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Alinea’s Nick Kokonas Bashes Yelp for Unauthorized COVID-19 GoFundMe Pages

Plus, Cook County plans to defer collecting a portion of taxes to help struggling businesses and restaurants, and more intel

Yelp and GoFund Me are working together without restaurant owners’s permissions.
Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Yelp and GoFundMe create COVID-19 restaurant fundraisers without permission

Restaurateurs across the country voiced confusion and frustration Thursday over a small business partnership between Yelp and GoFundMe, that was announced Tuesday, according to Eater National. Yelp and GoFundMe have made automatic online fundraisers using photos and business descriptions from Yelp. Angry restaurants owners include Nick Kokonas, co-owner of the Alinea restaurant group. He mentioned a lawsuit in a tweet to the Yelp and GoFundMe, “It is unconscionable of you to create a page for my restaurants trying to take advantage of this crisis for your companies under the guise of ‘helping.’” In response to the criticism that flooded social media, Yelp told reporters it has halted the feature’s automatic rollout and will allow restaurants to opt-in rather than opt-out.

Cook County to defer collection on some taxes for businesses, including restaurants, until May

Cook County plans to defer collecting a portion of its sales taxes and other tariffs to help struggling businesses, including restaurants, until May, according to the Sun-Times. The county won’t apply penalties or interest during the extension. The move is designed to provide some relief for businesses, including restaurants, giving owners some time to forward revenue to the county. Consumers are still required to pay sales tax when purchasing items. The county is also extending or delaying fines and fees usually handled by the Departments of Transportation and Highways, Environment and Sustainability, Revenue, Building and Zoning and Public Health.

Some Chicago-area restaurant owners like new grant programs but say they’re not enough

A number of male Chicago restaurateurs have responded mostly positively to the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program and the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund announced Wednesday, according to the Tribune. Most agreed, however, that the funds aren’t enough to salvage the industry and save furloughed workers. They also expressed some concern over low-interest loans such as the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan and the Chicago Small Business Resiliency FundBig Jones chef and owner Paul Fehribach said he found the idea of taking on new debt in the midst of a crisis to be short-sighted.

Michelin-starred West Side restaurant EL Ideas starts curbside pickup

Chef and owner Phil Foss of innovative Michelin-starred West Side restaurant EL Ideas is launching curbside pickup for the first time. Offerings include a “meaty” meal — vanilla ice cream over crunchy matchstick potatoes with a hot potato leek soup and French cassoulet stew (duck confit, braised pork shoulder, garlic sausage, white beans, and bone marrow bread crumbs) — or a “veggy” option with the same potatoes and soup, as well as braised celery root and wild mushrooms with white beans cassoulet, herbs, and sourdough bread crumbs. Each meal is $24 per person and are available to order online.

Chicago chef advances to TV competition’s final four

Chef Lamar Moore (Currency Exchange Cafe, Swill Inn) said he wanted to keep the momentum going on Thursday’s fourth episode of Vegas Chef Prizefight on the Food Network. The only Chicago chef out of the five contestants left in the competition weathered a stream of needling by host/judge Anne Burrell. Burrell criticized Moore’s knife cuts, the temperature he was rendering fat, and tested his confidence as he prepared his Brussels sprout said. She charmingly called the dish “fart balls.” Moore didn’t let the criticism get him down, comparing it to his experience mentoring children.

For the second round, the team created a breakfast menu for celeb chef Giada De Laurentiis’s Vegas restaurant’s menu. Moore’s frittata with grilled shrimp pomodoro earned positive reviews. His teammates also appreciated his willingness to help out. Moore, the only African-American man on the show, would also calmly defend teammate Janey Lyu. She was thrown under the bus by competitor Jeff Kraus; Kraus said Lyu didn’t consult with him before switching her dish from pancakes to waffles. Despite the quality of Moore’s food, judges criticized his “professionalism” for speaking out on his teammate’s behalf; they could have praised him for caring about the overall success of the team. Instead it came off as an “angry black person trope.” That’s a stereotype reality TV makers have been using for years. Even after all that drama, Moore advanced.

EL ideas

2419 West 14th Street, , IL 60608 (312) 226-8144 Visit Website

Big Jones

5347 North Clark Street, , IL 60640 (773) 275-5725 Visit Website


1723 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 Visit Website