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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Big Star Ends Meal Giveaway Citing Staff Safety, But West Town Bakery Will Take Over Giving Free Food To Laid-Off Workers

One Off Hospitality, the group that owns Big Star, is ceasing carryout services.

Laid-off restaurant workers pick up free meals from Big Star on March 27.
Jen Sabella/Block Club Chicago

WICKER PARK — Big Star is no longer giving away meals to laid-off restaurant workers and its parent restaurant group, One Off Hospitality, is no longer offering carryout.

The decision to end carryout — free and otherwise — was announced in a Facebook post Friday.

“As the severity of COVID-19 continues to escalate in Chicago, we must prioritize the health and safety of our staff and guests,” the post said.

In addition to Big Star, One Off Hospitality operates 11 other restaurants and bars across Chicago. 

As of Monday, carryout and delivery services are suspended at each business. That includes The Violet Hour’s popular cocktail kits.

Big Star began its Restaurant Workers Relief Program last week in partnership with The LEE Initiative, a national organization funding meals for laid-off restaurant workers in cities across the United States.

In lieu of Big Star’s closure, The LEE Initiative announced in an Instagram post it will instead partner with West Town Bakery, which is owned by The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group. 

Contact-free pickups for laid off restaurant workers will be available from 4-6:30 p.m. daily beginning Tuesday at West Town Bakery, 1916 W. Chicago Ave. 

The Fifty/50 group had already begun a meal giveaway program of its own at its Division Street sports bar, Fifty/50, funded in part by an anonymous Chicago tech CEO. 

This program is open to any person in need, whether you’re a furloughed worker or someone experiencing homelessness — no questions asked. These meals will be available for pickup from 4-6:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday at Fifty/50, 2047 W. Division St. 

The menus at both West Town Bakery and Fifty/50 will rotate daily. View the upcoming week’s menu online.   

RELATED: Laid Off? West Town Restaurant Group Giving Away Meals To Coronavirus-Impacted Workers In All Industries

In addition to Fifty/50, in Ukrainian Village, and West Town Bakery, in East Ukrainian Village, the group manages Roots Handmade Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave.

Learn more about the LEE Initiative make a donation on the organization’s website.

You can also support Big Star staffers by contributing to the One Off Employee Relief Fund.

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