Saturday, May 23, 2020

At Least 20% Of Illinois Restaurants Have Succumbed To The Controlavirus


cbslocal |  “The restaurant industry, we’ve kind of alway been up against it anyways,” said Joe Frillman, owner of Daisies Restaurant. “The statistics are never in our favor to begin with.”

Once known for its dine in homemade pastas, the kitchen at Daisies in Logan Square has pivoted to pay the bills.

“It’s all to go now, so the whole business model has changed,” said Frillman.

He debuted a new concept last weekend. In the age of COVID-19, his dining space became a farmer’s market with fresh produce, meal kits and specialty products.

“We had over 150 people come out to support us,” he said. “I was kind of blown away. We didn’t really know what to expect.”

But for every hopeful moment like these, there are thousands of others from restaurants on the brink of closing.

Jeanne Roeser, in business since 1996, was forced to close her two popular brunch destinations, Toast. Each sat only a handful of diners, and an eventual scaled back reopening didn’t add up.

“It felt like a death,” said Roeser, owner of Toast Restaurant. “It felt like going through the grieving process, which I still am. Any time I thought about it, and I looked at the prospects, it just, in my gut, didn’t feel like it was something that would be workable”

According to the Illinois Restaurant Association, in March there were 25,851 restaurants operating in the state. It estimates 20% — nearly 5,200 restaurants — will go out of business in the coming months because of COVID-19.
 
“I think it’s an undercount,” said Roeser.

“I think that’s generous,” said Frillman. “I think would be a best case scenario.”  “Independent restaurants bring wealth to the city, culturally, economically,” said Roeser.