A Squared: Lunch in the Loop: Your Turn to Try the Ritual App!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Lunch in the Loop: Your Turn to Try the Ritual App!

By now it's no secret to you readers that one of my biggest gripes about working in the Chicago Loop is the lack of quality options for lunch. A few fast casual gems have popped up over the past few years, but they are few and far between the plethora of greasy fast food burger joints and sit down steak, seafood, and Italian spots that are better suited for a meeting with clients than a quick lunch break. Well, the Ritual app is aiming to change the lunch game in the Loop-- and so far, so good!

Here's how Ritual works: Search the app for whatever you're in the mood to eat today. Soup? Falafel? Sushi? Type it in and find all the participating restaurants in your area with an item matching that description on their menu. If time is of the essence, you can also search by location and find the closest participating restaurants, ensuring you can eat as quickly as possible. Peruse the restaurant's menu, select your items, and place your order.

Once your order is placed, Ritual automatically calculates the estimated time it will take to prep your order and then-- based on your location-- they calculate exactly when you should leave to pick up your food so you arrive when it's fresh and ready.

I have to say that not only does Ritual make ordering and picking up lunch a breeze, but it's also been a great way for me to instantly satiate a lunchtime pregnancy craving! One day, for instance, I was dying for a grilled cheese sandwich. I typed it into the app and there was the perfect sandwich over at Sidebar, one of my favorite sit down spots in the Loop and one I had never thought of trying as a takeout option. Sidebar's grilled cheese sandwich begins with two slices of Texas Toast and is filled with tons of cheese, avocado, and tomato. And of course, I paired it with the Midwest's favorite side dish: tater tots! This was the perfect comfort food lunch.

And one day I was in the mood for a little bit of a walk-- and to try something new to me. So, I ordered a Buffalo Chicken Wrap and sweet potato fries from Lyfe Kitchen in River North. Lyfe Kitchen is Chef Art Smith's healthy fast casual concept and a super popular lunch spot here in Chicago. My wrap was spicy and super filling with tons of chicken, corn, and black beans in the filling. And the baked (not fried) sweet potato fries were addictive!

And on another day I was dying for a hearty salad for lunch. A quick Ritual search showed me a Thai Chicken Salad with edamame and crispy wontons with an awesome peanut dressing just down the street at Randolph Tavern. Like Sidebar, Randolph Tavern is a casual sit down restaurant in the Loop that draws a big lunchtime crowd. Randolph Tavern was packed with March Madness viewers when I showed up, but my lunch was ready and waiting behind the host's stand!

So, are you ready to try the Ritual app for yourself? It's available exclusively in Toronto and Chicago right now-- and by invitation only. Lucky for you, I'm inviting you to give it a try! Just download the app to your smartphone and use code ANNE7716 when you sign up. Not only will that code get you in, but it will also give you $10 to use toward your first Ritual order!


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