AVONDALE — Organizers of the famed Christkindlmarket called off the weeks-long event and instead launched an online market due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But Chicagoans can still get the Christkindlmarket experience of bundling up, eating traditional German food and sipping a hot drink from one of the festival’s signature mugs — thanks to an Avondale restaurant.
German-style doner kebab spot DMen Tap is hosting a Christkindlmarket-themed pop-up starting Nov. 27. The market will run through Christmas Eve out of DMen Tap’s food truck in front of the restaurant at 2849 W. Belmont Ave.
Once the food truck is running, people will be able to walk up and grab hot cocoa, cider, bratwursts, schnitzel sandwiches, pretzels and raclette cheese sandwiches — food and drinks traditionally found at Christkindlmarket. Gluhwein, or mulled wine, will be available for carryout from the bar inside.
The DMen Tap crew will also sell Christkindlmarket mugs from past years, which have become a hot-ticket item. A photo backdrop will be set up so people can take photos with their mugs, also a tradition at Christkindlmarket.
With the pop-up, the owners of DMen Tap are looking to keep the holiday tradition alive and bring in revenue during the pandemic, which has restaurants and bars across Chicago struggling to survive.
“With everything going on with COVID-19 and the shutdowns, we are in a constant state of hustling and thinking of ways to bring in income that’s safe,” co-owner Shawn Podgurski said.
Podgurski said the DMen Tap crew has a personal attachment to the Christkindlmarket, as this would’ve been DMen Tap’s seventh year as a vendor there.
“We really care about the market and its history and its place in the city,” he said. “The fact that it’s not going to happen this year is kind of a bummer. I’ve gone there with my family for years.”
DMen Tap also might not be able to throw its annual Krampus celebration, during which the team decorates the bar, brings in a costumed Krampus and puts on Krampus-themed events. If the indoor dining ban is still in effect around Christmas, the event will be nixed, Podgurski said.
Podgurski said Krampus will “definitely make an appearance” at the pop-up whether the grand celebration happens or not.
DMen Tap started as a food truck called DönerMen. The owners opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant on Belmont Avenue in 2017.
Podgurski said he hopes the holiday pop-up resonates with neighbors so the restaurant can stick around for years to come.
“You gotta think outside of the box. We don’t want to turn into a pizza place just yet,” he said with a laugh.
The pop-up’s hours of operation will be posted on DMen Tap’s website and social media pages in the coming days.
Christkindlmarket’s online shop sells German ornaments, gifts, sweets and treats traditionally found at the market.
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