Indoor dining restrictions are finally easing, and there’s no doubt local Forest Park eateries have been clamoring to welcome guests back into their socially distant dining rooms. Even if you are not quite ready to dine inside, five Madison Street restaurants are serving up fare designed to warm your soul in the cold winter months whether you carry out or sit in a dining room chair. Nothing keeps folks more comfortable than cozy comfort foods.

Things are “souper” at Starship Restaurant, 7818 Madison St. 

Co-owners Paul McKenna and Henry Laskowski typically offer a flight of four soups as a January special for dine-in customers, but COVID-19 has made such dining opportunities elusive. Thankfully, Starship’s food makes for cozy carryout fare. In addition to out of this world subs and “stick to your ribs” daily specials like beer cheese and pulled chicken on a pretzel roll or an indulgent prime rib sandwich, the beloved sandwich shop still offers four warming soups daily. The shop also boasts a freezer full of 80 frozen house-made soups making Starship soup flights a breeze to create at home. 

A spin on tradition at Fatduck Tavern and Grill, 7218 Madison St.

Few things spark thoughts of winter faster than a homey pot roast dinner, and Fatduck Tavern and Grill is putting a spicy spin on tradition with a platter full of pot roast nachos. There’s nothing old-fashioned about the popular starter featuring warm tortilla chips piled high with braised beef and garnished with pickled jalapeno, pico de gallo, queso Chihuahua, sour cream and guacamole.

Dennis Miller, co-owner of Fatduck, is also proud of Chef Danny Sandoval’s array of hickory smoked meats and top-quality burgers. The popular duck fat burger features a comforting combination of imported brie cheese, applewood smoked bacon and house-pickled onions. No matter the dish you decide on, Fatduck’s quality ingredients are destined to curb any cold weather craving.

Savor a steak at Chirrion Mexican Grill, 7510 Madison St.

Family owned and fiercely COVID-compliant, Chirrion Mexican Grill, has been awaiting the news their diminutive dining room can reopen at limited capacity. Frank Garcia, co-owner of the well-appointed eatery known for serving gourmet tacos, is ready to make you feel like Chirrion is your second home.

Whether you order for carry out or take advantage of dine-in opportunities, be sure to check out the Carne Asada a la Tampiquena. The robust and warming plate is brimming with chargrilled premium outer Skirt Steak prepared to your desired doneness. The well-seasoned and tender steak is served with a cheese enchilada, rice, beans, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, and grilled scallions—a perfect dish to fill you up on a chilly evening.

Slurping noodles from Panda Café, 7600 Madison St.

A twisted nest of noodles floating in a savory broth provides an ideal winter warm up and Panda Café has you covered. The Forest Park restaurant offers an extensive menu of thoughtfully curated Chinese favorites like pot stickers, sesame chicken, and hot black pepper beef, but also offers an array of customizable noodle soups. Savory soups studded with fresh vegetables and meat comes with your choice of pho, egg, or ramen noodles. Served spicy or mild, the Szechuan beef noodle soup is more than suitable for slurping.

Cozy bar vibes at O’Sullivan’s Public House, 7244 Madison St.

Snag a basket of O’Sullivan’s wings in the barroom. No matter if you’re eating them on the heated patio or taking them to-go, the generously sized wings, served with a choice of sauce, are sure to be a warming precursor to the much-lauded Hugh burger or cheesesteak sandwich.

“We sell a lot of wings, but our menu is largely focused on hot sandwiches,” said Anthony Crawford, O’Sullivan’s general manager. “We take pride in serving comforting pub food designed to be enjoyed with a beer.”

O’Sullivan’s offers growlers of beer and cocktails available for pick up. Try out their premixed naked and famous,  Manhattan, old fashioned, or side car. Each bottled cocktail comes with proper garnishes and a QR code designed to take you to a video of Crawford sharing tips and techniques to serve the drinks properly.

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