The 21st century pandemic has caused too many restaurants to put up the padlocks, however, some have managed to successfully shift to delivery and take-out exclusively. One of note is the trailblazing Mediterranean restaurant, avec, offering take-out for the first time from classic small dishes such as bacon-wrapped Medjool dates and potato and salted cod brandade with garlic bread and chives to their bestselling "around the world" wine dinners... to-go! Chicago's "avec at home" has expanded to offer avec rotisserie, a new fast-casual take on Middle Eastern food. Chef Perry Hendrix' menu highlights Middle Eastern and Southwestern European flavors via rotisserie chicken, lamb, falafel and hearty sides like falafel seasoned French fries, charred snap pea tabbouleh and house made hummus. Make it a party with add-ons like bottled wine, wine bundles, beers and home bar kits curated by avec.
Recommended for Take Out because: The restaurant's much-loved hearty and healthy Mediterranean dishes as well as new rotisserie items are now available to-go.
Jacky's expert tip: Order avec rotisserie every day from 11am to 3pm and/or order the classics from avec everyday from 4:30 to 10pm - delivery and takeout via TOCK.
Who hasn't been quarantine baking and snarfing more sweets than ever? That includes Chicago Chef Stephanie Izard and Pastry Chef Faith Taheny who launched Sugargoat, a walk up bakery and sweets shop inside of Little Goat Diner in late 2020. Sugargoat stocks luscious items to-go (and national delivery), including cakes, pies, cookies and cupcakes, as well as muffins, bagels, scones, and croissants in the morning. Sure there's carrot cake, chocolate chip cookies and pecan pie. But you'll flip for Chocolate French Fry Pie made with a crispy potato crust and a malted chocolate filling to remind you of dipping fries in a milkshake. How about sourdough pancake cake with maple buttercream and an oat streusel topping for the pancake lover or seasonal latte in cake form? Order the buttery, cheesy, cakey cheesecake pie served with house made marmalade before your next diet.
Recommended for Take Out because: If you're going to commit the crime, you might as well go all the way - and get the fantastic sweets at Sugargoat.
Jacky's expert tip: Stephanie Izard also offers her Girl & the Goat classics like sautéed green beans and goat empanadas for take out on Tock.
A body does not thrive on sandwiches, tacos and pizza alone (in other words, your typical take-out grub). Bar Roma has done a phenomenal pivot offering tempting to-go items as indoor dining has shuttered. You can pick up Italian pantry items (non perishable goods), multi-course meals, and wonderful a la carte dishes: how about a salad of mixed greens, beets, pears, pumpkin seeds, ricotta salata and apple cider vinaigrette or rice croquettes stuffed with root vegetables, sage and smoked mozzarella? There's house made pasta and those delightful orbs (meatballs) for which Bar Roma is known. Hearty entrees, yummy sides and delightful sweets, too. Another reason to choose Bar Roma? All wine by the bottle is 30% off when you order curbside pickup at BarRomaChicago.com.
Recommended for Take Out because: Bar Roma is everything one could want in an independent neighborhood Italian eatery - and now you can get it all to go.
Jacky's expert tip: DIY pasta kits are offered every Wednesday evening for at-home cooking fun.
Pizza, hotdogs, tacos, burgers, ramen, fried chicken - Chicago boasts a bounty. What we sorely lack are great Jewish delis. The new Rye Deli & Drink fills the void nicely with quality ingredients and handmade techniques - which is precisely what you want in your steamy bowl of matzoh ball soup and warm bagels. Bagels are kneaded with locally sourced heirloom wheat and baked in a hearth: try a blue masa cinnamon, za'atar or thyme and sea salt schmeared with a variety of labneh like charred strawberries and honey or burnt eggplant, garlic, lemon & pomegranate. The eight-hour cold-smoked salmon may be the best you've ever tasted. Order a signature Tunisian egg pastry (Brik); sandwiches from Reubens to smoked turkey and items from the in-house smoker to share (like a whole or half chicken). The nouveau-deli also offers cocktail kits to-go.
Recommended for Take Out because: Offering the classics with artisanal technique and flourishes, Rye Deli & Drink comforts with spectacular smoked salmon, bagels, sandwiches and soup.
Jacky's expert tip: Pick up a couple out-of-this-world dips for midnight snacks (like fava bean hummus with dates) served with fresh baked pita.
Salvatore Ferrara began this operation in 1908 and Ferrara Bakery is still turning out confections, pizza and pasta with fresh, pure ingredients minus artificial flavorings or preservatives. The bakery offers an array of cakes, cookies, and cannoli but you can also take-out heavenly Italian dishes for lunch: hot and cold sandwiches; pasta; homemade soup and hearty salads; and authentic pizza by the slice. Locals go for the meatball, Tuscan chicken and chicken giardiniera sandwiches; thin crust pizza; rigatoni alla vodka and shells Alfredo. Lasagna is very popular for catering and the most popular bakery items are the freshly made cannoli and the classic Ferrara Cake (rum soaked vanilla cake with cannoli cream on one layer, and fresh strawberry and custard on the other).
Recommended for Take Out because: When you need an Italian sub or a meatball with Provolone, get authentic Italian to go from Ferrara (doing it right since 1908).
Jacky's expert tip: You can get lunch items Monday through Friday, until close and there's a limited menu on Saturdays.
What do you get when you have a Dutch-Indonesian mom and a Creole pop? It's Chef Chris Reed's Bumbu Roux bringing underrepresented Indonesian food to Chicago as well as comforting gumbos, mac 'n' cheese and blackened catfish. The menu changes weekly, but some of the core Indonesian items include: sate; Rendang Daging, spicy coconut curry beef; and Kari Laksa, spicy coconut curry soup with chicken and shrimp. Warmup with Creole items like red beans & rice and seafood gumbo. You'll find Krakatoa only at Bumbu Roux. It's a juicy pork sandwich with shredded papaya, pickled red onion, cucumber, cilantro, and Fresno peppers fusing the Creole po'boy with Indonesian flavors. Chef Reed says, "it's a very simple story: decades ago two people fell in love, and today we're sharing the family cooking that grew out of that story." Order at least eight hours in advance to pick up Fri-Sat at http://bumburoux.com/togo.
Recommended for Take Out because: One of the only Indonesian restaurants in Chicago, Bumbu Roux brings the celebration of the table to your home (or hotel room).
Jacky's expert tip: Check out online cooking classes to learn how to cook Indonesian food, a new line of products as well as a limited run of at-home Rijsttafels (Dutch-Indonesian feasts).
Carnitas Uruapan has been dishing out authentic carnitas in Pilsen via Michoacan, Mexico since 1975. The family recipe has remained unchanged for 40 years so when you order take-out pork carnitas by the taco or by the pound), you can bet on genuine, traditionally prepared chunks of pork slowly cooked for hours until the outsides are browned and crispy yet tender on the inside. Available Monday-Friday, the "Carnitas Especial" includes a half-pound of carnitas, a taco dorado (various fillings encased in a crispy tortilla), chicharrones (pork cracklings), beans and an agua fresca. That's a lot of fine eating for $10. Any day of the week, pick up carnitas, chicharrones, tacos dorados, cactus salad, refried beans, guacamole, cold brew and Mexican soft drinks.
Recommended for Take Out because: Carnitas Uruapan deserves space in your drawer of take-out menus for its authentic carnitas prepared according to an old family recipe, low prices and friendly service.
Jacky's expert tip: There's also an outpost located in Gage Park at 2813 W. 55TH. St.
John Hackett and his wife, Arami, met in China, moved to Chicago and Arami experimented to duplicate his favorite Chinese street food, roujiamo. The Han Burger was born. The sandwich consists of marinated meat slow cooked in spices and combined with hot peppers, veggies and garnishes on a toasted bun. Every part of The Han Burger is constructed from scratch using the same ingredients and techniques used in Xi'an today: marinating meat for over twelve hours then slow cooking it. Traditional "mo" buns are manually pressed and griddled. Choose from garlic aioli or Frank's Red Hot aioli to complement potatoes or add on to Han Burgers. The Han Solo is the pork version or go for The Beef Han - and add kimchi, fried egg or classic Chicago giardiniera. Sides include paprika potato wedges (which you can top with green onions, egg, pork belly, etc.) and kimchi cole slaw. Yum!
Recommended for Take Out because: The roujiamo has been a favorite street food in China for two millennia and is considered the world's earliest take on a hamburger.
Jacky's expert tip: Park in the lot at 324 N Leavitt and call. Your food will be brought out for curbside pickup.
Long before every restaurant of any ilk added a fried chicken sandwich to its roster, Honey Butter Fried Chicken swung open the coop with its sustainably raised, house-butchered and fried to audibly crunchy, golden brown chicken. Add that creamy compound butter featuring regional honey and this OG chicken sandwich still rules the roost. Chicken is fresh and local (never processed or frozen), brined and double-battered before lolling in non-GMO, trans-fat-free canola oil. Get a box of pieces that come with honey butter and corn muffins or one of the remarkable sandwiches like the Original with candied jalapeño mayo. Sides are made with responsibly sourced ingredients from small farmers and local businesses: Pimento Mac and Cheese, Schmaltz Smashed Potatoes, and Kale and Cabbage Slaw are all fine escorts to the bird.
Recommended for Take Out because: The taste. The commitment to fresh, responsibly sourced ingredients. The honey butter.
Jacky's expert tip: Chef/Owners Josh Kulp and Christine Cikowski's thoughtfulness reaches beyond the fryer by providing employees thriving wages and using secondhand and natural materials in the shop.
From the jump more than a dozen years ago, urbanbelly has been serving flavorful Asian fast-casual food and it only gets better. Led by award-winning Chef Bill Kim and Cornerstone Restaurant Group, the menu lists signature dumplings, bowls and specialties such as the gluten-free and dairy free Coconut Curry Pho and Kim's signature ramen. Order slippery dumplings (stuffed with Korean BBQ beef, chicken red curry or edamame) by the piece and pair 'em with something crispy like Thai fried chicken or Togarashi fries. Substantial bowls are filled with your choice of toppings/mix-ins (pork belly/pineapple, lemongrass chicken and shrimp among the options) over fried rice, udon noodles or veg and rice.
Recommended for Take Out because: It's take-out ease prepared with fine-dining technique. After all, Kim wrote the book on Korean barbecue.
Jacky's expert tip: Urbanbelly travels particularly well for takeout because noodles and broth are smartly packed separately to avoid sogginess.