Restaurant patios and dining rooms may be (partially) reopening, but that doesn’t mean the end of Chicago’s takeout boom. Until interior dining rooms can reopen at full capacity — unlikely until there’s a vaccine — and revenues return to pre-pandemic levels, the wealth of inventive carryout, delivery, and pop-up options will continue.
The latest trend in to-go dining? Picnic kits, which you can pick up at restaurants and take with you to a nearby park (though they’d taste just as good spread out on your dining room table). Grab a blanket and try these four.
1All Together Now, the West Town café and wine and cheese shop, put together a $95 kit that serves three, with three different cans of wine (including Old Westminster Piquette), a cheese board, baguette, butter, coppa, creamed trout spread, olives, and more snacks, plus plates, napkins, utensils, and cups.
Take it to: Humboldt Park. Order online or in-person for delivery or pickup at 2119 W. Chicago Ave.
2Chef Edward Kim’s Mott Street offers two different picnic packs, both with four chicken everything wings, four imperial rolls (crispy rolls stuffed with pork, basil, and mint), and chilled green bean salad with fish sauce vinaigrette. For beverages, opt for a bottle of melon de Bourgogne or a mixed four-pack of beers from Hopewell Brewing and Great Central Brewing Company. The beer kit is $57 and the wine kit is $63.
Take it to: Wicker Park. Order online for delivery or pickup at 1401 N. Ashland Ave.
3When The Loyalist reopened its West Loop patio in early June, chef John Shields’ new menu shifted its focus to French fare (no worries, you can still get the Dirty Burg). Besides regular takeout, you can also order a French-inspired picnic kit for $74, which feeds two. The kit includes dishes like whitefish rillettes with brown butter chips, deviled eggs with boudin noir and pickled anchovies, ham and black truffle éclair sandwiches, and strawberries with Chantilly cream and chocolate shortbread cookies.
Take it to: Union Park. Order via Tock for pickup at 177 N. Ada St.
4Mundano, which opened in Lincoln Park mere weeks before the restaurant shutdown, returned this week with patio and dining room seating, but they’re also offering to-go items, including grilling kits and picnics. Chef Ross Henke’s picnic kit includes focaccia with serrano-everything spice cream cheese, a choice of one cheese (aged gouda or blue cheese) and one meat (Spanish chorizo or bresaola) plus accoutrements, pumpkin seed hummus, pickles, olives, and cookies. The kit is $36 and serves two.
Take it to: Lincoln Park. Order via Tock for pick-up at 1935 N. Lincoln Park.