LOGAN SQUARE — After a month and a half of dormancy, Daisies is back.
The popular pasta restaurant at 2523 N. Milwaukee Ave. offered curbside pickup and delivery service after the dine-in ban went into effect, but it eventually shut that down. Now it’s back open but with changes: Besides takeout and delivery, customers will be able to get meal kits, and there will be a virtual market where Daisies will sell everything from fresh pasta to farm produce.
“This might be a new glimpse into what the future looks like,” owner Joe Frillman said. “I’ve always felt that restaurants have to have multiple lines of revenue. It can’t just be a dining room that depends on people showing up every day. .. Going forward, you’re going to have these hybrid, multi-faceted [restaurants.]”
Frillman said there was a “great response” when Daisies did pickup and delivery after the stay at home order started, but he decided to shut down the restaurant April 1 and take a step back.
“It was almost too busy. We were tired,” Frillman said, adding he wanted to see how things would play out. “Is this going to blow over or be a multiple-month-long thing? With the amount of revenue you lose, that you’re counting on, we wanted to stop, sit back and reevaluate.”
Now that period of evaluation is over and Frillman is ready for the restaurant’s next chapter as a restaurant-market “hybrid.”
Daisies’ new virtual market, which functions like an online farmers market, allows customers to buy the restaurant’s fresh pasta by the pound and jarred goods like its pasta sauce, ramp butter and jellies. There’s also a selection from local purveyors, including produce from Klug Farm, tinned fish from Preserved States and Green Circle’s whole chicken.
The products can be bought on their own or added to a pickup or delivery order.
Daisies is also partnering with Frillman Farms in suburban Prairie View on market boxes, which are available for pickup every Wednesday at Daisies. Frillman’s brother, Tim, runs the farm, which supplies all of the fresh produce at the restaurant.
“We’ve always wanted to have some sort of outlet for my brother to be able to sell some of his produce at the restaurant,” Frilman said.
In addition to the virtual market, Daisies will host small in-person markets with a few local food purveyors every Sunday, starting this week. The markets goes 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Only a handful of people will be allowed in at at a time, masks will be required and social distancing will be enforced.
“We’ve been hearing a lot more people saying Green City Market is closed, the Logan Square Farms Market is closed. That was a lot of revenue that people were counting on. We started having conversations with farmers we use, with my brother and other purveyors that have been affected by this, and they all had a desire to partner more,” Frillman said.
As for curbside pickup and delivery, Daisies is offering its signature pasta dishes like papperdelle with mushroom ragu, basil and parmesan and carbonara with Catalpa Farms bacon, farm egg and parmesan, as well as a few starters, including its onion dip with house-made chips.
Bottles of wine and beer, as well as Bloody Mary kits, can be added on to orders.
People who prefer to make Daisies dishes at home can do so by ordering the restaurant’s pasta meal kits. The kits, also available via pickup, cost $45 each and feed three to four people.
All orders can be picked up 4-8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The menu will be posted 5 p.m. Sundays. Customers can preorder throughout the week.
Since opening in June 2017, Daisies has become a neighborhood staple.
Frillman said he’s optimistic this model will get Daisies through the crisis, but he’s taking it “day by day.”
He was able to bring back five employees, but the restaurant had 30.
“We just got through paying off a lot of loans and we got to a point where we were just getting started, scratching the surface. Now we have to go back and take out a bunch more loans and start all over again, but that’s just life,” Frillman said.
“We’re very confident in keeping up with ways we can stay relevant and provide cool stuff.”
Frillman added his team is thrilled to serve the neighborhood again — “obviously we want to do it as safely as possible,” he said.
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