Drive-Thrus and Curbside Pick-Up
“In addition to delivery, new social distance initiatives include a ‘drive through window’ where guests can walk (drive, bike, or roller skate) on up to our window and place an order for food, wine, cheese, olives, tinned fish, beer, cultured butter, etc.,” notes co-owner Erin Carlman Weber. “Our Wine & Cheese Hotline (773-661-1599) is up and running for callers to receive personalized recommendations for all their wine and cheese needs for pickup.”
But it’ll take more than curbside expansion to keep these companies afloat. Amid all the mandates, empty streets, fear, and confusion, these restaurants still need customers. That’s where Dining with a Distance, a brand new online database listing hundreds of Chicagoland area restaurants still open for off-premise dining, comes in.
“My wife and I were browsing Twitter and saw that a news reporter sent out a tweet after the announcement came from the governor saying, 'Who's staying open? Why? How?'” Dining with a Distance co-creator Sean Lynch explained Monday evening. “I work as a Senior Product Manager at Huge, a digital experience agency, and our ethos is all about making information consumable and understandable for users. So when I saw the tweet I was like, 'This is great information in context but how can we turn into a product that's usable and accessible?' I just took out my computer and started building. I began with 20 entries and now we're at 515. It's been a crazy day.”
The restaurant-lover’s site features an interactive spreadsheet sortable by restaurant name, types of services offered, delivery partners like Grubhub and DoorDash, and neighborhood among other classifications. Physical addresses, websites, phone numbers, and additional details are also accounted for. As of Tuesday at 12:30pm, the collection spans 786 local outposts.
“The plan is to keep it up as long as we can and bring awareness to the fact that restaurants still need business,” Lynch continued. “It’s basically a value exchange where by eating we're helping employees and restaurants survive what has become a horrible time for all of us.”