Win a J.A. Henckels 15-Piece Knife Block Set! →

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely put a major strain on the hospitality industry. Many restaurants and bars have seen long periods of closure as social distancing has been the only way of staying safe and keeping case numbers down. Of course, in order to survive, many restaurants have turned to alternative options in order to make money. While some have gone the outdoor dining route, there have been many others that are relying on services such as providing curbside pickup or delivery.

Many of us are probably doing our part to support our favorite local restaurants during these tough times. Personally, I’ve got my favorite Vietnamese and Mexican restaurants on speed dial at this point. And like many of us, there is one couple from Illinois who has been doing their part to safely support their local restaurants. But unlike the rest of us who probably eat our takeaways in our homes, this couple has also found a creative way to still enjoy the restaurant experience.

Posted by Van Dining on Wednesday, December 16, 2020

When the pandemic’s second wave hit Lombard, Illinois, indoor dining once again was shut down in October. That is when Doug White mentioned in passing to his wife, Kim, how awesome it would be if they had an RV as this would allow them to drive around and enjoy a restaurant vibe as RVs have a built-in dining table.

The couple had often enjoyed going out to meals together before the COVID-19 pandemic. As Kim explained to the Chicago Tribune eating out together was “Doug’s love language.” But after Doug mentioned the RV bit to Kim, she was suddenly struck with some inspiration.

Posted by Van Dining on Sunday, December 20, 2020

While it’s not an RV, the result of her creativity is still very functional. Kim decided to create a little mobile restaurant using her transit van. The back of the van has quite the romantic vibe as it now is outfitted with fairy lights, a small table with red-and-white checkered table cloth, and two chairs. Not only is it romantic, but it’s also budget-friendly too, as the makeover cost less than $100.

2020 has been particularly rough for the Whites since Doug received a Stage IV colon cancer diagnosis back in June. That is why, amid the pandemic, the couple are determined to seek out any small bit of joy that they can together.

Kim’s renovation to the van is perfect as it still allows them the freedom to eat out at all their favorite places in Lombard and surrounding neighborhoods, while still being socially distant and safe. The couple also brings their own utensils and plates with them so that they don’t have to eat their food straight out of the takeout containers. Sometimes, there are even some restaurants that will plate up the food for the couple and bring it to them at the back of their van.

Well, I did it! I created a FB page to post all of our Van Dining experiences in one place.

Posted by Van Dining on Friday, December 4, 2020

Doug shared with Living Local Lombard that they will always “over-tip” as a way of doing their part to help the places they enjoy “stick around.” Doug and Kim have even set up a Facebook page called Van Dining, as well as an Instagram, in order to promote their creative dining. They’re hoping to inspire others to help support local eateries as well. Through their social media, Doug and Kim encourage eatery suggestions as well as names of restaurants that need support. While they might be gaining popularity on social media for their Van Dining, the two of them still remain grounded and don’t ask for any influencer discounts or free meals. They are simply doing what they love to do and carving out time with each other. And that is just so sweet.

Van Dining #8 https://www.facebook.com/RosemaryandJeansWhat can I say about Rosemary and Jeans? Old school classic…

Posted by Van Dining on Saturday, December 5, 2020

What do you think about their mobile restaurant experience? Would you do something similar? Let us know!