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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Big Star Wicker Park Giving Away Hundreds Of Meals To Laid-Off Chicago Restaurant And Bar Workers

Until the quarantine period ends, or for as long as supplies last, Big Star will prepare 250 to-go dinners and bags of groceries on a nightly basis, seven days a week.

Big Star, during warmer and non-quarantined times.
Alisa Hauser/Block Club Chicago
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WICKER PARK — A Chicago restaurant group is going to begin preparing free meals for laid off service industry workers.

The food giveaway will begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Big Star Wicker Park, 1531 N. Damen Ave.

After Tuesday, the beloved Wicker Park margarita and taco joint will become an “ongoing headquarters” for efforts to feed Chicago’s laid off workers, a spokeswoman said.

Until the quarantine period ends, or for as long as supplies last, Big Star will prepare 250 to-go dinners and bags of groceries on a nightly basis, seven days a week.

The dinners and groceries will be given away on a first-come first-served basis to recently unemployed restaurant workers. 

Recipients should bring with them proper ID and paperwork, such as a paystub, that proves they are a recent employee of a restaurant.

When workers arrive, they will see a queue outlined by cones set six feet apart.

The One Off Hospitality group, which owns Big Star, partnered with Chicago chef Paul Kahan and The LEE Initiative to make the meals possible.

Funded by Makers Mark and other partners, The LEE Initiative works to bring more diversity and equality to the restaurant industry.

In addition to Chicago, the organization is operating its Restaurant Workers Relief Program in Louisville, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Seattle, Cincinnati and New York City.

You can learn more about the LEE Initiative make a donation on the organization’s website. You can support Big Star directly by ordering food and cocktails to go, or contributing to the One Off Employee Relief Fund.

One Off Hospitality operates 11 other restaurants and bars across Chicago. 

In Wicker Park, locals will recognize The Violet Hour, a cocktail lounge, and restaurants Dove’s Luncheonette and Big Star.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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