Before the pandemic, West Loop’s dining scene was in transition. Randolph Restaurant Row remained prestigious, but the arrival of companies like McDonald’s and Starbucks threatened to rewrite the neighborhood’s DNA. The pandemic further reshaped the area, with street dining and the closing of Politan Row, one of the area’s food halls.
While some notable continue to hibernate (for example, the owners of Elske, a Michelin-starred Scandinavian-inspired restaurant, are waiting for patio weather; El Che Steakhouse is also waiting), many set up tents with heaters, while others expanded takeout operations.
These are just some of the best the West Loop has to offer. It’s a crowded space, so restaurants considered in Fulton Market were omitted.
As of February 16, Chicago restaurants are permitted to serve customers indoors with a 40 percent maximum capacity per room, or 50 people — whichever is fewer. At the same time, despite winter weather, a number of Chicago restaurants continue to offer outdoor seating. Regardless, the state requires reservations for indoor and outdoor dining. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as an endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.Read More