Supporting the Restaurant World

Shake Shack – Cleveland, OH  Photography – Emilia Czader

Restaurants and bars serve a vital function in our everyday social interactions. With shelter-in-place orders, people are adapting and finding new and inventive ways to connect while socially isolating. Even with restraints on public gatherings, there are still many opportunities to support your favorite local eating and drinking establishments from home. Here are ways we can do our part to ensure their doors open back up when restrictions lift and we can head back out into the world.

Order take-out

Many restaurants have kept their doors open for take-out and delivery service. Other establishments that didn’t previously serve take-out are now offering that as an option. Check out your local Eater page for restaurants providing new or different take-out and delivery options or visit Dining at a Distance for a comprehensive list in your city. We’ve also put together a list of our favorite Chicago offerings.

Buy meal kits

Have a little downtime? Some restaurateurs are bringing the cooking experience to their guests with meal kits and recipes; think Blue Apron but with your favorite local chef-prepared meal. The Chicago Tribune has compiled a list of some of their favorite Chicago-based restaurant’s meal and cocktail kits. Food & Wine has a great national list as well .

Purchase gift cards

Treat your future self to a nice dinner out while supporting your favorite local restaurant in the meantime. Purchasing gift cards to eateries that have currently closed their doors will help provide cash flow to re-open as soon as they are able. You can check out your go-to spot’s website or reservation services like OpenTable who can help you select a restaurant nearby to support.

Donate to crowdfunding pages

Several small business owners have opted for crowdfunding to support their staff during this economic downturn. Links posted to relief funds on restaurant websites and social media are easy to find. GoFundMe has a link to search through small businesses in your city to support and Eater has a Chicago specific list.

Schedule your next big event

We’re all looking forward to the time when we can celebrate events in person with family, friends, and coworkers. If you’ve got a party to plan, you can book now for events at a future date. This will help generate some much-needed income into your restaurant or venue of choice.

Show off your favorite brand

Many restaurants and bars have added to their merchandise offerings as an alternate form of revenue. Everything from apparel and accessories to cookbooks and sauces are available for purchase. Eater has great a list of merch based on cities found here. Also, Chicago based culinary retail company Stock Mfg. has designed the Chicago Hospitality United Tee and will donate proceeds from the t-shirt to various restaurants throughout the city.

Whether you want to freshen up on your cooking skills, order your favorite meal after a long day of working from your coffee table, or purchase a gift card for a future night out, there are plenty of ways to support local restaurants and their staff in this current time of need.