Friday Lunch at Hashrocket Chicago

Friday is a special day at Hashrocket.

Friday is our open source day. After spending the first half of the day working on regular client projects, Rocketeers spend the afternoon honing their skills by contributing to open source, working on side projects, brushing up on new languages, or working on company initiatives. The other very special part about Friday is lunch. We kick-off the open source afternoon by dining out together as a team. This is an important tradition, because we are divided across many separate project teams and there aren’t always as many opportunities for everyone to have a conversation together as we would like. This helps us stay connected to each other.

In Chicago our office is nearby the West Loop, known for its restaurants and cafes. This means that we have many delicious dining options. How to choose? If you’ve ever tried to get 9 people to

on anything, then you know it is no easy task. Some people want to go to the same place every time. Other people value the team lunch as an opportunity to try something new. The way we have resolved this decision-making challenge is through the institution of the Lunch Dictatorship.

We have established an order. Each week, the next person on the list is declared Lunch Dictator. They have full power to declare where lunch will be that week. They can even delegate the responsibility. What the dictator says, goes, and all must obey. Not a fan of a particular place? Not to worry, it will be your turn to dictate soon.

What makes a good lunch spot? First of all, it has to be able to comfortably accommodate all nine of us. There are some excellent eateries that just aren’t easy to dine at as a group. We tend not to return to those. Furthermore, we want something a little special. It shouldn’t be one of the same places we grab a cheap fast lunch from on the other days of the week. Since we all look forward to doing together, it should live up to that anticipation.

How does the dictatorship end up working out in practice? We go to a pretty good mix of regular favorites that provide us a consistent experience, with periodic injections of variety. But, I know you’re just waiting for me to get to the point. Where do we go? What do we like the best? Here’s the establishments we have frequented multiple times over the last year:

  • Kuma’s Corner – By far the most popular choice among Rocketeers, they’ve always welcomed our large party, provided delicious huge portions of food, and have a great beer list.

  • Ramen San – A relatively new addition to our rotation, they have big cafeteria sized tables and big bowls of delicious ramen.

  • Chicken and Farm Shop – The menu is pretty simple, chicken, but they do it well. Even better if you get it on a waffle. The only downside is that it doesn’t have a ton of options for the vegetarians among us.

  • 5411 Empanadas – There are some days when it is just hard to get out of the office. On those days, we order in. We have created a special spreadsheet to get our orders just right, and ensure everyone gets just want they want.

If you find yourself visiting Hashrocket Chicago and you’re looking for a good place to eat nearby, you won’t be disappointed.

This might seem like an awful lot of thought just about lunch! But, it is important that we sometimes step away from our desks and screens and spend some time together without thinking about code or clients. It’s a chance to have an interesting conversation with coworkers who otherwise sit in the distant lands on the far side of the office. One of the special things about Hashrocket is being a part of a team of smart, talented people who make each other better. Friday lunch is when we get to appreciate that.


Photo by Edward Franklin on Unsplash

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