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10 North Side Chicago Businesses That Are Giving Back

As we near the end of a difficult and unprecedented year, it’s no surprise that local businesses are banding together to give back to the community.

Chicago’s ceaseless resilience becomes self-evident as we approach the holiday season.

As we near the end of a difficult and unprecedented year, it’s no surprise that local businesses are banding together to give back to the community. By donating proceeds to local non-profit organizations, altering everyday operations to adjust for the needs of the many, and redistributing food to the most vulnerable, Chicago citizens continuously look out for one another. From restaurants to retailers, here are ten North Side Chicago businesses that are giving back.

The Chopping Block

For years, The Chopping Block has been dedicated to providing culinary education to the public through cooking classes, but with the onset of COVID-19, certain practices required a change. Now, The Chopping Block is offering online courses so that you can still learn from the pros while safe at home. As well, The Chopping Block has a long reputation of raising funds for many Chicago area non-profit organizations, including the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and North Side Housing and Supportive Services. Throughout August, money raised from classes at The Chopping Block was specifically designated to support Green City Market and Common Threads. Green City Market is a sustainable, year-round farmers’ market that aims to provide fresh, bright ingredients to Chicago area chefs and connect local farmers with restaurants to bolster sustainable practices. Common Threads is also devoted to nutrition education, connecting families nationwide with resources regarding affordable and nutritious foods in their neighborhoods that the entire family will love.

KOVAL Distillery

Earlier in 2020, American stockpiles of personal sanitizing products were completely decimated. Entering stores, you’d see rows of empty shelves where ordinarily you’d find sanitizer wipes, sprays, or hand sanitizing gels. Understanding the weight of everything that was at stake at the start of the pandemic, KOVAL Distillery swiftly ceased ordinary operations in exchange for a different type of distilling. Typically renowned for their craft spirits, whiskey, and liquors, KOVAL Distillery switched gears to create hand sanitizer that meet FDA requirements to help combat COVID-19. Since beginning their initiative to supply Chicagoans with hand sanitizer, they have donated over 3,500 gallons to first responders such as local hospital employees, firefighters, and police officers, as well as non-profit organizations to redistribute elsewhere. In the meantime, if you’re hoping to restock on their traditional products, KOVAL Distillery offers online ordering and contactless store pickup. 
Credit: Zomato

Frontera Grill

River North’s stylish Frontera Grill has long been acclaimed for its masterful flavor profiles and bright ingredients. This upscale Mexican restaurant offers everything from corn masa quesadillas to ceviche, and in the city’s time of need, they’re giving back to the community the best way they know-how—by working to bolster the food industry. By partnering with US Foods, Frontera Grill’s frontman Rick Bayless has created new opportunities on Chicago’s North Side for displaced workers. Frontera Grill is paying laid-off workers to sort groceries, which are then distributed to restaurants throughout the city to supply fresh ingredients to food industry employees who have been affected by mandatory dine-in shutdowns.

Luxury is no stranger to The Peninsula Hotel. This chic, 5-star hotel is beloved for its stellar accommodations and exemplary hospitality, but they also recognize their responsibility to this city—which is why they are finding unique ways to bolster the community. Throughout 2020, The Peninsula Hotel is offering a limited edition “We Meet Again” package, which has plenty of post-quarantine perks such as a second night or second room at 50% off the room rate, flexible 24-hour check-in and check-out, and the opportunity to help restore Chicago to its former glory by offering a special volunteer outing. For an afternoon, residents can go on this Peninsula Hotel-sponsored trip to the Lakeview Food Pantry to show their love for our stunning community. As well, for every meal purchased at their restaurants Shanghai Terrace and The Lobby, The Peninsula Hotel will be making a one-for-one meal donation to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Baker Miller

You’ve grown to love Baker Miller’s vibrant ingredients and bold flavors—but this year, like many Chicago restaurants, their typical services took a tailspin. Luckily, Baker Miller has continued to make its spectacular meals available for pickup or to-go from one of their pop-up locations. However, this isn’t the only way that Baker Miller has exemplified Chicagoan resilience and heart for the people. This Ravenswood bakery also donates hearty, filling meals to organizations such as Breakthrough, which helps redistribute food to vulnerable citizens and impacted first responders. You’ll love Baker Miller’s dedication to wholesome ingredients, including their own milled flour and menu of simple yet extraordinary dishes. Plus, you can feel good knowing you’re nourishing your body and your community when you eat at Baker Miller.
Although we may not be hiding out in our favorite bars anytime soon, The Hideout continues its tradition of providing a home base for the community throughout 2020. Previously, The Hideout offered a weekly free community meal known as Soup & Bread. By working together with local chefs, musicians, artists, and catering companies, The Hideout encourages local culinary lovers to donate pots of soup and share these meals with the community free of charge. Due to social distancing limitations, Soup & Bread has been put on standby for the time being. However, The Hideout has found new ways to support North Side Chicago. By donating food products and warm meals to food pantries throughout the city, The Hideout continues to give back to the community. If you’d like to support the Soup & Bread spirit, an online merchandise store has products available for purchase, with proceeds directly benefiting their charitable cause. 
Credit: Eater Chicago
If you’ve got a sweet tooth and a penchant for social justice, head to XO Marshmallows,  Chicago’s premier marshmallow café that crafts confections unlike any you’ll find in the city. Amidst racial tensions this summer, XO Marshmallow created the “Difficult Conversations” marshmallow, a sweet treat to start a heartfelt conversation with someone about race and privilege. Proceeds from this limited edition marshmallow were donated to Black Girl Ventures, an organization that bolsters Black women entrepreneurs by providing tools for success.
In Old Town, Happy Camper Pizza is a renowned, down-to-earth hipster haven often filled to the brim with flannels and fromage. Their menu is delightfully cheese-laden, and despite 2020’s challenges, nothing can change that. True to its optimistic name, Happy Camper has committed to be a positive beacon during this year’s hardships. This pizza company has been collecting personal protective gear by incentivizing customers with 50% off their order with a donation. Happy Camper is gathering protective equipment to donate to local hospitals and is working alongside the Anthony Rizzo Association to donate pizzas to local hospital workers.
Small apparel shops recognize Assembly Creators Market as a leader in curating and cultivating local shopping. As small businesses struggled due to pandemic-related shutdowns this year, Assembly Creators Market owner Reyes Witt continued to bolster local shops with the Sewn Together Chicago initiative. This dual-purpose project works on two fronts: first, to provide personal protective equipment to Chicagoans and secondly, to provide work for designers. By creating full-coverage face masks, designers are given work opportunities while residents can wear locally-created protective gear. Through Sewn Together Chicago, 70% of each sale goes directly back to the designer who created the mask.
Credit: The Daily Northwestern
It’s no secret that with the influx of digital publishing, the mass overtaking of online retailers and megacorporations, and a surplus of alternative forms of entertainment, independent bookstores have had to fight tooth and nail to keep their businesses running lately. However, Bookends & Beginnings understands that bookstores are more than simply a place to pick up the latest bestseller or trade paperback—bookstores foster community. That’s why 10% of every purchase is redirected to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC) to support booksellers nationwide. BINC provides grants to independent bookstores across the country, and every penny helps passionate, indie booksellers stay on their feet.
North Side Chicago gives back to the community in a myriad of ways—from volunteering time at a shelter, to engaging the community with a pop-up soup kitchen, and hand-sewing masks. Our ingenuity and creativity are unmatched, which is why so many people from all walks of life are drawn to this unique community. If you’re interested in learning more about Chicago luxury real estate, don’t hesitate to contact The Ballis Group for more information. We’d love to help you find a piece of Lakeview Chicago real estate that feels like home.

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