Chicagoist ran an op-ed piece today about some of their staffers’ dissatisfaction with Restaurant Week. The gist was that due to the increase volume of customers, restaurants offered smaller portions, restricted menus and crappier service (due to the fact that servers were now being tipped less on smaller checks, vicious cycle, etc.). Their conclusion was that they’d rather skip the whole thing and just eat at home.
Here’s why I will be eating at home: I’m unemployed and sometimes a trip to the Hollywood Grill is out of my budget. I understand that a prix fixe menu at a really nice place is an incredible deal, and I have often lamented that I haven’t taken some of these places up on their offers for a nice, three course meal for $30 or so — pretty nice for a French restaurant, especially when I’m not going to be drinking.
But the noise (buzz?) that’s being generated all around Alinea, Next, Girl & the Goat, Longman and Eagle, Publican, Blackbird*, Moto and the like is starting to give me a headache. I won’t lie and say it’s not a muddled combination of sour grapes, envy and just a lack of general foodie-ness in there somewhere. If someone said they’d take me to one of these restaurants, I most likely wouldn’t turn them down. I hate to be left out of things. However, I will say that another element in my general distaste for the constant chatter comes from the fact that even were I able to go, I’d feel pretty guilty knowing two people had spent my rent on what would soon be toilet fodder.
I’ll be eating at home instead of out at Restaurant Week not because I’m finding fault with the general concept/treatment, but because I am treading water just to pay my bills while looking for employment. And that my friends, is the reality for a lot of people. So, before we get all whipped up about how Restaurant Week is sucking, maybe we can go donate some money to the Chicago Food Depository?
*Out of that list, the only one participating in Restaurant Week (as far as I can tell), is Blackbird for lunch.