Chicago

Upgrade Your Quarantine Cooking With These Chicago Restaurant Meal Kits

You deserve it.

Aba Restaurant
Aba Restaurant
Aba Restaurant

Cooped up inside and sick of making decisions? Save your brain cells for Zoom trivia night and let some of the Windy City’s most revered tastemakers fix you the multi-course meal of your homebound dreams, cooked, portioned, and boxed for take-out or delivery. In today’s flipped-upside-down world, accessing Michelin-starred dining requires neither shirt, shoes, nor advanced reservation (unless you’re doing curbside pick-up, in which case I recommend wearing a shirt and shoes throughout the transaction).

Alinea Group

Alinea
Order on Tock to Go
Can’t seem to snag a resy at famed Chef Grant Achatz’s three-starred Lincoln Park institution? No sweat, just order your fine dining for curbside pick-up and prepare to indulge in cheffy comforts like coq au vin with mashed potatoes and salad finished with a decadent dark chocolate pot de crème. Meals feed parties of one to eight for an astoundingly low $39.95 a pop.

Next Restaurant
Next Restaurant
Next Restaurant

Next Restaurant

Order on Tock to Go
Alinea’s globally focused little sister has also made its pick-up debut with prepared experiences like Mexico City at Home, an immersive journey south of the border with stops including pork belly mole, esquites salad, and tres leches cake. The whole flavor-packed adventure runs just $24.95 per person.

Roister
Roister
Roister

Roister

Order on Tock to Go
This West Loop standout joins its siblings with a few different pick-up options including a fully loaded chicken dinner (grilled chicken breast, fried chicken thighs, hearth-roasted asparagus, strawberry shortcake) and short rib bolognese lasagna with hearth-roasted broccoli rapini in a calabrian chili pesto and sea salt caramel budino. Request up to eight meals at a time for $24.95 each.

Entente

Order on Tock to Go
Mix and match your way to Michelin-starred satisfaction with several different family meal offerings from this Fujimura Hospitality stunner. Pick-up and delivery options include a weekend pastry delivery kit complete with the eatery’s own Sparrow Coffee house blend as well as dinner deals Thursday through Sunday featuring fresh pasta, jerk chicken, chicken tikka masala, and Southern fried chicken for parties of two to six. Prices vary based on menu item.

Aba Restaurant
Aba Restaurant
Aba Restaurant

Lettuce Entertain You 

Aba
Order on Tock to Go
Celebrated Chef C.J. Jacobson is whisking hungry social distancers away to a secluded Mediterranean oasis with breezy four-course meals for two. $45 gets you spicy hummus, village salad, chicken kefta kebab, and date bars plus optional add-ons like hand-selected wine pairings, featured sides and veggies, and bonus desserts for a few more bones.

Bub City

Call 312-610-4200 or order on Grubhub
Enjoy your next cook-out from the comfort and safety of your sanitized dining room with this River North roadhouse’s gut-busting family meal for four. The giant platter of 18-hour smoked brisket, chopped salad, ooey gooey mac ‘n cheese, mashed potatoes, and chocolate chip cookies comes in at just $49.95.

RPM Italian

Order on ChowNow 
Missing your Nonna? Make her proud by downing every delicious morsel of RPM’s family meal for four. The lovingly prepared feast spans Giuliana’s Italian salad, Mama DePandi’s bucatini pomodoro, truffled garlic bread, and Bill’s chocolate budino for a grand total of $50 (an extra $15 gets you a bottle of Giuliana Prosecco, just putting it out there).

RPM Steak

Order on Grubhub or Tock to Go
Keep your meat cabinet stocked with RPM’s four-person family meal: a massive 24-ounce Prime Midwest Ribeye accompanied by Caesar salad, whipped potatoes, and freshly baked cookies for dessert. Just $65 for a top shelf steak dinner? Sign us up.

DineAmic Hospitality

Order on Caviar
Backed by Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani, this trend-setting restaurant group has brought together their all-star team of brands to produce a bounty of four-course family meals for pick-up and delivery. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, guests can preorder chef-driven picks like Barrio’s chips with salsa and guacamole, chicken al pastor, and cinnamon churros as well as chopped salad from Bandit and Public House with slow-cooked baby back ribs and more. On the weekends, opt for homey delights like Siena Tavern’s kale Caesar with lasagna and charred broccoli or Prime & Provisions’ roast beef tenderloin with creamed spinach and whipped potatoes. In the mood for a more predictable lineup? Customize your family meal by ordering it directly from Siena Tavern or Public House on Caviar.

Gibsons Restaurant Group

Call 312-266-8999 or order on DoorDash
30-year-old chophouse icon Gibsons is hitting the take-out ground running with a boatload of bargain-priced dinners for four. Precooked deals range from $65 to $99 and center around mains like whole rotisserie chickens, bone-in Porterhouses, baby back ribs, and filet medallions complemented by a slew of sides, salads, and desserts.

Virtue Restaurant
Virtue Restaurant
Virtue Restaurant

Virtue

Order online
Chef Erick Williams is keeping Hyde Park fed and happy with daily four-person family meals at just $48 a piece. The regularly changing menu features feel-good entrees like honey baked ham with red beans and rice and collard greens, blackened catfish with grilled zucchini, and grilled chicken with braised cabbage plus sweet treats like chocolate cake with malted chocolate frosting and Chef Becky’s famous cookies.

Temporis

Order on Caviar or Tock to Go
Dig into a Michelin-starred wonderland without digging out your dusty suit jacket with Dinner for Two from this West Town game-changer. Available Tuesday through Saturday, the prix-fixe menus run the gamut from braised beef short ribs with belly-warming cheddar grits and baby kale salad to seared Faroe Island salmon with Israeli couscous and sofrito and run $35 per guest (add $30 for a particularly excellent bottle of wine).

Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar
Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar
Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar

Heritage Restaurant and Caviar Bar

Call 773-661-9577 or order on Tock to Go
Go ahead and get fancy with a four-person, $75 family meal from caviar-happy Heritage chefs Guy and Shane. The menu changes daily and includes fully-prepped mains like Czech Svíčková with roast ribeye lingonberry demi glace and wood-grilled BBQ shrimp in mushroom gravy with thyme grits (check out the full calendar here), plus house-baked bread and plenty of primo sides.

The Purple Pig

Order on Tock to Go
Hand the reins to Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr. and settle in for a fine Italian feast feeding up to 20 of your nearest and dearest for $18 plate. Expect farm-fresh salads, housemade pasta swimming in pork neckbone Sunday gravy, and the chef’s special chicken cacciatore alongside bottles of wine at an additional cost.

All Together Now

Order on Tock to Go
Drop by this wine-fueled Ukrainian Village hangout’s clever “drive-through window” on Chicago Avenue (or get delivery) to cop your own Nightly Family Dinner feeding groups of two or four at $16.25 to $18 each. Recent selections include meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, grilled rapini with dijon dressing, wheat berry risotto with crispy maitake mushrooms and Sarvecchio cheese, and Middlebrow seeded sourdough with tasty cultured butter. And don’t sleep on additions like curated wine pairings, charcuterie boards, and desserts.

Brass Heart Restaurant
Brass Heart Restaurant
Brass Heart Restaurant

Brass Heart

Order on Tock to Go
Uptown’s premiere white tablecloth destination is packing up a handful of coursed dinners feeding parties of two to six for $25 a head. American classics like roast chicken with potatoes and short rib and braised pork Shepherd’s pie are on offer, as is a totally vegan rundown featuring cauliflower tikka masala and baked-to-order vegan cookies. Take on a bottle of wine for an additional cost.

Well Done Hospitality Group

Order on Tock to Go 
Taureaux Tavern, Cochon Volant Brasserie, and Francois Frankie are joining forces to bring the good people of Chicago a variety of exciting four-person family meals at $12.50 per person. Expect familiar favorites like shrimp cocktail, slow roasted salmon, housemade pappardelle bolognese, and pork katsu with yellow curry, plus weekend brunch options and bottles of bubbly starting at $15.

Parachute Restaurant
Parachute Restaurant
Parachute Restaurant

Parachute and Wherewithall

Order on Caviar (Parachute, Wherewithal) or Tock to Go (Parachute, Wherewithall)
Local heros Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark have taken both of their award-winning operations online for your pick-up and delivery dining pleasure. Daily $50 family meals for two are the star of the show, with Parachute serving up innovative Korean-inspired dishes like jjajangbap with steamed rice, three different pickles, toasted gim, and the spot’s legendary bing bread and Wherewithall bringing the heat with cheffy numbers like carne guisada with spanish rice and green garlic and cilantro-spiked tostones. Add-ons like bottles of natural wine, cider, and craft beer seal the deal.

etta

Order on Toast, Caviar, DoorDash, or Uber Eats
This Bucktown charmer is keeping families of two in good spirits with daily $55 multi-course meals to fit any appetite. Recent packaged gems include fire-baked focaccia, fluffy greens with conserved peppers, burrata, and roasted tomato vinaigrettes, squid ink mafaldine laced with with shrimp sugo and chili de arbol, and artisan pepperoni pizza topped with tomato crudo and mozzarella among other palate-pleasing creations.

Maple & Ash
Maple & Ash
Maple & Ash

Maple & Ash

Call 312-944-8888 or order online
Head over to this sleek Gold Coast steakhouse’s handy Google form Sunday through Thursday and sign yourself up for one of the tip-toppiest family meal programs in town. Guests can either kick back with a fully cooked cornucopia of chophouse specialities like pan-seared halibut with roasted baby leeks, romesco, and charred lemon, shaved fennel and arugula salad, house-baked baguette, and more ($60 feeds two), or DIY it with a $160 grill-at-home kit for four (little gem Caesar, four six-ounce filets, asparagus, house steak sauce, and a bottle of fine carnivore-friendly wine).

S.K.Y.

Call 312-846-1077 to order
Chef Stephen Gillanders’s humble Michelin-starred outfit has recently introduced lucky Pilsen dwellers to what might just be the city’s best family meal bargain yet. For a mere $39, groups of two get their pick of thoughtful, artfully crafted dishes like Japanese cucumber salad, dumplings stuffed with Maine lobster and drenched in jade butter, Rohan duck confit, and roasted brussels sprouts with burnt honey gastrique plus complimentary cornbread madeleines and black truffle croquettes to prime the palate. Run, don’t walk.Sign up here for our daily Chicago email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Meredith Heil is a contributor for Thrillist. 

Chicago

Robyn DaCultyre Is Doing It for the Culture

"The cool thing about Ohio is that there is literally a place for everyone."

Photo by Kayode Omoyosi
Photo by Kayode Omoyosi
Photo by Kayode Omoyosi

I was introduced to Robyn DaCultyre at an Untitled Queen show at C’mon Everybody in late January, and it was one of the most unique drag shows I’d seen in a while. Afterwards, I tracked down this self-described “drag creature” and video chatted about her drag origin story, the state of drag in her native Ohio, and the dual identities that make up her persona. Thrillist: I want to ask you about how Robyn DaCultyre came about and your point of view behind your performance.

Robyn DaCultyre: I’ve been travelling around the country from a young age in ministry and Christian studies. I moved to Chicago right after high school. Four years later, moved back to Columbus and decided I didn’t really want to do church anymore; that wasn’t where my heart was.

I had a really low point in my life and had a suicide attempt and then really found drag and started doing drag as a coping mechanism and way to let off steam. I started in July of 2019, and it was really a lot of punk and metal music. I created this drag creature of sorts and they were really out of this world and celestial and all of those fun alien type terms.

And then we went into a global pandemic and I had a lot of time to figure out who I wanted to be. Digitally I was still doing a lot of drag creature-esque numbers and all of that, but I had this moment where we’re on the front lines getting hit with pepper spray and rubber bullets and pepper spray-all of those lovely things. And I said, I have this platform and I need to start showcasing what’s happening.

Untitled [Queen] stepped in at the right time and messaged me and said, “I’m doing this show for Independence Day called Untitled in America with 52 different performers and I want you to be a part of it.” It was at that moment I was able to take the footage I had been recording on the front lines and incorporate it into digital content. I did a song called Black Like Me by Mickey Guyton that talks about white picket fences, but if you want to see how America is, then you should try being Black like me. The imagery of what’s literally happening in Columbus in that digital performance really spearheaded me into focusing on people who look like me.

Nina Simone is one of my biggest inspirations, and one of her quotes that resonates with me is that it’s the duty of the artist to resonate with the times. My art is politically charged. I like to entertain, but there will definitely be a time when you come to a show expecting to have your drink and be chill and that might not be the case.

How did the name Robyn DaCultyre come about?

I was smoking with Ursula Major, who was on season one of Dragula, and the first time I introduced myself to her I was Robyn Banks, which is my drag name originally. She said, “Well, do you just not want to be original at all?” [Laughs] And I sat with that for a couple of months, and I got really stoned one day and was listening to Janelle Monae, and she talks about doing it for the culture, and I said “I do it for the culture, too!” And the rest is history.

And you started a series called Melanated.

We started Melanated last February. I told the idea to my show director that there were no shows specifically run by Black people that only featured Black entertainers. I wanted to do this show for a night and she said, Why don’t we do it once a week for the whole month? The first show happens, and it’s a sold out crowd, and [my director] comes back and says we should do this every month. So I sucked it up and here we are a year later.

Melanated is the only fully Black show in all of the state. It’s a horrible marketing tool and not something I want to promote, but it is just a fact. It amazes me that we are the 13th largest city in America and there’s nothing here that’s fully focused on Black entertainers. The name also comes from Janelle Monae; she says she’s highly melanated and I said, that works.

Photos by Chay Creates LLC (left) and Bridget Caswell (right)
Photos by Chay Creates LLC (left) and Bridget Caswell (right)
Photos by Chay Creates LLC (left) and Bridget Caswell (right)

You refer to yourself as a drag creature, as opposed to drag queen or king…

This is actually the first time I’m making this public. I am in this place where I want to separate the alternative creature from who this melanated goddess or whatever is. DaCultyre is definitely the person who runs Melanated and then Robyn is this drag creature that is out of this world and really loves punk and alternative music. And both intertwine to make Robyn DaCultyre.

You also do pageants. Tell me about that.

In 2020 I was appointed by Nina West, who is from Columbus, as the representative from Ohio for National Entertainer of the Year in Louisville, Kentucky. I placed ninth out of 13 contestants and I really fell in love with the system and fell in love with the pageantry and loved the idea of reigning and being different. I want to show that we as alternative performers, as bearded performers, you can come into these systems and shake things up.

Is there a uniquely “Ohio” style of drag?

No, and I think that’s one of the things that makes it so amazing is that everyone has their own unique style, and it’s all pretty much accepted. I started as a performer and a drag creature and there was space that was afforded to me and I transitioned to more glamor and pageantry and that’s afforded to me as well. I’ve been a bearded entertainer for a year now. The cool thing about Ohio is that there is literally a place for everyone.

I think I have everything I need. Is there anything else I didn’t ask you about that you want to bring up, or‚Ķ

I don’t think so. Are there any generic questions you haven’t asked?

Generic questions‚ĶI think I asked all of them already [laughs]. I like to ask what you’d be doing if you weren’t doing drag?

It’s a great question. I have a day job that is very demanding so I need drag to get away. I’m also very creative and artistic. I used to do web design and all these other things to pull into my creativity. Drag is the longest thing I’ve stuck with in all parts of my life, so I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

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John deBary¬†is a drinks expert and writer. His first cocktail book,¬†Drink What You Want, is available now, and his next book,¬†Saved by the Bellini, is expected in early 2023. He is also the co-founder and president of the¬†Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of hospitality industry professionals through advocacy, grant making, and impact investing.

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