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Pop up restaurant owners who are meeting the moment (from left) include Sheal Patel of Dhuaan BBQ, Billy Zureikat of Tripping Billy and Eve Studnicka of Funeral Potatoes.

Pop up restaurant owners who are meeting the moment (from left) include Sheal Patel of Dhuaan BBQ, Billy Zureikat of Tripping Billy and Eve Studnicka of Funeral Potatoes.

Photos by Sheri Whitko Photography (Patel), Billy Zureikat and Kelli Stanko (Studnicka) for WBEZ

Six Chicago pop-up restaurants to try now

Fall Eats logo

This fall, WBEZ is bringing you a series of stories about favorite fall eats and seasonal delicacies on a budget. This list grew out of reporting on pop-up restaurants.

Pop-ups and chef collaborations shot up during the COVID-19 pandemic as customers were increasingly glued to social media and got comfortable with ordering everything from fried rice to ice cream via DMs. Like food trucks and food hall stalls, pop-ups offer a lower barrier to entry (though not without their share of paperwork and licensing fees). Pop-ups also enable nimbleness in the face of changing consumer spending habits.

Now some pop-up owners in Chicago are choosing to permanently live the nomadic life, opting for roving collaborations, restaurant and bar residencies, catering and wholesale production.

Want to dive into Chicago’s thriving scene? Here are six to try. It is always recommended to check a company’s Instagram page before heading out to a location to see if hours or menus have changed.

Barbeque infused with Indian flavors. Check Instagram for updates on future pop-ups. For catering; email

Midwestern comfort food through delivery. Preorders for frozen and chilled delivery are open Saturday through Monday online. Check website for catering information and Instagram for special events.

Freshly shucked oysters and creative seafood. Motorshucker has a weekly residency every Sunday at Easy Does It. and pops up each Friday and Saturday night in October at Bamboo Room. Check Instagram and the restaurant’s events page for updates

World Pizza Champion pizza maker Anthony Scardino whips up Sicilian, New York, Detroit and other pizza styles as chef in residence at West Loop rooftop bar Tetto. He also takes orders for delivery.

Pizza and sandwiches. Tripping Billy pops up through October at Pizza Matta. Check Instagram for updates.

Vietnamese-tinged, umami-rich barbecue. Umamicue pops up every Tuesday through Saturday at Spilt Milk. Check the website for events and for information on catering.

Maggie Hennessy is a Chicago-based food and drink writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Bon Appetit and Food & Wine. Follow her on Instagram.

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