While the pandemic has caused a lot of restaurants to close, it has also created an abundance of pop-up and delivery-only spots. This means that some of the restaurants we thought we’d lost forever are coming back, albeit temporarily. In other words, think of these closed restaurants as Swayze, you’re Demi, and the delivery app is the pottery wheel. Order away.
All restaurant closings are sad, but losing Maude’s was particularly tough for us. This French restaurant was one of our favorite spots in the West Loop - whether it was for a casual date night, special occasion, or just a cheeseburger by ourselves at the bar after a sh*tty day. So, we’re delighted to report that it has popped up as a virtual restaurant. And all the Maude’s classics are available for carryout and delivery, like the ribeye, cassoulet, braised lentils, roast chicken, and (thank god) even the cheeseburger.
Naoki closed early last year and it was another spot we were pretty bummed to see go. This small sushi restaurant was hidden in the middle of the Belden Stratford building in Lincoln Park and required a compass (and helpful receptionist) to locate. The food was great, so we’re glad it’s back. Plus, now it’s very easy to find - you can just order the nigiri, sashimi, and dishes like sambal chicken fried rice online.
OK, this isn’t a full-blown pop-up, but it’s still pretty cool. Blackbird, the well-known West Loop tasting menu spot that closed last year, was particularly famous for its pastries. And now you can order their handmade chocolates that mimic some of their iconic desserts - like spiced caramel truffles or passion fruit caramel and banana rum ganache bonbons.
When we think of reasons we’d find ourselves at Eden, it was mainly for group brunches, celebrations, or dinner and drinks before heading to the United Center. Not a lot of that was going on in 2020, so it’s not surprising that Eden closed last summer. But from February 12-14, this Mediterranean restaurant is popping up with an $80 five-course meal for Valentine’s Day. Order here and then maybe put on a Bulls game afterward for old-times sake.
Pull up a chair, we’re going to tell you a little story. Lettuce Entertain You - the restaurant group behind the RPMs, Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, Sushi-san, and about six million other restaurants - used to have a Greek restaurant. It was called Papagus, and it closed about 14 years ago. Legend has it that the townsfolk loved this restaurant very, very much, and were sad to see it leave. You’ve probably figured out where we’re going with this story. Yes, it’s back, and offering dishes like melitzanosalata, saganaki, spanakopita, and gyros for carryout and delivery out of Beatrix in River North.