January 25, 2021

Chicago restaurants thankful for November warm spell amid pandemic restrictions

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CHICAGO – Summer-like temperatures that spilled into November spelled some relief for weary Chicago restauranteurs.

With a rise in COVID-19 cases, Gov. JB Pritzker renewed restrictions on restaurants and bars. With winter coming, restaurant owners are nervous for massive drops in sales due no indoor dining being permitted.

Replay in Andersonville is one of the eateries taking advantage of the city’s street dining program.

“We’ve been really lucky but any opportunity to have street dining, it doubles our seating area and with the new restrictions in place,” said general manager Ben Sawyer. “It’s just a tougher needle to thread than seating people indoors in general.”

With near record-breaking highs since the beginning of the month, more families are getting out of the house to continue outdoor dining.

“I can’t believe that in November we get to eat out and spend time outdoors and be with family, enjoy a meal like this,” Andy Friedman said.

Nearby at Pick Me Up Cafe, owner Joe Mann hopes customers will continue to remember them once winter finally gets here.

“The fact that we’ve had 70 degree weather the whole weekend has been a godsend,” said Mann. “It’s been vital.”

With the winter looming, Illinois continues to post high daily coronavirus case days. On Sunday, 10,009 new cases were reported.