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20 Great Takeout Restaurants Created by Pandemic Pivots in Chicago

These new takeout and delivery options were created by some of Chicago’s best restaurants

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Chicago restaurants didn’t need a push to prove their creativity, but 2020 shoved them anyway, forcing them to think about ways to survive with indoor dining not providing a reliable revenue option. Several restaurants have crafted new takeout menus and some operators have created new identities for takeout and delivery. These following pandemic pivots show off some of the more daring new options. Many center on comfort food, which — regardless of a pandemic — is always popular in Chicago during colder months.

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.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Au Levain (Bistro Campagne)

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4518 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 271-6100
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Bistro Campagne pastry chef Angel Chavez has opened Au Levain, a virtual bakery operating out of the Lincoln Square restaurant. He’s offering delights including beautifully caramelized pain aux raisins, decadent Valrhona chocolate cream pie with Oreo crust, and much more. Order online through the bakery’s website.

2. Superkhana International

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3059 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 661-9028
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Superkhana continues to serve Indian-ish food, like its butter chicken calzone, but the space has also become an incubator of idea. There’s Pizza Finestra on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And Malaysian pop-up Kedai Tapao (order via Tock). Star pastry chef Sarah Mispagel-Lustbader is baking up cinnamon rolls and more on the weekends with the Loaf Lounge. There’s also plans for more with a South Indian-style brunch pop-up.

3. Table, Donkey and Stick

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2728 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 486-8525
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Sicilian-style pizza is the name at the game at Table, Donkey, and Stick in Logan Square, as this beloved restaurant quickly switched over operations. Sicilian-style squares are hearty and well executed. The Buffalo wings are stellar. The restaurant’s exemplary charcuterie is also available to go.

4. Bloom Vegan Cafe (Amaru)

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1904 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 687-9790
Visit Website

Chef Rodolfo Cuadros of pan-Latin restaurant Amaru responded to the pandemic with Bloom Vegetarian Kitchen, a new virtual venture based in Wicker Park. Inspired by the Indian dishes he grew up eating n New Jersey and New York, Cuadros offers samosa chat with tamarind and cashew crema, Peruvian tacu tacu (crispy rice and chickpea cake, achiote) and crispy hand-pulled noodles (Beyond ragout, cumin, radishes). Order carryout and delivery via Grubhub or DoorDash

5. Chef Bill Kim’s Pizza & Parm Shop (Urbanbelly)

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1542 N Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 904-8606
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Bill Kim (the acclaimed chef behind Urbanbelly) has spent the pandemic steadily expanding operations at Chef Bill Kim’s Pizza & Parm Shop, his new delivery-only restaurant. He’s now offering a selection of Detroit-style pizzas and chicken parmesan in entree and sandwich form from outposts in Wicker Park and suburban Oak Brook. Order online via DoorDash.

6. Canteen (Vajra)

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1329 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 929-4990
Visit Website

Indian and Nepali restaurant Vajra has launched Canteen, a virtual street food spot that aims to evoke nostalgia with fun plates and snacks like Bombay Bhel (puffed rice, potato, green chilli, tamarind), a signature goat burger, and a drink menu inspired by Indian soda and cocktail cultures. Drinkers can order boozy options like Penicillin Twenty21 (whiskey, ginger-honey syrup, lime), while patrons of all ages can refresh themselves with a classic Thums Up. Order online via DoorDash or Caviar.

7. Kaia’s Garden (Arami)

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1829 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 243-1535
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Arami isn’t ready to open for indoor dining. Instead, ownership is focusing on two virtual restaurants. Kaia’s Garden is Japanese vegetarian restaurant using Buddhist inspiration. Going beyond sushi bowls, Lono Poke aims to give Chicago a taste of Hawai’i.

8. Moti Cafe

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70 W Huron St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 374-3636
Visit Website

Modern Indian cafe Moti has unveiled a new option during the pandemic that’s proven to be popular. Indian pizzas: thin-crust pies with the restaurant’s “Moti sauce” and cilantro-lime drizzle. The crispy pies are studded with onions, green peppers, mozzarella, and a choice of protein (chicken or paneer). Order via Toast.

9. Tiny Taqueria (The Green Door Tavern)

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678 N Orleans St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 664-5496
Visit Website

Tucked inside Chicago’s historic Green Door Tavern, diners will find a new venture from the restaurant’s longtime head chef: Tiny Taqueria, a virtual restaurant that features juicy, cheesy quesabirria tacos with bone marrow consomé, crunchy fried chicken chicharrones, and habit-forming elote fries with cotija cheese, tajin, and smoked bacon. Order online via ChowNow.

10. Lime and Radish (Clutch)

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316 W Erie St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 800-8784
Visit Website

Clubby bar and restaurant Clutch in River North has turned to tacos during the pandemic with a virtual spinoff called Lime and Radish. Taco options include blackened mahi mahi (mango jicama) and sautéed nopales (fajita peppers, onions), complimented by sides and desserts such as frijoles charro (pork belly tomato broth, cotija) and flan. Order online via Tock.

11. Vong's Thai Kitchen (Shaw’s Crab House)

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21 E Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 527-6314
Visit Website

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises has used the pandemic as an opportunity to resurrect virtual versions of some of its most popular past restaurants, including longtime favorite Vong’s Thai Kitchen. Chef Arnulfo Tellez of Shaw’s Crab House is putting out hits like VTK’s signature shrimp and crab pad thai and chicken garlic noodles. Order via ChowNow.

12. Sir Chicken (Perilla Korean American Fare)

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401 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 243-3344
Visit Website

Korean-American restaurant Perilla has transformed its River West patio into Sir Chicken, a pop-up featuring delectable fried bird. White and dark pieces are cured and twice-fried to achieve next-level crispiness and then coated in a sweet-and-spicy mixture of chili flakes and cayenne pepper. Order via Uber Eats.

13. Rêve Burger (Ever)

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1363 W Fulton St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 763-3928
Visit Website

Chef Curtis Duffy continues to reach for Michelin stars at Ever, but after the indoor dining ban, the sleek Fulton Market restaurant needed an additional revenue stream. Duffy’s burger isn’t genre defying, but the talented chef has put out his version of a griddled double patty, the type of sandwich that customers could enjoy at a diner. Reve Burger has recently expanded the menu to include chicken sandwiches. Order via DoorDash and Caviar.

14. Johnny Good Times’ Smoked Meats (Smyth)

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177 N Ada St #101
Chicago, IL 60607
(773) 913-3773
Visit Website

Barbecue is one of those foods that travels well and is popular for private event catering. That’s what made smoked meats enticing to John and Karen Shields, the chefs at Smyth. Smyth earned Michelin stars for its tasting menus. Their smoked meats include brisket, spare ribs, and chicken.

15. Butter Chicken Shack (ROOH Chicago)

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736 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 564-4181
Visit Website

Football season isn’t about touchdowns, it’s about the food. Rooh, the West Loop modern Indian restaurant, launched a takeout operation where fans can find lamb nachos, chicken wings, and more.

A tray of chicken wings next to a tray of nachos Butter Chicken Shack/Kim Yeoh

16. Ruth’s Panmade Pizza (Roots Handmade Pizza - South Loop)

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744 S Dearborn St
Chicago, IL 60605
(773) 645-4909
Visit Website

Roots is known for Quad Cities pizza, a unique style cut into strips. Shortly after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died, Roots owners at the Fifty/50 Restaurant Group came up with a plan to honor the liberal feminist icon. Ruth’s Panmade Pizza runs out of the Printer’s Row location and serves Chicago-style deep-dish. Also, 10 percent of sales go to the Illinois ACLU.

17. Boxcar BBQ (EL ideas)

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2419 W 14th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 226-8144
Visit Website

Phil Foss’ creativity has delighted diners for years near Douglas Park at El Ideas, his tasting menu restaurant. Boxcar BBQ is a pandemic pivot that Foss wants to see grow. His wife, Akiko Moorman, pushed Foss toward barbecue, and the effort is a collaboration between the two. The highlight is the short rib, and beautiful piece of meat that’s totally social media worthy. Third-party delivery is available, but Foss is using alternative means to escape fees.

A plate of beef short ribs.
Michelin-starred El Ideas also sells excellent barbecue.
Boxcar BBQ [Official Photo]

18. Dang Good Wings (Cà Phê Dá Vietnamese Café)

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1800 South Carpenter Street Entrance on, W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 999-1800
Visit Website

Hai Sous is one of the city’s premier Vietnamese restaurants, as chef Thai Dang takes comfort food to the next level with graceful preparations using clay pot techniques. The casual cafe was meant to be a hangout with Thai coffee and sandwiches. Thai and Danielle Dang have since relaunched the cafe to spotlight a specialty: Dang’s addicting caramel-covered chicken wings. They’ve expanded the offerings to a Thai-Buffalo combo and more. There’s also waffles for brunch.

19. Nine Bar Chicago (Moon Palace Restaurant)

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216 W Cermak Rd
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 225-4081
Visit Website

Two veteran bartenders created a new idea using a venerable Chinatown restaurant as the pickup location. Nine Bar Chicago is inspired by Japanese convenience stores serving up a rotating menu of Japanese sandwiches and snack, as well as cocktails. The menu is available via Instagram, so keep an eye out.

20. Moody Tongue Brewing Company

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2515 S Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 600-5111
Visit Website

Moody Tongue moved from Pilsen to near McCormick Place with dreams of creating a tasting-menu restaurant that could attract Michelin attention. That plan never fully developed as the pandemic halted momentum. So the brewery shifted to barbecue with Slagel Family Farms short rib, pork ribs, pulled pork, and more.

A wood cutting board with smoked meats and a bottled of beer. Moody Tongue [Official Photo]

1. Au Levain (Bistro Campagne)

4518 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Bistro Campagne pastry chef Angel Chavez has opened Au Levain, a virtual bakery operating out of the Lincoln Square restaurant. He’s offering delights including beautifully caramelized pain aux raisins, decadent Valrhona chocolate cream pie with Oreo crust, and much more. Order online through the bakery’s website.

4518 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625

2. Superkhana International

3059 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Superkhana continues to serve Indian-ish food, like its butter chicken calzone, but the space has also become an incubator of idea. There’s Pizza Finestra on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. And Malaysian pop-up Kedai Tapao (order via Tock). Star pastry chef Sarah Mispagel-Lustbader is baking up cinnamon rolls and more on the weekends with the Loaf Lounge. There’s also plans for more with a South Indian-style brunch pop-up.

3059 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

3. Table, Donkey and Stick

2728 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Sicilian-style pizza is the name at the game at Table, Donkey, and Stick in Logan Square, as this beloved restaurant quickly switched over operations. Sicilian-style squares are hearty and well executed. The Buffalo wings are stellar. The restaurant’s exemplary charcuterie is also available to go.

2728 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

4. Bloom Vegan Cafe (Amaru)

1904 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Chef Rodolfo Cuadros of pan-Latin restaurant Amaru responded to the pandemic with Bloom Vegetarian Kitchen, a new virtual venture based in Wicker Park. Inspired by the Indian dishes he grew up eating n New Jersey and New York, Cuadros offers samosa chat with tamarind and cashew crema, Peruvian tacu tacu (crispy rice and chickpea cake, achiote) and crispy hand-pulled noodles (Beyond ragout, cumin, radishes). Order carryout and delivery via Grubhub or DoorDash

1904 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

5. Chef Bill Kim’s Pizza & Parm Shop (Urbanbelly)

1542 N Damen Ave., Chicago, IL 60622

Bill Kim (the acclaimed chef behind Urbanbelly) has spent the pandemic steadily expanding operations at Chef Bill Kim’s Pizza & Parm Shop, his new delivery-only restaurant. He’s now offering a selection of Detroit-style pizzas and chicken parmesan in entree and sandwich form from outposts in Wicker Park and suburban Oak Brook. Order online via DoorDash.

1542 N Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

6. Canteen (Vajra)

1329 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Indian and Nepali restaurant Vajra has launched Canteen, a virtual street food spot that aims to evoke nostalgia with fun plates and snacks like Bombay Bhel (puffed rice, potato, green chilli, tamarind), a signature goat burger, and a drink menu inspired by Indian soda and cocktail cultures. Drinkers can order boozy options like Penicillin Twenty21 (whiskey, ginger-honey syrup, lime), while patrons of all ages can refresh themselves with a classic Thums Up. Order online via DoorDash or Caviar.

1329 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642

7. Kaia’s Garden (Arami)

1829 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Arami isn’t ready to open for indoor dining. Instead, ownership is focusing on two virtual restaurants. Kaia’s Garden is Japanese vegetarian restaurant using Buddhist inspiration. Going beyond sushi bowls, Lono Poke aims to give Chicago a taste of Hawai’i.

1829 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

8. Moti Cafe

70 W Huron St, Chicago, IL 60654

Modern Indian cafe Moti has unveiled a new option during the pandemic that’s proven to be popular. Indian pizzas: thin-crust pies with the restaurant’s “Moti sauce” and cilantro-lime drizzle. The crispy pies are studded with onions, green peppers, mozzarella, and a choice of protein (chicken or paneer). Order via Toast.

70 W Huron St
Chicago, IL 60654

9. Tiny Taqueria (The Green Door Tavern)

678 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654

Tucked inside Chicago’s historic Green Door Tavern, diners will find a new venture from the restaurant’s longtime head chef: Tiny Taqueria, a virtual restaurant that features juicy, cheesy quesabirria tacos with bone marrow consomé, crunchy fried chicken chicharrones, and habit-forming elote fries with cotija cheese, tajin, and smoked bacon. Order online via ChowNow.

678 N Orleans St
Chicago, IL 60654

10. Lime and Radish (Clutch)

316 W Erie St, Chicago, IL 60654

Clubby bar and restaurant Clutch in River North has turned to tacos during the pandemic with a virtual spinoff called Lime and Radish. Taco options include blackened mahi mahi (mango jicama) and sautéed nopales (fajita peppers, onions), complimented by sides and desserts such as frijoles charro (pork belly tomato broth, cotija) and flan. Order online via Tock.

316 W Erie St
Chicago, IL 60654

11. Vong's Thai Kitchen (Shaw’s Crab House)

21 E Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60611

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises has used the pandemic as an opportunity to resurrect virtual versions of some of its most popular past restaurants, including longtime favorite Vong’s Thai Kitchen. Chef Arnulfo Tellez of Shaw’s Crab House is putting out hits like VTK’s signature shrimp and crab pad thai and chicken garlic noodles. Order via ChowNow.

21 E Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60611

12. Sir Chicken (Perilla Korean American Fare)

401 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60654

Korean-American restaurant Perilla has transformed its River West patio into Sir Chicken, a pop-up featuring delectable fried bird. White and dark pieces are cured and twice-fried to achieve next-level crispiness and then coated in a sweet-and-spicy mixture of chili flakes and cayenne pepper. Order via Uber Eats.

401 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60654

13. Rêve Burger (Ever)

1363 W Fulton St, Chicago, IL 60607

Chef Curtis Duffy continues to reach for Michelin stars at Ever, but after the indoor dining ban, the sleek Fulton Market restaurant needed an additional revenue stream. Duffy’s burger isn’t genre defying, but the talented chef has put out his version of a griddled double patty, the type of sandwich that customers could enjoy at a diner. Reve Burger has recently expanded the menu to include chicken sandwiches. Order via DoorDash and Caviar.

1363 W Fulton St
Chicago, IL 60607

14. Johnny Good Times’ Smoked Meats (Smyth)

177 N Ada St #101, Chicago, IL 60607

Barbecue is one of those foods that travels well and is popular for private event catering. That’s what made smoked meats enticing to John and Karen Shields, the chefs at Smyth. Smyth earned Michelin stars for its tasting menus. Their smoked meats include brisket, spare ribs, and chicken.

177 N Ada St #101
Chicago, IL 60607

15. Butter Chicken Shack (ROOH Chicago)

736 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661
A tray of chicken wings next to a tray of nachos Butter Chicken Shack/Kim Yeoh

Football season isn’t about touchdowns, it’s about the food. Rooh, the West Loop modern Indian restaurant, launched a takeout operation where fans can find lamb nachos, chicken wings, and more.

736 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661

Related Maps

16. Ruth’s Panmade Pizza (Roots Handmade Pizza - South Loop)

744 S Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60605

Roots is known for Quad Cities pizza, a unique style cut into strips. Shortly after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died, Roots owners at the Fifty/50 Restaurant Group came up with a plan to honor the liberal feminist icon. Ruth’s Panmade Pizza runs out of the Printer’s Row location and serves Chicago-style deep-dish. Also, 10 percent of sales go to the Illinois ACLU.

744 S Dearborn St
Chicago, IL 60605

17. Boxcar BBQ (EL ideas)

2419 W 14th St, Chicago, IL 60608
A plate of beef short ribs.
Michelin-starred El Ideas also sells excellent barbecue.
Boxcar BBQ [Official Photo]

Phil Foss’ creativity has delighted diners for years near Douglas Park at El Ideas, his tasting menu restaurant. Boxcar BBQ is a pandemic pivot that Foss wants to see grow. His wife, Akiko Moorman, pushed Foss toward barbecue, and the effort is a collaboration between the two. The highlight is the short rib, and beautiful piece of meat that’s totally social media worthy. Third-party delivery is available, but Foss is using alternative means to escape fees.

2419 W 14th St
Chicago, IL 60608

18. Dang Good Wings (Cà Phê Dá Vietnamese Café)

1800 South Carpenter Street Entrance on, W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Hai Sous is one of the city’s premier Vietnamese restaurants, as chef Thai Dang takes comfort food to the next level with graceful preparations using clay pot techniques. The casual cafe was meant to be a hangout with Thai coffee and sandwiches. Thai and Danielle Dang have since relaunched the cafe to spotlight a specialty: Dang’s addicting caramel-covered chicken wings. They’ve expanded the offerings to a Thai-Buffalo combo and more. There’s also waffles for brunch.

1800 South Carpenter Street Entrance on, W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

19. Nine Bar Chicago (Moon Palace Restaurant)

216 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616

Two veteran bartenders created a new idea using a venerable Chinatown restaurant as the pickup location. Nine Bar Chicago is inspired by Japanese convenience stores serving up a rotating menu of Japanese sandwiches and snack, as well as cocktails. The menu is available via Instagram, so keep an eye out.

216 W Cermak Rd
Chicago, IL 60616

20. Moody Tongue Brewing Company

2515 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
A wood cutting board with smoked meats and a bottled of beer. Moody Tongue [Official Photo]

Moody Tongue moved from Pilsen to near McCormick Place with dreams of creating a tasting-menu restaurant that could attract Michelin attention. That plan never fully developed as the pandemic halted momentum. So the brewery shifted to barbecue with Slagel Family Farms short rib, pork ribs, pulled pork, and more.

2515 S Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

Related Maps