Owners delighted as return of restaurant week begins this weekend

CHICAGO (SCS) — More signs that things are getting back to normal. After a week of mostly “takeout” restaurants in Chicago last year, tables are booked up again.

The city’s food festival begins on Friday. as CBS 2’s Asal Rezaei reports, it’s not just about tasting dishes.

The first restaurant recipes of the week have been served. And this year, restaurateurs and chefs are excited to be back in the kitchen to serve food in person.

“It’s a celebration of Chicago!”

Lulu Noguier and her husband, chef Martial Noguier, own Bistronomic on the Gold Coast and have been part of Restaurant Week for over 10 years.

“The evolution and the number of attendees and the number of cuisines, cultures that are joining Restaurant Week, I think is an absolute treasure for Chicago,” Lulu said.

The 15th annual Chicago Restaurant Week is a 17-day celebration of the city’s culinary scene with special menus offered at a fixed price.

And while Bistromonic is one of many places that closed for a short time during the pandemic, Noguier says they’re back thriving.

“We have the original staff in the kitchen and in the dining room, that means the world to us because we are family,” Lulu said.

Chef Jacob Saben of Coda Di Volpe in Lakeview says it’s the customers who make it worth it.

“I think the best thing about Restaurant Week is that it’s kind of the very first thing about spring. It’s kind of like we’re shaking off the dust of winter, people are going to come out in mass.”

This year comes with the challenge of inflation, which is driving up costs across the board.

“Product prices have definitely gone up. Like some things have gone up 200%, for example shellfish,” Saben said.

By offering specialty dishes, chefs can offer what they have.

“A lot of specials so we can adapt every day by changing the specials,” said Lulu.

A change of pace for many as things are starting to look and taste the same as they once did.

Comparing meal prices with years past, dinner for Restaurant Week is set at $55 for most locations right now. In 2020, restaurants were charging around $45.


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