Bobtail Ice Cream
2951 N. Broadway St., Lakeview
Bobtail Ice Cream was born out of a business plan competition at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and inspired by the grandfather of one of the founders (Grandpa Wilcoxon) who sold ice cream door-to-door from a truck in his Ohio neighborhood in the 1950s. The ice cream here is hard-packed and homemade, a mix of expected flavors and specialty creations, like Merlot ice cream with dark chocolate chips. And for those cold, windy Chicago days, there are some more weather-appropriate options, like hot fudge on a warm brownie, ice cream lattes, hot chocolate, and white mocha.
Annette’s Italian Ice
2009 N Bissell St., Lincoln Park
This no-frills, walk-up window shop in Lincoln Park (with a small patio) is known in part for its wide range of Italian ice flavors (from lychee to pink lemonade and chocolate).
Publican Quality Meats
825 W. Fulton Market, West Loop
Situated next door to its sister restaurant, the Publican, PQM offers a full butchery plus sandwiches and old-fashioned breakfasts. In the evenings, it gets converted into a dining room for the Publican's private events.
1000 W. Fulton Market, West Loop
Cold Storage is actually inside the Swift & Sons steakhouse—it’s their take on a seafood bar, with oysters and tons of shellfish. While the seafood tower doesn’t really make the best to-go order, you can get their excellent grilled fish and sandwiches (crab salad on brioche with avocado and lemon, anyone?) packaged up and ready for take-out. Dangerously, the desserts make for great takeout, too.
This two-year-old startup is set up to offer meal delivery in 15 minutes. But that's where the corner cutting ends: All meals, which skew healthy but not diet, are chef-prepared (they’ve been known to invite local big-name chefs to guest star in Sprig kitchens) using strictly organic produce and sustainable meats and seafood. As of right now, deliveries are made throughout San Francisco, Palo Alto, and most recently, Chicago—but expansions are coming soon.
211 W. Adams St., The Loop
Snap Kitchen has revolved around grab-and-go meals since 2010, making them one of the older companies in the relatively new healthy-pre-made-meal space. There are convenient pickup locations in Austin, Houston, Dallas, and Chicago, but you can also arrange delivery through their app. Snap also offers a 21-day "commit" program, which offers healthy takes on hearty meals like gluten-free beef stroganoff, bison quinoa hash, chicken butternut squash macaroni, and fettucine and vegetable “alfredo.” The cooking style is relatively free from the niche health foods that turn some people off of clean eating, making it an easy transition for health-food rookies.
After Chef Jona Silva read Michael Pollan’s book Cooked, he cut out refined sugar and started eating healthier—basically re-inventing his style of cooking. His meal delivery company of the same name, which he started with his wife, is beloved in Chicago because it provides a huge variety of options, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and kids meals (they even do great lunchboxes). The food is always local, organic whenever possible, and changes considerably with the seasons—plus, they offer Whole30-approved reset plans. They now deliver to all of Chicago—the city and surrounding suburbs.
Head Chef David Yusefz left his gig as Executive Chef at Baffo to join Radish, and his background in fine dining (as opposed to catering, where most chefs in this space started out), definitely shines through in his food. The menu changes daily, offering meals that display restaurant-quality creativity, like Ancho skirt steak with cherry tomatoes and pickled onions, wild-caught shrimp and grits with lemon and hot sauce, or “unfried” rice with scrambled eggs. While Radish is only available at dinner hours right now, food can be ordered on-demand and delivered hot in less than 20 minutes.
Kitch Fix is a favorite of the exercise community in Chicago because of its emphasis on a low-carb, high-fat, paleo style of cooking—favorite meals on the rotating menu include honey-glazed chicken with bacon guacamole, herb-roasted grass-fed beef, bone broths, cashew yogurt, and their paleo granola, which is available at Whole Foods. The easy-to-navigate website allows you to customize sizes—a seriously convenient feature when one family member is training for a marathon and the other’s doing gentle yoga. Also cool: Many of the company’s employees are students in or graduates of the Cara Program, a Chicago nonprofit that provides job training for those living in homelessness and extreme poverty.
Eat Purely’s meals can all be ordered on-demand and delivered within 20 minutes via their easy-to-use app; a lifesaver on days when dinner plans aren’t top of mind until it's too late. The menu (which changes daily) is very vegetable-focused, with dishes like kale and beet Caesar salad, vegetable Meritage, coconut-glazed salmon, and sweet potato gnocchi.
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