OutbreakCoronavirus, COVID-19 and Chicago
By Jonah Nink | @RedLineProject | Posted: Monday, March 8, 2021
Dozens of restaurants and bars across Chicago have closed permanently as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The map represents only a handful of the Chicago restaurants closed during the pandemic.
According to Bloomberg, over 110,000 restaurants across the country have closed due to the pandemic. Nearly 90% of all full-service restaurants in the survey reported a decline in sales.
Closures were not specific to high-end lakeview taverns, or hole-in-the-wall burger joints. Restaurants of all types were among the pandemic’s many culinary causalities. Despite a surge in online ordering and curbside pickup across Chicago and the nation, no restaurant was safe from closure.
Along with their financial impacts on owners and employees, the loss of restaurants can have a negative impact on the diversity and breadth of Chicago’s food culture.
Among those closed was Rickshaw Republic, Chicago’s only Indonesian restaurant. Ay Ay Picante, an Albany Park favorite that specialized in Peruvian steak and seafood, closed its doors for good in August of last year. The restaurant regularly featured live Andean flute music and was even showcased on PBS Chicago’s Check Please.
Even the venerable Chicago hot dog is at risk due to the closure of beloved haunts like Downtown Dogs, Max’s Take Out and the Devil Dawgs's Lakeview location.
While things may be bleak, the National Restaurant Association expects sales to rise 11% in 2021 as cases lower and vaccines become more available. Chicago residents have already been allowed to expand indoor dining to 50% capacity.
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