Let's Show Restaurants Some Love.
By: Sarah Jenema
Remember the good ole days, a Friday night evening stroll to your favorite neighborhood restaurant. You walk in and you are instantly greeted by name with a warm smile and seated at your favorite table or you belly up to the bar to chat with your favorite bartender. It seems like forever ago but not for long.
When the pandemic began, restaurants were forced to close down. Unsure of just how long this new normal would be, it has been a struggle. A struggle unlike any other in modern history for our favorite dinner spots and entrepreneurs alike who set out to fulfill a lifelong dream. With heavy hearts, many restaurants were forced to permanently close while others have faced tough decisions to close their doors with the hopes that they might one day reopen. Through the darkness, comes the dawn and with more and more vaccines being administered each day, restaurants have begun to brush off the dust and turn on the lights once again.
For those restaurants that made it through the past year, now is the time to show our support the most. With limited capacities and already incredibly thin operating margins, restaurants need us now more than ever to ensure their doors stay open and their employees stay working.
Below are my tips on how you can support restaurants as well as some of my favorite neighborhood
spots to try, enjoy!
Always check the restaurant website or call directly for the best way to order.
Many people don’t realize the fees that some delivery platforms charge the restaurants.
Contact local government and let them know you support restaurants and their employees.
You can do so HERE.
Make a reservation to visit your local restaurants.
Use your voice!
Share your positive experiences with others so they know who is open and that you felt safe while dining - consider writing a review, posting pictures on social media and tagging your location in posts.
SARAH'S FAVORITE RESTAURANT SPOTLIGHT
A restaurant group that is near and dear to my heart as my husband is an operating partner, Legacy Hospitality has 3 restaurants: The Vig in Old Town, The Whale, and Welcome Back Lounge, both located in Logan Square. The partners of Legacy Hospitality believe in becoming a part of their communities. They do so by giving back as much as they can. Throughout the pandemic they donated meals to frontline workers and have done various charity projects throughout the city. In 2018, owners and staff traveled to Haiti alongside Help Heal Humanity to donate clothes, food and build a school after hurricane devastation. You can support Legacy Hospitality by visiting one of their restaurants or by purchasing gift cards HERE.
Not only is TaKOREA Cocina one of my FAVORITE restaurants to order take-out and delivery from in West Town, but the owner works tirelessly every day to help out the community. He has been known to buy out many local tamale vendors who were braving the winter cold to sell their beloved tamales curbside in order to keep them safe from the weather. He then turned around and distributed them to those experiencing homelessness throughout our community. This is a man and a business I LOVE to support. You can order food via Grubhub through his website HERE and you can follow along/donate to his movement via facebook at West Town Feeds.
Fun fact: I am OBSESSED with pizza and Bartoli’s never disappoints. They have locations in West Town and Roscoe Village, and the only thing better than their pizza is their big heart. This group is also a part of the West Town Feeds initiative and are helping to provide meals to families in need with children. Hot tip: try their wings vesuvio, you can thank me later.
Can't make it in, consider takeout or delivery. Order HERE.
There are so many other restaurants out there that are doing the best they can to provide an invaluable service to their customers and make sure they are safe while doing so. It is important for us to take as much action as we can to support them just like they have supported us and continue to support their communities. Stay educated about precautions restaurants are taking and keep supporting the little guys too.
Below are a few resources for making reservations:
Now go out, or order in, catch up with a friend over dinner and drinks or over zoom...restaurants and their employees need you now more than ever.
Leave your favorite restaurant in the comments below, the Olive Well team is always looking for new places!