Video: A “Chicago Tonight” discussion about the city’s Winter Dining Challenge with Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association; and Samir Mayekar, Chicago’s deputy mayor of neighborhood and economic development.
People are adjusting to wearing masks at restaurants, but mittens?
That’s the reality facing Chicagoans as summer comes to an end, winter lies around the corner and coronavirus restrictions are still in place for indoor dining. How low are people willing to go to, mercury-wise, before they give up on the city’s patios and return to cooking at home or ordering takeout?
In something of a Hail Mary pass to rescue Chicago restaurants and the jobs they represent, Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday announced the launch of the Winter Design Challenge, calling on people to submit innovative, yet feasible, solutions for outdoor dining come winter.
Among the criteria that will be used to evaluate entries: Does the proposal maintain or enhance the customer experience? Does it consider employee safety across the breadth of restaurant operations? Is it ADA compliant? Is it easy to set up and tear down?
All residents are invited to participate, but this is not the place to send your pencil sketch of an igloo. Submissions must include a technical overview and evidence of prototype concepting.
The competition is open through Sept. 7. Winners will be announced in mid-September, with a $5,000 prize up for grabs in each of three categories, including one for stand-alone structures.
The city is partnering with BMO Harris Bank, the Illinois Restaurant Association and the global design firm IDEO on the challenge. Click here for more information on the competition and to submit an idea.
Note: This story was originally published Aug. 25, 2020. It has been updated to include our “Chicago Tonight” discussion.