Indoor dining has returned to Chicago as the city welcomes the cold that comes with February. Still, many restaurant owners are sticking with takeout and outdoor service, and under these circumstances, it comes time to update the Eater Heatmap.
Restaurants continue to open during the pandemic, as many emphasize outdoor dining and takeout. Some have takeout windows for minimum interaction with customers. Other restaurants have made big changes, investing in garage doors, air filtration systems, and condensing menus to create safer environments for customers and workers.
Pivoting to carryout is, for many owners, essentially like opening a brand new restaurant. Here, Eater highlights a few Chicago restaurants forging their own path during the pandemic.
For the February update, four restaurants were added. An Indonesian food stall brings new energy to a downtown food hall, a heated patio promises safety and comfort in Pilsen, a French-Canadian bistro serves comfort food in Lakeview, and a Michelin-starred restaurant in Fulton Market figures out how to translate the tasting menu experience at home.
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As of January 23, Chicago restaurants are permitted to serve customers indoors with a 25 percent maximum capacity per room, or 25 people — whichever is fewer. The maximum number of people per table is six. t At the same time, despite winter weather, a number of Chicago restaurants continue to offer outdoor seating. Regardless, the state requires reservations for indoor and outdoor dining. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as an endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.