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If the restaurants go, what happens to the cities?

This ecosystem is now in danger. The fried chicken with butter and honey is hanging in there. “The fried chicken sandwich is kind of designed to be taken out,” said Josh Kulp, who runs the business with partner Christine Cikowski. But Parachute, which has a Michelin star, is working hard to get him to sell take-out food. “$ 15,000 a week is the break-even point,” said Beverly Kim, who owns the restaurant with her co-chef and husband, Johnny Clark. “But last week we made $ 8,000; this week $ 6,000. We’re bleeding money like crazy.

Service is also limited to take out orders at the Lula Cafe in Logan Square, about a mile and a half south, and business is down about 80%. “Nobody is losing money,” said Jason Hammel, a Brown graduate who moved to Illinois in the 1990s to learn writing from David Foster Wallace, but became a restaurateur. “I can do it for two or three more months,” he said, “but without the federal help, I don’t know if I can survive the winter.

Versions of this story are repeated in restaurant after restaurant across urban America. In Atlanta, Michael Lennox opened the Golden Eagle, an evening cocktail party, and Muchacho daytime taco shop in a former train depot in 2017, expecting an AMC theater in a new development across the city. the road to move business forward. But the theater opened two weeks before the pandemic arrived, and has been closed ever since.

As restaurants fail, cities will lose economic output and jobs, of course – more than two million restaurant jobs and 173,000 bar jobs were lost between February and August. But they also risk losing their glue.

In a recent research article, Sitian Liu of Queen’s University in Canada and Yichen Su of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas conclude that the decline in the value of urban restaurants is contributing to a residential reorganization in which suburban housing is in high demand. while the market in the denser urban areas is dormant. In short, if you can’t go out to eat, why even live in the city?

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