Food

Couple turn old van into dining room so they don’t have to give up visiting their favorite restaurants

January 5th, 2021

Doug and Kim White miss indoor dining like so many of us. COVID-19 has halted so many things in our daily lives and unfortunately, restaurants have taken a big hit from this. The Whites don’t want to see any more of their local restaurants close so they came up with a solution: to build a table for themselves in the back of their van so that they can enjoy some of the pleasures of indoor dining.

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YouTube - ABC 7 Chicago Source: YouTube - ABC 7 Chicago

All they have to do is park in front of the restaurant and the employees of the restaurant are more than happy to bring them their meals to their car on real plates instead of take-out containers. The servers and cooks alike are just as excited as the couple is because most of them haven’t served food on an actual plate in months, usually only serving the food in boxes and bags. Kim explains that,

“You can get the take-out and bring it home but there’s no spirit in that.”

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YouTube - ABC 7 Chicago Source: YouTube - ABC 7 Chicago

Unfortunately, Doug was diagnosed with cancer this year. In June he was in pain thinking that he was passing a kidney stone but when they went to the hospital, they were informed that it was indeed cancer. He is near the end of his treatment now but Kim said,

”When you get a diagnosis like we had this year, there is an urgency for joy. I am going to find the joy as much as we can.”

Turning the van into a miniature and mobile dining room cost them less than $100 says Doug. During a time of trending van and bus renovations, this is probably the most simple and cost-effective one that you will see. All the Whites bought was a table, a carpet, some folding chairs and a few decorations. Such a simple solution to the problem that they wanted to solve.

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YouTube - ABC 7 Chicago Source: YouTube - ABC 7 Chicago

Kim mentioned that from the very beginning of their relationship, Doug has always loved to go out to eat and now that the pandemic has halted that luxury, eating in the back of their van is their temporary substitute. The couple has been married for 26 years and they’re still managing to keep the relationship fresh! Kim said,

”Eating out for us is that little teeny tiny bit of normalcy.”

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YouTube - ABC 7 Chicago Source: YouTube - ABC 7 Chicago

Doug and Kim started this new adventure in October and have visited almost a dozen restaurants already. To further support their favorite restaurants, the Whites post about their dining experiences on their social media accounts to spread awareness that local restaurants are in danger of closing.

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Instagram - van_dining Source: Instagram - van_dining

Doug used to work in the food industry as a bartender so he understands the struggles of restaurants trying their best to stay in business. Building the mini dining room in their van was his own way of helping them but also a way to keep the joy in it for himself. When indoor dining was taken away again in the fall it was another big let down so instead of waiting around for them to allow indoor dining again, the couple decided to take matters into their own hands. As a couple, dining out is a passion of theirs and now they will not let anything else stand in their way!

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Source: YouTube

Chicago Tribune

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