Chicago Eats: Epic Kitchens | chicago foodie girl


Chicago Eats: Epic Kitchens

One of the most interesting and enterprising trends in the dining scene to come out of this trying time is the explosion of ghost kitchens. While the concept isn't completely new, ghost kitchens have really found their place in Chicago over the last six months as stay-at-home orders and heavy dining restrictions pushed restaurants to get creative with how they handle delivery and takeout orders. In essence, ghost kitchens allow restaurants to operate in a shared space without direct customer interaction – there's no dining room, waitstaff, or cashiers. Rather, there's a contactless customer model in which restaurants focus on delivery and takeout only, typically through apps such as DoorDash and UberEats. Restaurants can save money by operating in a limited capacity, and customers benefit from the model as they can access food from a variety of restaurants in one order. 

In Chicago, we've seen various ghost kitchens enter the scene, including the super-popular Epic Kitchens (one of my personal favorites!). Epic Kitchens hosts several restaurants that are new to the Chicago scene, along with a few that had previously closed their standalone locations and left the city, but came back into the market with the opening of the ghost kitchen. As of now, Epic Kitchens is home to eight unique restaurants, including FreshBeets, Pokeworks, Butterfry Kitchen, and 800 Degrees.

Freshbeets offers a variety of healthy bowls and salads, including Mario's favorite, the Forbidden Curry Bowl (Forbidden black and brown rice medley, caramelized shallots, roasted broccoli, roasted yam, Thai basil, yellow curry, and roasted chicken) and my favorite, the Korean Noodle Bowl (sweet potato noodles, roasted broccoli, pickled carrots, and grilled North Atlantic salmon).

Pokeworks offers a variety of high-quality Hawaiian-inspired poke bowls, including numerous signature bowls, as well as build-your-own options. My current favorites are the Spicy Ahi Bowl (Ahi tuna, cucumber, sweet onion, edamame, sriracha aioli, masago, green onion, sesame seeds, onion crisps, and shredded nori) and the Yuzu Ponzu Salmon Bowl (Atlantic salmon, cucumber, sweet onion, pineapple, cilantro, ponzu fresh sauce, seaweed salad, green onion, sesame seeds, and onion crisps).

Butterfry Kitchen offers American classics with an international spin, including the super-popular Hot & Crispy Fried Chicken Sandwich (jalapeƱo bacon jam, comeback sauce, slaw, and pickles) and the Kale Caesar Salad (shredded lacinato kale, baby romaine, Caesar dressing, honey crisp apple, house croutons, and Parmigiano Reggiano).

800 Degrees offers a diverse menu of signature fire-roasted pizzas, salads, bowls, and sandwiches, including the Verde Pizza (pine nut-basil pesto, fresh mozzarella, and aged Parmigiano) and the Chicago-inspired Sausage & Peppers Pizza (Peppadew peppers, Molinari sausage, and caramelized onions). 

You can try all of this deliciousness and more via Epic Kitchens (click individual links to order).

ETA: Freshbeets has closed.

Disclosure: I received compensation to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own.

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