Jun 10, 2022 - Business

Restaurants still trying to recover

Data: OpenTable; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

The James Beard Awards return this weekend for the first time since 2019.

Why it matters: The event brings visitors to the city and showcases our vibrant restaurant scene.

Yes, but: Even with fine food in focus, Chicagoans still aren't eating out as much as they were before the pandemic, according to OpenTable reservation data.

What's happening: Chicago's reservation rate on OpenTable is still nearly 35% below 2019's rate.

  • The rest of Illinois is down 31%.

State of play: While the city is still in the "high" risk zone for COVID, our cases and hospitalizations are falling, which may assure more diners.

What's more: Inflation is both making restaurants more expensive and changing consumer habits.

  • A recent CNBC survey says 53% of Americans are thinking of cutting back on dining out.

Context: Gov. J.B. Pritzker earmarked $50 million in grants to help struggling restaurants in his 2023 budget.

If you go: The main chef awards are Monday at the Civic Opera House, while the media awards are Saturday at Columbia College.

  • Several related events, panels and parties are happening all weekend.
  • We'll be there, so check back for all the delicious stories!
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