You may know them for being voted Best Burger in Chicago, but Mini Mott and Mott St are now the face of a new community-support initiative called “Feed Our Frontlines.”
The program began with a meal drop-off to a local emergency room at the end of March, and with the help of social media and local neighborhood support, has grown into a program that has delivered over 700 meals to hospital workers at 14 hospitals in just over a week.
The idea was kicked off by restaurant partner Vicki Kim, who had a friend working at St. Mary & Elizabeth Medical Center. In mid-March, amidst the chaos and uncertainty of restaurants having to close their doors, the Mott St team quickly pivoted to a delivery and take-out format.
“We do what we do because it gives us joy to serve others and we love mobilizing the community.“Vicki Kim
“While processing what’s going on, we focused on our strengths and how we can best contribute during this time,” Kim said. “We have food inventory and staff, we know how to make food, and we know hospitality. We do what we do because it gives us joy to serve others and we love mobilizing the community.”
The first delivery was to a hospital staff of around 30 people and was shared on Mott St’s Instagram page. From there, the program gained momentum. The Mott St teamed received a lot of interest from the community wanting to support and contribute to the cause. A “Feed Our Frontlines” page was quickly set up on Mini Mott’s site to collect donations.
Donations start at $15 a meal, and every meal includes an option to write a note of appreciation to show support.
“We’ve received emails, text messages, and Instagram DMs from healthcare professionals thanking us and our donors for the meals,” Kim said. “It’s really a bright spot of encouragement in their day.”
“We’ve received emails, text messages, and Instagram DMs from healthcare professionals thanking us and our donors for the meals. It’s really a bright spot of encouragement in their day.“Vicki Kim
In as little as over a month, Mott St and Mini Mott (3057 W. Logan Blvd.) has delivered 700 meals to over 13 hospitals, with three or four hospital drop-offs a week.
The Mott Street team shares weekly updates on its Instagram page. The employees share highlights of meal preparation, notes of appreciation, and hospital deliveries.
“The biggest part of giving is that people want to feel a part of the process and to have transparency,” she said. “The program not only feeds Chicago’s healthcare professionals. It also helps keep hourly staff gainfully employed, and helps support the hyper-local economy.”
Since March, the team has had to edit their menu to maintain the quality while focusing on foods that carry well. Deliveries and pick-ups have been a big help to local businesses. However, ordering directly through restaurants instead of through third-party apps such as Caviar or GrubHub helps the most. Third-party delivery apps take a large cut of the restaurant’s orders (sometimes up to 30%), and also place more stress on restaurants. Multiple drivers means restaurant staff needing to sanitize to account for the high traffic of many drivers.
“Helping restaurants be sustainable within their own delivery system helps keep the number of bodies low so there is less contact overall,” Kim said. “Our delivery drivers know how to best care for our food, extend our hospitality, and help create a better experience for everyone’s safety.”
West Loop’s Mott St and Mini Mott’s in-house deliveries and pickup are available online.
Learn more about Feed Our Frontlines with live updates on Instagram and help show your support by donating meals.
Featured Photo: Vicki KIm