As Chicago emerges from lockdown and Time In flips back to Time Out, we're taking a moment to look back and thank the people who made our homebound lives bearable over the past three months. Hundreds of Chicagoans voted in the Time In Awards and celebrated local heroes in categories like Most Wanted Takeout Deal, Most Lovable Quarantine Critter and Best Netflix Alternative.
We've tallied the votes and determined the winners—you can read all about them below. A socially distanced cheers is in order for all of our amazing nominees, from the chefs and bartenders to the mask makers and sea otters. We'll never forget the fact that you went the extra mile during an incredibly uncertain time. And now, without further ado, meet the winners of the Time In Awards.
FOOD & DRINK HEROES
FAVORITE RESTAURANT REINVENTION: STEPHANIE IZARD’S GIRL & THE GOAT-CERIES
Award-winning chef and restaurateur Stephanie Izard opened her personal pantry to local diners with a virtual grocery store as well as thoughtful meal kits that allow amateur chefs to cook like the G.O.A.T.
Nominees: Bar Biscay's Bodega Biscay, Debonair Social Club's Disco Bodega, Luella's Southern Kitchen's Baye's Little Bakery, El Che Steakhouse's El Che Meat & Provisions
MOST WANTED TAKEOUT DEAL: WEINER'S CIRCLE'S SIDE OF CURBSIDE ABUSE
During lockdown, the iconic Lincoln Park hot dog stand launched takeout on Tock, peddling its char cheddar dogs and double cheeseburgers for pickup, with the option to add an "extra side of curbside abuse" so that fans can get chewed out from 6 feet away.
Nominees: Alinea's 15th anniversary dinner, Happy Camper's Ice Baby, Brown Sugar Bakery's Mother's Day cakes, The Loyalist's Dirty Burg Meal
RISING INSTAGRAM COOKING STAR: BRIAN JUPITER
It didn't take long for chef Brian Jupiter (Ina Mae Tavern, Frontier) to become a standout personality with his virtual cooking classes hosted on Instagram Live, including a #GirlDad Brunch with his daughter as well as a dedicated tutorial on his fan-favorite Nashville chicken po' boys.
Nominees: Jonathan Zaragoza (Birrieria Zaragoza), Grant Achatz (Alinea), Carlos Gaytan (Tzuco), Zoe Schor (Split-Rail)
BEST LOCAL MASK MAKER: THREADLESS
Chicago-based T-shirt manufacturer Threadless has us looking good and staying safe with its line of two-ply polyester face masks sporting fun graphics from local designers like Lauren Asta, Shawnimals and Jay Ryan. It doesn't hurt that a portion of the proceeds from each mask sale is donated to MedShare.
Nominees: Stock Mfg., Pride Masks, Dearborn Denim, Chicago Midwestmade
ALL-STAR FRONTLINE FEEDER: THE FIFTY/50 RESTAURANT GROUP
When restaurant workers throughout the city were furloughed and laid off, The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group stepped up with free meals—more than 80,000 of them to be exact—thanks to help from an anonymous tech CEO, the LEE Initiative, chef Lamar Moore and others.
Nominees: Virtue, Mini Mott + Mott St., Wherewithall, Vanille
BEST GRASSROOTS SUPPORT SYSTEM: BLACK-OWNED RESTAURANT RELIEF FUND
Back in June, Black People Eats founder Jeremy Joyce started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $20,000 to help reopen Black-owned restaurants throughout the city. Unsurprisingly, the fundraiser blew past its original goal and brought in more than $75,000, giving financial support to 54 local eateries.
Nominees: Cocktails For Hope, Comp Tab Relief Fund, Barrel Maker Printing, Virtual Boozy Brunch, Chicago Independent Media Alliance
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT SAVIORS
BEST NETFLIX ALTERNATIVE: MILLENNIUM PARK CONCERT ARCHIVES
The Millennium Park Summer Music Series is taking the year off, but the city indulged us with a treasure trove of past performances hosted on the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events' YouTube channel so that we can relive those hot, sticky nights in the park.
Nominees: Virtual Cinema with the Music Box, Film Center from your Sofa (Gene Siskel Film Center), The Neo-Futurist Theater’s “The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral," Goodman Theatre’s “2066”
MUST-WATCH LIVE STREAM: SHEDD AQUARIUM'S FISH LIVE STREAM
Apparently, we weren't the only ones who turned to the aquarium's virtual "Underwater Beauty" exhibit for respite during lockdown. The relaxing live stream offers mesmerizing view of angelfishes, wrasses, tangs and butterflyfishes making their way through the water.
Nominees: Cole’s Virtual Comedy Open Mic, Body Sundays at the Promontory, Hideout Online, The Quarantine Concerts
COOLEST VIRTUAL EXHIBIT: EL GRECO AT THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO
One of the year's most highly anticipated exhibits went virtual with curator-led video and audio tours as well as up-close-and-personal looks at El Greco's most iconic works.
Nominees: Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago (Museum of Contemporary Art), Roger Brown Estate, Hyperframe (Kavi Gupta), Context 2020 (Filter Photo), The Allure of Matter (Smart Museum of Art and Wrightwood 659)
MOST LOVABLE QUARANTINE CRITTER: WELLINGTON THE PENGUIN
The Shedd Aquarium put a smile on Chicagoans' faces with several viral videos of resident penguin Wellington exploring the institution's most notable exhibits while all of the tourists were quarantining.
Nominees: Yaku the sea otter (Shedd Aquarium), Ozu the Japanese macaque (Lincoln Park Zoo), Sasha the leopard cub (Brookfield Zoo), Kashyyyk the African Painted Dog (Brookfield Zoo)
ULTIMATE CHEERER-UPPER: MEMES OF MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT
Early in quarantine, Instagram account @whereslightfoot gained a massive following for its hilarious memes of Mayor Lori Lightfoot standing solemn guard over various local landmarks like the Lakefront Trail. Though they offer social commentary on the state of the city, the memes also provided welcome respite admit an otherwise nerve-wracking period.
Nominees: Jim Bachor’s pothole mosaics, The Art Institute’s masked-up lions, CH Distillery’s Malort sanitizer, Oprah’s commencement speech for CPS
BEST ILLUSTRATION OF LIFE THESE DAYS: LAURA GOMEZ
Graphic designer and illustrator Laura Gomez drew what many of us were feeling during lockdown, including relatable cartoons of cutting your hair at home, baking banana bread and binge-watching Tiger King.
Nominees: Ryan Duggan, Ray Kelly, EvanArt, Sentrock
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