Lombard couple converts van to dining room to enjoy favorite restaurants

Cate Cauguiran Image
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Lombard couple dines in van to support local restaurants
A couple from Lombard has converted their van into a traveling dining room to support Illinois restaurants through takeout during the COVID pandemic.

LOMBARD, Ill. (WLS) -- Doug and Kim White settle down to all the comforts of sitting inside their favorite restaurants. There's table settings, some ambiance, and good company.

Since October, the couple from Lombard has been "dining out" in their converted transit van, transformed into a personal dining room for two.

With restaurants shuttered to indoor dining due to COVID-19 and struggling to survive, a Lombard couple converted their van into a mobile dining room to best enjoy their favorite s

"You can get the take-out. It puts it in a little box, and you bring it home, you're eating out of the box, where's the spirit in that?" Kim White said.

RELATED: Chicago restaurants say indoor dining must reopen for them to survive winter during COVID-19 pandemic

The Whites had the idea while longing for some normalcy amid the pandemic, and looking for a way to help their favorite restaurants. They found a solution to fit both.

"The next day we went, bought this little table at Menards and put some folding chairs and carpet in there," Kim said.

"Total investment: Under $100," said Doug White.

RELATED: Restaurants scramble to winterize outdoor dining amid COVID-19 restrictions

In the last couple months the Whites have enjoyed nearly a dozen take-out meals in their van dining room, posting their adventures on social media to support their favorite establishments.

"Now it's not just food, it's a mission," Doug said.

Tuesday, the couple dined in front of Gatto's in Downers Grove, chosen for its support of the Ride Janie Ride Foundation, an organization that helped their family when Doug was diagnosed with cancer this summer.

RELATED: Chicago restaurants want to see data proving they're causing COVID-19 cases surge

"When you get a diagnosis like we've had this year, there's an urgency for joy," Kim said. "I'm going to find the joy as much as we can because you never really know, and that's the thing with this pandemic, you never really know."

And in finding their joy, the married couple of 26 years is spreading more joy to other.

"I certainly know how it feels to be a Kardashian now," Doug joked.