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 email@example.com.
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
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.