Arlington Heights restaurant faces challenge of opening during pandemic

Even when the state's stay-at-home order is lifted, some restaurants fear they might have to close for good because of the financial impact of COVID-19.

But in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, there's at least one new restaurant that decided to open its doors — if only for curbside pickup.

Scratchboard Kitchen, 5 W. Campbell St. in downtown Arlington Heights, stuck to its original timeline of an April launch when it began taking online orders last weekend.

“This is a time when everybody needs a little bit of comfort and joy, and they certainly need nourishment,” said owner Danielle Kuhn.

While patrons can't yet dine inside the 61-seat brunch spot, they can order ahead at from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

The carryout menu represents about half what Scratchboard will offer when it begins full operations.

Offerings include the Biscuit Sandwich (with maple-glazed pork belly, egg and pimiento cheese), the Shakshouka Grilled Cheese and Market Grain Bowl — items that travel well, said Grace Goudie, the executive chef.

The restaurant has already made some 300 meals that were dropped off at Northwest Community Hospital, St. Alexius Medical Center, PADS and Catholic Charities.

“As a team, we learned quickly we are all problem solvers and very adaptable,” Kuhn said. “We are taking this day-by-day and week-by-week. Our goal and dream is to open for full service. We want to see people gathered around this table and see them enjoying the incredible food Chef (Goudie) has been creating.”

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The Shakshouka Grilled Cheese - with Hooks aged cheddar, Nordic Creamery Grumpy Goat Cheese, Shakshouka jam and Gunthorp Farms duck confit - is one of the items on the carryout menu of Scratchboard Kitchen in Arlington Heights. Courtesy of Scratchboard Kitchen
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