Restaurants struggling amid COVID-19 restrictions whip up personalized Thanksgiving meal options

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Business is booming for the holiday for some. Those restaurants cashing in on orders hope it will help them survive.

The hospitality industry has been especially hit hard by the pandemic, but some spots are slammed with to-go orders as families choose to scale down their holiday celebrations.

From the city to the suburbs, restaurants are just happy to see a steady flow of customers this Thanksgiving.

Katie's Kitchen in Des Plaines is dishing out dozens of Thanksgiving meals.

"Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, mini pie," owner Katie Kautz lists off.

That is just a few of the delicious options over at the family-owned restaurant on Wolfe Road, which had more than 200 dinner orders.

"I know everyone is doing smaller gatherings, so we figure why not do dinners for two and then full dinners if they want leftovers," Kautz said.

As state health officials remind families not to gather, many are turning to chefs to do the cooking which has finally led to a spike in sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is a boost but it is also just helping us get through because business has been so slow," Kautz said.

Over in the Loop, Roanoke is seeing dozens of last-minute orders roll in.

The normally happening happy hour spot has been pretty slow while trying to focus on carryout orders.

"Nice to see the amount of traffic that we are getting," said Brian Garrish with Roanoke.

With the smaller gatherings, people are looking for smaller portions, so chefs have been whipping up the more personalized options.

"A lot of people are really downsizing this year because of the pandemic so we went to an individual turkey dinner," Garrish said.

The recently reinstated restrictions have pushed restaurants to find new ways to attract customers.

Roanoke decided to ship out their steaks and cocktail kits so people can enjoy the restaurant's food at home.

"It is for every budget,' Garrish said. "We have some high end and some economical steaks."

The main thing is asking Chicagoans to think local throughout the holiday season.

"Remember us because we are the ones that will be the first ones to go out," said Kautz.

Although restaurants saw that boost in business Thursday, they are reminding everyone to continue to eat locally. They also ask patrons to support those businesses through gift cards and take out options.
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