. An opening date in Andersonville is not yet available.

The Tribune’s search for Indigenous Native American food leads to Minnesota

Tribune co-critic Louisa Chu chronicles her search for Indigenous Native American food in Chicago. The quest took her to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she met with James Beard Award-winning cookbook writer and chef Sean Sherman, an enrolled member in the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe, to explore his hotly anticipated restaurant, Owamni by The Sioux Chef.

Chandra Ram takes on new role at Food and Wine

Chicago food journalist Chandra Ram has accepted a position as senior digital food editor at Food and Wine magazine after 15 years at locally-based Plate, she announced Wednesday on Twitter. Ram first signaled a shift in June when she became Plate’s editor-at-large, a position that allowed her to pursue other projects.

Two Fish Crab Shack

641 East 47th Street, , IL 60653 (773) 855-8845 Visit Website