[adrotate group="3"]

We’re serving food again, but we’re not going back to being a regular restaurant. We’re hoping to launch a nonprofit to teach kids in the community about the food industry, foraging, and sustainability. What gives me hoe are the conversations I’m having with peers who are like, “We have to do something.” We cannot wait for landlords or politicians. America has to do better.

That’s Sarah Kirnon of Miss Ollie’s in Oakland, California, as quoted by Ashlea Halpern in Bon Appétit’s holiday issue (The Year That Changed Restaurants—and What Happens Next).

The numbers are astounding. The food and beverage industry accounted for one in four jobs lost during the pandemic—more than any other sector of the economy. Without additional assistance, tens of thousands of bars and restaurants could shutter, taking up to 7 million jobs with them. That’s the barista who knows our order before we’re awake enough to ask for it, the busser whose smile improves a lousy day, and so many others behind the scenes. And yet, there’s hope. Restaurants have shown creativity and resilience, becoming movie theaters, drive-throughs, grocers. The industry banded together to push the Restaurants Act through Congress, which, if passed, would offer a $120 billion life preserver. Chefs are doing backflips to feed communities in need while also looking to the future. What the industry will look like on the other side is unknown. But if these folks have their way—and if we, the diners, support them—it’ll be smarter, more nimble, and a heck of a lot more egalitarian.

First we have a winter to get through; distance socially, buy locally.

More than 40 restaurants and bars have closed for good this year, by Haley Cawthon (Louisville Business First)

For much of 2020, restaurants and bars have been fighting to stay alive through unprecedented challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Even with two dining room shutdowns, curfews and continued capacity restrictions, the vast majority of Louisville area establishments have survived the past nine months. But with winter looming ahead, many fear the worst is yet to come.

More than 40 local bars and eateries have closed permanently in 2020, which is surprisingly less than the number of places that closed last year and far less than the 75 establishments that closed in 2018. I think that speaks to the tenacity of bar and restaurant owners, as well as the support from local communities they operate in.

Now, that being said, several bars and restaurants are still temporarily closed, whether it’s because of Covid-19 restrictions or a loss of traffic. Many Downtown Louisville restaurants, which relied on office traffic, tourism and other events, are chief among that group of temporary closures. Only time will tell if some of these places reopen.