Chicago

A next-level corner shop in the South Loop

When following in the footsteps of the family you inevitably want to take it one step further, an impulse that has doomed generations of lemmings. But it works out better for people, like the dude behind Urban Pantry.

From a pair of longtime friends and former IT consultants whose respective families own numerous convenience stores, UP takes it to the next level with its Whole Foods-meets-7-Eleven vibe, while leveraging the owners' tech know-how to bring in all sorts of modern advances, none of which include trying to cop a feel at the MCA. Product-wise they're leaning heavily on organic produce and other foodstuffs sourced from some of the same distributors WF uses, plus local products like baked goods from Red Hen and Turano; they're also in talks with numerous local breweries about carrying their beer, but, being full of beer, the breweries are all like "no, no, I got this", even though it's clear their arms are getting tired. For those who refuse to leave the house they've rolled out a Peapod-like online ordering system with pinpointed delivery times, plus other conveniences including curbside pickup and the ability to place orders via text, but please refrain from questions like "How ripe r ur melonz?".

On weekends they'll be doing a steady stream of free tastings, from pitas and hummus to craft beers and wine, which for lemmings often consists of "Are we there yeAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!".

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