By Brittany Wiley
BAPA Business Liaison
Restaurants have been one of the hardest hit businesses during the pandemic. The people in this community, BAPA, the business associations and Ald. Matt O’Shea have been doing all they can to help support them. But what will happen when the weather turns cold?
Restaurants like Ken’s, Americanos, Open Outcry and Horse Thief Hollow have put so much energy and effort into their outdoor spaces to continue operating at a higher capacity through the summer months. Barney Callaghan’s created an outdoor patio and partnered with Swanson’s Deli to add food service. As the nights get cooler and outdoor dining is less available, some patrons will stop eating out altogether and some will want to head inside.
In Chicago, unlike the remainder of Illinois, eateries only allowed to operate at 25% capacity indoors, while the rest of the state is at 50% capacity. This is especially hard for our Beverly/Morgan Park restaurants, whose suburban competitors only blocks away are legally able to welcome more patrons.
What can we do? Eat out to help out. Continue to frequent these cornerstones of our community. Make reservations. Dine with your loved ones.
If you’re uncomfortable eating inside what can you do to help? Immediately we think: order takeout. But is that enough? The costs that local restaurants incurred building the outdoor dining spaces and changing the way they operate are high. Takeout orders generally bring in less revenue than dining in where people order beverages, appetizers or desserts. When you order takeout, add a growler of beer, a to-go cocktail or a bottle of wine. Skip the plastic silverware and napkins (you’re eating at home!) Make sure you add a tip, you’re still getting wait service. These places and the people who work there are counting on us.
Together with Caroline Connors, Executive Director of Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association, BAPA will be launching a new campaign called Eat Out to Help Out. This campaign will continue to remind our community to support local restaurants as we head into the colder months.
Local restaurants aren’t just places where we can order food. They foster community by giving us events and places to gather. They add to our neighborhood culture. They raise our home values. We can work together to ensure they make it through the winter.