Bloomberg Cities: “Outdoor dining has been a summer savior in these COVID times, keeping restaurants and the people they employ afloat while bringing sidewalks and streets once hushed by stay-at-home orders back to life.
But with Labor Day now behind us, many city leaders and residents alike are asking, “What’s next?” “What becomes of the vibrant ‘streateries’ once winter comes rolling in?”
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Chicago, notorious for its frigid winters and whipping lakefront winds, is at the forefront of the hunt for an answer. The city recently launched the City of Chicago Winter Dining Challenge to get everyone from designers to dishwashers thinking up new ideas for how to do outdoor eating in the cold in a way that is both appealing and safe for customers and restaurant workers.
More intriguing is just how much interest the competition has generated, including nearly 650 entries from all over the world. There are dozens of takes on warming large patios and small dining pods, including approaches likened to greenhouses, igloos, and yurts; ideas for repurposing parking garages and city buses; furniture-based concepts with heated tables, seats and umbrellas, and even a Swiss-style fondue chalet.
The goal, said Samir Mayekar, Chicago’s Deputy Mayor for Economic and Neighborhood Development, is to surface ideas city leaders would never have thought of. Three winners will get $5,000 each and see their ideas piloted in neighborhoods across the city in October….(More)”.