-Grubbing in Chicago
Ghost Kitchens, Pivots, and Pop-Ups
Indoor dining has returned at some spots but I'm not quite there yet. The same can be said for the restaurants themselves many of which have yet to pivot back to indoor dining at all. Many spots have had to shift their business models and menus around to make it easier to get through the pandemic. This has happened a variety of ways including the emergence of ghost kitchens and the addition of sandwiches and such to menus. Today's post takes a look at five spots I've been able to check out during this year long lockdown. Eventually we'll get back to normal but I have a feeling some places that pivoted during the outbreak might not go back to what they were before it. They'll open their doors to diners again and many of the menu items, pop-ups, and walkup windows will remain.
First stop is a sandwich shop born during the pandemic. Logan Square's Young American bar needed to find something they could do with their large bar space located on the square. So they decided to team up with a well known chef in New Orleans who runs a popular chef driven sandwich shop called Turkey & the Wolf. It was named the best new restaurant in America by Bon Appetit in 2017 so it was big news around the food circuit when it was announced they'd be bringing their popular vegan collard melt to Chicago. Said melt has arrived and more than lived up to the hype based on others reviews. Also making an appearance from Nola is an upscale bologna sandwich (as in not the Oscar Meyer stuff on white bread) loaded with potato chips. The Big Kids name is a nod to the vibe this place gives off. Both in it's online presence and also the food they make. The menu has switched up with the likes of sketti egg rolls (spaghetti fried in egg roll form), Veggie CrunchWraps (Taco Bell like crunchwraps with Bahn Mi fillings), and the Space Torpedo which is one of my favorites. It's something a stoner working at the local sub shop circa 1976 might concoct after a “bathroom break” - but boy is it great. Turkey, Pastrami, Pasta Salad, Shredded Lettuce, Garlic Mayo, and Smoked Mozzarella on a hoagie roll. Somehow this tasted nostalgic even though they just opened. Looking forward to checking out their new smashed burger concept - "shiddy burger" which they're currently doing on Monday's.