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More Local Restaurants Hope Thanksgiving Takeout Meals Will Provide Them With Boost During COVID-19 Slump

CHICAGO (CBS) — With restaurant dining rooms shut down and families choosing safety over group gatherings, local restaurants are pivoting to takeout Thanksgiving Day meals.

Business owners told CBS 2’s Tara Molina they are looking for a boost in this tough time.

Individual meals or family style, restaurants like Pacino’s, at 1010 S. Delano Ct. in the South Loop, are prepping both for the big day.

They are doing so with Thanksgiving looking a little different this year, and many choosing not to gather and not to cook.

So the kitchen was hot and hopes were high at Pacino’s this Thanksgiving Eve.

“This is all I’ve got to live with,” said Pacino’s Head Chef Michael Serratore.

The native Sicilian has a passion for Italian cooking. He was gearing up to cook more than a dozen turkeys in a kitchen known for fresh pasta – with times harder than ever.

“Right now, it’s tough,” Serratore said. “I’m try to do the best I can, because a lot of people don’t want to be with family anymore.”

He said he hoped the holiday meals to go would help Pacino’s see another month. Now, he says he’s not so sure.

“With all of the orders I have right now? I’m in the hole with money,” he said.

A few miles to the north in Lakeview, the phone is ringing and the order sheets are piling up at Ann Sather – the famed local Swedish restaurant chain with its flagship location at 909 W. Belmont Ave.

“We’re seeing lots of orders – but not big orders,” said Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), who owns Ann Sather and met us in his restaurateur role. “They’re heeding the advice of our health department and our mayor.”

Known for their cinnamon rolls, Ann Sather this year is preparing the whole feast – turkey and all the trimmings and bread plates included – for single and family-style to-go orders.

“It’s cut our business in half,” Tunney said.

Tunney said every order counts.

“It will help,” he said. “There’s no question about it.”

But this Thanksgiving Eve, despite how hard times are and how different this year, this holiday, may be, Tunney said, “We all have so much to be thankful for.”

“To all my guys, the chefs out there, just hang in there,” Serratore said. “We’ll be OK.”

If you haven’t ordered a meal yet tonight, some restaurants are doing day-of orders. Ann Sather said they will be doing some day-of orders for Thanksgiving, and people should call ahead on Thursday to see how many are made.

The Ann Sather Belmont Avenue location can be reached at (773) 348-2378. The second location about five blocks away at 3415 N. Broadway is at )(773) 305-0024, and the third location at 1147 W. Granville Ave. in Edgewater is at (773) 274-0557.

Other restaurants serve Thanksgiving meals on covered outdoor patios. Among those doing so are Tzuco, at 720 N. State St. In River North; Etta, which has locations at 1840 W. North Ave. in Wicker Park/Bucktown and 700 N. Clark St. in River North; and Maple & Ash, at 8 W. Maple St. in the Gold Coast.

Also From CBS Chicago:

Source: CBS Chicago | News Colony

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