COVID-19: Restaurant community rallies to help support laid off workers

Midday News
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Paul Kahan, Chef and Partner – One Off Hospitality


  • Beginning on Tuesday, March 24th, Big Star Wicker Park (1531 N  Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL) will transform into an ongoing headquarters for The Restaurant Workers Relief program, helping hospitality workers in need. 
  • The Restaurant Workers Relief program provides to-go dinners & grocery bags to unemployed hospitality workers**
    • **The program is open to bar, restaurant, hotel, etc. workers recently laid off due to COVID-19 closures.
    • Dinners will be offered on a first-come/first-serve basis, limiting one per person with strict social distancing guidelines in place for pick-up.
    • Everyone must show proper ID and have some identifying paperwork to prove recent employment at a restaurant (ie: a paystub will suffice in most cases.)
  • The Restaurant Workers Relief program will be offered seven nights a week until otherwise notified, pick up time is 5 pm to 7 pm nightly.

How You Can Help:

  • Donations to the LEE Initiative are welcome and will help extend this service throughout the current public health crisis. All donations should be directed to  
  • Additionally if anyone would like to donate goods or products like diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, One Off Hospitality welcome donations via Amazon. These can be sent directly to Big Star Wicker Park, 1531 N  Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622. 
    • One Off Hospitality will not be accepting in-person drop-offs from individuals as an effort to comply with the current shelter in place restrictions.


*Another Restaurant Group’s Efforts To Help*

The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group offering 400 free meals a day to all furloughed and laid off workers starting Wednesday
No contact pick-ups of pre-packaged meals will be available from 4pm to 6:30pm Tuesdays thru Sundays at The Fifty/50 (2047 W Division) in Wicker Park

Any furloughed or laid off worker – from restaurants, hotels, salons, retail, etc. – are welcome to a free meal, and nobody in need will be turned away. Pickups will be available from 4pm to 6:30pm Tuesdays thru Sundays at The Fifty/50 sports bar at 2047 W. Division St. in Wicker Park starting this Wednesday (March 25).


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