Sep 11, 2023 - Food and Drink

Tips to score great deals and reduce food waste in Chicago

Frozen buns from La Patisserie P on Argyle in Uptown ($4.99). Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

Since the Too Good to Go app came to Chicago in 2021, I've been a regular scavenger for cheap bags of excess food from restaurants, bakeries, even gas stations.

How it works: The offerings change daily, even hourly, and feature places offering "surprise" bags of whatever they're trying to get rid of that day. You can sort by distance and select favorites.

Details: It's not a science, per se, but I've figured out a few ways to score some great deals. Here are some of my tips:

1. Explore new cuisines

Sponge cake in brown wrapper, next to sesame cookie on green plate.
Sponge cake and sesame cookie from La Patisserie P. Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

Chicago neighborhoods are ethnic and cultural centers so I use the app to try places unique to that area, like La Patisserie P in Asia on Argyle.

2. Don't hesitate!

Screenshot of an app.
You snooze, you lose. Missed by two minutes. Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

If a restaurant you've been excited to try pops up on the app and there's only one bag left, do not call your husband to see if you can make it to Logan Square by 4:30pm.

  • You will lose the last bag! Hypothetically speaking, of course.

3. Get a quick bite

Smoothie, bag of carrots, cheese stick and other snacks in a brown paper bag.
The items were close to the expiration date but all still good. Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

After a morning of errands, I needed a snack but was short on time. Enter TGTG Circle K!

  • For $3.99 I got cheese sticks, carrots, a smoothie, and more.

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