New In Town: Chicago’s First Zero-Waste Restaurant, Plus Gluten-Free Goodies Delivered To Your Doorstep

Local businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, but here in Chicago, we are resilient. Many new businesses have re-imagined themselves and gotten creative with social-distancing so that they can still provide us with wonderful experiences and services this summer. Whether you are comfortable going out in accordance with Phase Four guidelines, or would rather grab-and-go or order online, these local businesses have got you covered.

Welcome back to town!

COVID-19 is still present in the community and we urge you to exercise best practices when going out: maintain at least 6 feet of distance, wear a mask and wash your hands properly and frequently.

Eat, North Shore

Tori Dasu

Tori Dasu’s maki rolls. Photo courtesy of Tori Dasu

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many restaurants to get creative, and Glencoe favorite, Guildhall, was no exception. They opted to turn their indoor bar into a sushi and sake bar, bringing fresh, upscale Japanese cuisine to Glencoe’s take-out scene. Their menu features Nigiri/Sashimi, a creative list of Maki (rolls) and an extensive sake list – so those mourning the loss of their local bar, fear not! Their rolls feature elegant twists on classic favorites, like the California King: King Crab, Garlic Butter, Avocado, Cucumber and Black Tobiko – yum. (847) 835-8100, 694 Vernon Ave., Glencoe

501 Local

Photo courtesy of 501 Local.
501 Local’s outdoor patio. Image courtesy of 501 Local

Another new restaurant in Winnetka, 501 Local,  is optimizing their location at the corner of Chestnut and Elm with a perfect social-distancing patio. Since late June, 501 Local has also added indoor dining with proper safety measures in place, in accordance with the state’s Phase Four reopening guidelines. The restaurant, from Mark Salmon, emanates summer with seasonal delicacies like crab cakes, zucchini blossoms and salads. They also have fresh, grilled fish and short rib sliders for those with a bigger appetite. (224) 255-6480, 501 Chestnut St., Winnetka

Spirit Elephant

Spirit Elephant’s Buffalo Cauliflower. Image courtesy of Spirit Elephant / Sophie Baron Photography

Spirit Elephant, an upscale, fully plant-based restaurant and bar, opened in Winnetka back in January, however; they had to temporarily close their doors in March when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Since then, they have adopted strict new safety protocols, as well as added an extensive take-out and delivery service. They have also added a large back garden patio along with sidewalk seating in front. Now, in accordance with Phase Four guidelines, have also reopened their indoor dining with socially distanced seating. The weekends consist of plant-based brunch favorites like avocado toast and homemade cinnamon rolls, while the evenings feature dishes like Buffalo Cauliflower Wings and a Raw Brownie Sundae. (847) 348-9000, 924 Greenbay Rd., Winnetka


Tocco’s Pappardelle Al Limone and the Positano. Photo courtesy of Olivia Stauber

Beloved restauranteur, Bruno Abate of Follia in Chicago’s meatpacking district, has brought his authentic Italian cuisine to Chicago’s North Shore. His new restaurant, Tocco, aims to give diners an experience like they were in Italy. And Bruno knows how to do that, having grown up in Italy himself. Their menu is a healthy mix of handmade pastas and pizzas, fresh fish and indulgent Italian desserts. They even offer gluten-free pasta for those with dietary restrictions. (847) 386-6955, 507 Chestnut St., Winnetka   

Eat, City

Mama Delia

Mama Delia’s outdoor patio. Photo courtesy of Mama Delia

After close to nine successful years with Black Bull, Bonhomme Group Founder Daniel Alonso, Executive Chef Marcos Campos and the Bonhomme Hospitality team decided that a new concept and design for the space were necessary to realize their vision for the next decade. Enter Mama Delia, a Restaurant, Sherry Bar and Ultramarino (neighborhood gourmet market) located in Wicker Park that offers Chicago a contemporary Spanish culinary experience. They also have a beautiful, enclosed rooftop garden (Botánico) for private dinner parties, while still respecting social-distancing protocols. Both Campos and Chef de Cuisine Antonio Capafons are natives of Valencia, making for a menu that is authentic, hyper-seasonal and ingredient driven – and for a mean paella. (312) 487-1236, 1721 W Division St., Chicago


Photo courtesy of Kira Anderson / PB&J.

Located in West Loop, PB&J is Chicago’s newest hangout specializing in its namesake areas: Pizza, Beer and Jukebox. Guests can enjoy Neapolitan style pizzas, cold beer on tap, craft cocktails and a TouchTunes Jukebox for all those late night song requests. PB&J is open for both lunch and dinner, and has specials like the “Brie Castle” vegetarian pizza, which tastes like a white castle burger and is topped with caramelized onion and brie cheese. Besides following all of the mandated CDC regulations, they are also installing ultra-violet light in the air ducts to neutralize airborne bacteria. PB&J will also have QR codes on each table for contactless ordering and all of their staff will be tested for coronavirus. (312) 498-7080, 205 N Peoria St., Chicago

un • cooked

Photo courtesy of un • cooked

Veteran restauranteur, Carole Jones, former chef and co-founder of Chicago Raw has unveiled her newest plant-based venture: un • cooked. She is joined by her son and daughter-in-law, Jeremy and Kaitlyn Jones, in this sustainably-sourced and zero-waste endeavour to showcase the power of plants. They aim to be the greenest destination in Chicago, through both its menu and sustainability practices. The restaurant will be grab-and-go, perfect for this time of social distancing. (312) 315-5552, 210 N Carpenter, Chicago

Nine Times Bakery

Photo courtesy of Nine Times Bakery

Emily Mohr, founder of Nine Times Bakery, has always loved to bake. When she developed both gluten and dairy intolerances, Mohr immediately set out to re-develop her favorite recipes so she would never miss out on the crunch of her favorite childhood cookie. Nine Times Bakery is an exclusively gluten-free, dairy-free online bakery based out of Bucktown. They bake up delicious cookies, bars and cake balls that break all the stereotypes (like Cookies and Cream Cake Balls!) of mainstream gluten free, dairy free baked goods. The best part – they ship nationwide, and also local delivery within Chicago, as well as pick-up in Buckton. (847) 946-0209, 2116 W North Ave., Chicago

Take Care

Sole + Luna Wellness

Photo courtesy of Sole + Luna

Prioritizing our health and wellness has never been more important. Hubbard Woods is home to a new wellness haven, Sole + Luna. Through a combination of monthly memberships, packages and single sessions, they will offer services such as localized cryotherapy, infared sauna, halo salt therapy and more. To top it all off, they also have Easthill Tea and Kombucha Brava on tap. Because of COVID-19, they are offering services by appointment-only for the time being, with extensive cleaning between each session. (224) 505-5990, 1015 Tower Ct., Winnetka

More from Better:

Madison Muller is the Assistant Digital Editor at Better. A recent graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, she approaches our contemporary media environment with compassion and candor. She is interested in writing about the intersectionality of social justice issues in marginalized communities and environmentalism. Madison proudly supports Action Now, a community organization that empowers and uplifts residents on Chicago’s West Side.

She also encourages reading and supporting The Marshall Project, a non-profit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system. 



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