It might be a new year, but you’re still finding yourself ordering food from the same three restaurants. Again. And again. And again. While it’s important to support your favorites (please don’t stop), occasionally you need some encouragement to try something different. So if your takeout routine is starting to feel like Groundhog Day, only with way more disposable forks, that’s what this guide is for. From DIY handrolls to a birria pop-up to the best shrimp and grits in the city, these 19 spots are guaranteed to break up your delivery déjà vu.
Minahasa started as a pop-up run by the chef and his mother (Mama Betty), and is now operating out of Revival Food Hall in the Loop. This Indonesian restaurant has delicious things like soto ayam, beef rendang, and sambal chicken wings, along with ube cookies and balapis. And while the food hall is open for indoor dining, you can still get Minahasa for takeout and delivery.
Chef Bill Kim's Pizza & Parm Shop
If you feel like this city needs more pizza (it does and you do), you’ll be happy to hear about Pizza And Parm Shop. It’s a new delivery-only pizza spot operating out of Urbanbelly in Wicker Park. All the pies here are Detroit-style, with flavor combinations like Korean BBQ with kimchi, along with toppings like smoked pork and pineapple. They also have a great chicken parm sandwich, which comes with marinara and mozz, along with pickles and mayo.
Until recently, this Malaysian pop-up was operating solely via Instagram DM, releasing their menu only once every two weeks. But now Kedai has a residency at Superkhana in Logan Square, with a new menu being dropped every Tuesday at 12pm for pick up (or delivery) the following Monday. Meals include a main and dessert, which means one week it might be kam heong chicken with a pandan swiss roll, and the next bak kut teh with khuih bahulu. Check out their Instagram for updates and order via Tock.
Cocoa Chili is a brand new carryout and delivery-only restaurant in East Garfield Park. They focus on Afro-Caribbean soul food, and you’ll find dishes like jerk chicken, Sengalese poulet yassa, and a bowl of their (yes) cocoa chili. Another cool thing about this place (besides the food) is that for $5 you can also order a meal for the Love Fridge, an organization that provides free food for those in need.
Chin Up Buttercup
We love the warm chocolate chip cookies at Scofflaw in Logan Square, so we were excited to hear about Chin Up Buttercup, Scofflaw’s comfort food pop-up. At Chin Up Buttercup (no, not a super subtle name), comfort food means Swedish meatballs, cheesy baked rigatoni, and meatloaf. There might not be any cookies, but even better, there’s banana cream icebox cake and booze.
Like Chin Up Buttercup, Canteen is another Inception-esqe restaurant within a restaurant. It’s the delivery-only street-food spot spun out of Vajra, one of our favorite Indian restaurants in the city. But unlike an insufferable Christopher Nolan film, Canteen is a pleasure to experience. The menu has tasty snacks like paav bhaji and pan puri, along with a goat burger and drinks like Thums Up (an Indian cola) and Indian and Nepalese beer.
Saffron Street is another delivery-only Indian restaurant, operating out of a ghost kitchen in Humboldt Park. The menu is pretty short, focusing mainly on fun sandwiches (like pulled makhani chicken, dal on toast, and spinach grilled cheese on shokupan) and small plates like chaat and okra fries.
Dang Good Wings
One of our favorite things to eat at HaiSous in Pilsen is their whole wings in caramelized fish sauce. And now their sister restaurant Cà Phê Dá has launched Dang Good Wings, a carryout spot focusing solely on (you guessed it) wings. There are varieties like Saigonese BBQ, Thai chili buffalo, and our beloved fish sauce, and you can get them with fries that have toppings like cheese sauce and onions or salt, pepper, and chili. To order, call them at 773-999-1800.
Southern Twang is a new delivery-only spot in Humboldt Park, specializing in Southern food. They have a variety of egg rolls (like mac and cheese or lobster mac), great po’boys, and our favorite dish - the shrimp and cheese grits. The shrimp are coated in a garlic breading and the cheesy grits are thick with cheddar. Thrown into the mix are spicy andouille chicken sausage and caramelized peppers and onions. It’s like the food equivalent of a snowsuit, which is pretty exciting when it’s 8 degrees outside.
In case you need another great new Chinese restaurant to try (you do), order from 3 Little Pigs via Instagram. This virtual restaurant is based in Bridgeport, and you order by DM’ing their account, then find out day-of the pick-up location for your food, which will be somewhere in Chinatown. The menu is short, focusing on different preparations of pork. You can expect things like char siu ribs, pork-filled egg rolls, and fluffy fried rice made with Chinese sausage, ham, and bbq pork that’s some of the best fried rice we’ve ever had.
If you’ve ever eaten the excellent Mexican food at Mi Tocaya in Logan Square, you’ll be delighted to hear that one of their chefs started a beef and vegetarian birria pop-up. Birria Ta Ta Tacos has no set schedule or location, and you need to check their Instagram to see when and where the pop-up will be that week (but it’s almost always on a Sunday). Their quesotacos are wonderfully crispy and cheesy, and you should absolutely devote your weekend to tracking them down.
Delivery-only spot Tasting India is not about instant gratification - getting the Indian food from here requires a little planning. It’s a one-woman operation, and she’s making thali meals that highlight a different region of India each week. Menus are announced on Saturdays at 6pm on Instagram, and then you fill out your order form and wait for confirmation before receiving your meal the following Saturday between 11am-5pm. One week might be churpi, thukpa, and gundkruk from Sikkim, and another might have vadouvan seafood stew and other specialties from Puducherry, and everything will be packaged in little boxes and tins.
While we probably won’t attempt our own 15-course omakase any time soon, making handrolls feels both fun and manageable. Jinsei Motto, a delivery-only sushi spot on Tock makes this possible. Along with their regular menu of nigiri, sashimi, and maki, they also sell hand roll kits. Each pack costs $40 and comes with spicy tuna, spicy tako, spicy shrimp, salmon, avocado, cucumber, rice, and seaweed.
This brand new Peranakan spot is from the owners of Serai in Logan Square. Unlike Serai, which is casual and more of a carryout operation, Kapitan is located in Lincoln Park and designed to be a sit-down restaurant. But until indoor dining returns, they’re focusing on takeout and delivery, and are doing an excellent job. For example, the pie tee is packaged with the vegetable filling separately, keeping the pastry nice and crispy. Kapitan serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner all-day, with dishes like chee cheong fun, a whole roasted Hainanese chicken, and kuih that changes every week.
With a menu that changes every day (released on Instagram at 8am), Flour Power is guaranteed to break you out of your pasta rut - something we just made up, but are 100% certain exists. This carryout-only spot has a short menu of handmade pastas (available pre-made or as meal kits) and you’ll rarely see the same thing twice. From campanelle with nduja and tomato confit to cheddar-filled tortellini to casarecce with smoked sweet potato, whatever you get will be delicious.
When Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream opened in Bridgeport last summer, it focused on Sicilian-style slices sold out of a takeout window. And while they still sell those (along with, yes, fried chicken and ice cream), they recently pivoted to tavern-style pies. The crust is thin and crispy, slightly burnt around the edges, with toppings like pepperoni or sausage with giardiniera. There’s a rumor that they might be discontinuing the tavern-style, so order it while you can. In the meantime, we’ll be starting a petition to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Milly's Pizza In The Pan
Have you ever heard of Pequod’s? Just kidding, you have leftovers in your fridge right now. Milly’s is a great alternative if you love Pequod’s, but have eaten it so often that you know the perfect way to reheat those leftovers (10 seconds in the microwave followed by seven and a half minutes in a toaster oven). This online-only spot was inspired by Pequod’s and makes the same kind of pan-style deep dish with a caramelized crust. But what makes Milly’s different is that this pie has dollops of mozzarella, making it a bit cheesier than its predecessors. Oh, and you haven’t already eaten it 569 times.
Yes, there are a lot of sandwich shops out there. But consider ordering a hoagie from Hoagie Palace. This pop-up operates on Sundays (another place you order from on Instagram), offers different hoagies each week, and donates the profits to local organizations like Brave Space Alliance. Plus, their sandwiches happen to be really good, with fluffy bread and an ideal ratio of fillings.
Living in a city with brutal winters means experiencing the joy of eating something warm and cozy in a way that people with year-round sun will never know. Next time it’s 14 degrees outside, order from Bokuchan. This takeout-only spot specializes in Japanese curry, and the menu has things like tonkatsu kare, udon, and waffle fries topped with a curry aioli. Both the chicken and pork are incredibly juicy, the handmade noodles are wonderfully chewy, and the rich curry is better than any space heater.