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Chicago’s Media Predicts Restaurant Industry Headlines for 2021

Chicago Reader’s Mike Sula offers “New Trump-Branded Vaccine Causes Recipients to Lose All Sense of Taste, Morals”

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Piedmont’s Covid-19 Vaccine Campaign Begins In Turin
COVID-19 vaccines bring hope to the restaurants that can survive.
Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

Chicago’s restaurant writers dish on their biggest surprises of 2020 as part of Eater’s ongoing tradition of polling the city’s experts for their year-end takes.

Michael Nagrant, The Only Restaurants Left in Chicago Belong to Stephanie Izard

Grant Achatz Doubles Down on Early Pandemic Menu with New National Chain, the Corona Kitchen, Featuring Dishes Like “Hot Forehead, Cold Forehead,” “Black Plague Explosion,” and “Swine Flu Porchetta”

Ghostface Killah Launches New Line of Ghost Kitchens Starting with Wu Tang Wings

Rapper Wiz Khalifa sits on a grey couch in front of open boxes of food.
Wiz Khalifa brought virtual restaurant to Chicago in 2020.
Hotbox by Wiz [Official Photo]

Blackbird, the Pop Up, Debuts at the Chicago History Museum

Chicagoans Complain They Now Have Too Many Bagel and Pizza Options

Alderman Tom Tunney Passes Law Outlawing Cinnamon Rolls at All Restaurants Not Named Ann Sather

Biden Launches National Restaurant Bailout Plan Called “Our People Paid,” aka OPP, With Live Performance By Naughty by Nature

Frustrated With COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery, Nick Kokonas Launches “Shot,” A Hyper-Efficient Service That Provides Corona Vaccine Infused with Malört in the Aviary’s Porthole Serveware

Ryan McCaskey Claims He Would Have Gotten Away With Everything “If it wasn’t for those meddling kids!”

Morgan Olsen, Time Out Chicago: Ghost kitchens expected to outnumber dine-in restaurants by July

Aaron Oliver, Seasoned and Blessed: Now Serving: Resilience

Pivot to Prosper

The new restaurant landscape in Chicago

Bridging the Restaurant Gap

Dennis Lee, the Takeout, Food is Stupid: Unfortunately, I’m predicting that we’re going to lose another handful of restaurants through early summer, if not more than that. While I can feel the palpable relief with the vaccine rollout, I have the feeling the general public isn’t going to be seeing lasting effects until summer. That will be much too late for so many places. Think about all the places you love to eat at right now, and imagine what it’d be like if they were gone. If you can afford to go out to eat, absolutely go get takeout from those places. Now. Don’t wait.

Blackbird was one Chicago’s biggest closures of 2020.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Michael Gebert, Fooditor: Illinois Reaches Tier 3 of Deli Cup Shortage; Pritzker Orders All Takeout Shut Down

Governors Pritzker, Cuomo, and Newsom Seen Enjoying Takeout Dinner

Audarshia Townsend, WGN Morning News: More Unique Collaborations Help Keep Establishments Alive

It’s a Brave New World for Restaurants in 2021

Hospitality Culture Gets a Makeover

Overdue Accolades for Chicago’s Black Women Chefs

Mike Sula, Chicago Reader: New Trump-Branded Vaccine Causes Recipients to Lose All Sense of Taste, Morals

Titus Ruscitti, ChiBBQKing: Lots of spots will close, other spots will open in their place.

White House Holds COVID-19 Vaccine Summit
President Donald Trump signed an executive order in December declaring the U.S. would provide vaccines to Americans before helping other countries.
Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

As 2020 threw the world a curveball, Eater Chicago this year has expanded its end-of-year panel to include other members of the city’s media.

Exavier Pope, Forbes, the Athletic, Al Jazeera English: A mass-distributed vaccine will reinvigorate the restaurant scene for establishments already open, and a few surprises might reopen.

Sarah Spain, ESPN: Chicagoans Flock to Patios After First “Warm-Up” of 2021

Chicago Party Aunt, @ChiPartyAunt: We’re putting gluten back in everything.

Natalie Moore, WBEZ: So many restaurants permanently closed and the ripple will be felt in 2021.

Janice Scurio, Sports Illustrated and South Side Sox: The outdoor patios everyone built for this winter will remain open after the pandemic, just to remind people how things “used to be.”

Ann Sather

909 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 (773) 348-2378 Visit Website

Chicago History Museum

1601 North Clark Street, , IL 60614 (312) 642-4600 Visit Website


614 North 2nd Street, , PA 19123 (267) 324-5224 Visit Website

Girl & the Goat

555-3 Mateo Street, , CA 90013 (213) 799-4628 Visit Website

The Aviary

955 West Fulton Market, , IL 60607 Visit Website


1639 South Wabash Avenue, , IL 60616 (312) 360-9500 Visit Website


1723 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 Visit Website