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Outdoor Dining Tents Vandalized With Graffiti on Randolph Restaurant Row

Plus, the James Beard Foundation to launch fundraiser for Black and Indigenous-owned restaurants on Tuesday

bar siena
Bar Siena was among the West Loop restaurants vandalized on Sunday.
Bar Siena [Official Photo]

As beleaguered Chicago restaurant owners prepare to enter a particularly challenging pandemic winter, some West Loop establishments were subjected to another obstacle on Sunday, when their outdoor dining tents were vandalized with graffiti.

The property damage on large tents at Italian restaurants Formento’s and Bar Siena piles even more unforeseen work and costs onto businesses that are already struggling, Formento’s manager Richard Koskowski told NBC Chicago. He fears the vandalism, found on the inside and outside of the tent, ruins the experience for diners.

Some local establishments previously tagged with graffiti have found ways to embrace the unexpected. When River West cocktail bar the Dandy Crown found the word “resist” spray painted on a patio wall over the summer, ownership and artists worked to integrate the message into a series of murals featuring quotes from civil rights leaders like the late John Lewis. The recent graffiti in the West Loop, however, bore no larger message for locals to ponder — only tags.

Despite the presence of security cameras on some restaurants along Randolph Street, there is reportedly no footage of the incidents in progress. Formento’s has filed a report with the Chicago Police Department and others hit by the graffiti may follow suit. Koskowski told reporters he spent part of Sunday trying to scrub black and orange paint off the tents, during a time around the holidays when the restaurant is usually used to displays of appreciation and thankfulness.

In other news...

— All funds raised in James Beard Foundation’s 2020 end-of-year campaign will go to its Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans, according to a news release. The initiative launches on Giving Tuesday, and aims to support Black- and Indigenous-owned small businesses, which have been disproportionately impacted during the pandemic. The foundation will open applications once it has raised enough funding for the first round of grants.

— Hospitality industry collective Support Staff will hold a live online event for Giving Tuesday with raffles, an auction, and sessions with organizers and educators who will discuss caring for mental health among restaurant and bar workers. Tickets are available via Eventbrite. More details are available the collective’s website.

— Venerated Chicago Jewish deli Manny’s is teaming up with other local icons like the Weiners Circle, Smoque, JP Graziano Grocery Co., and more for eight weeks of Sandwich Series Collabs, management writes on Twitter. First up is a JP Graziano’s giardiniera and provolone pastrami Reuben sandwich available at Manny’s this week only.


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