It’s the most wonderful time of year again, but 2020 hasn’t been wonderful and a bleak winter looms. Although we need no reminder of the chilly economy, it bears repeating that, this holiday season especially, we should endeavor to spend our money locally. Thankfully, Portland’s restaurants offer a delicious way to keep your cash in the community.

A sign in the window April 2 at Lazzari restaurant in Portland offers encouragement.  Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

That said, the next time you order your roast beast to go, don’t be a grinch, remember: Behind the masks, it’s people providing your food. Few industries have been hit harder by the pandemic than hospitality, and many restaurants are operating at a loss just to keep the business and its employees going. Accordingly, please be patient with price changes — the minimum-wage increase, emergency loan repayments and two months of lost income have been piled onto restaurants’ already weighty overhead, and shops are merely trying to prevent a cave-in.

So when you need a warm and tasty restorative this winter, think of local restaurants and our neighbors who keep them going: the waitstaff who now must rely on takeout tips, the cooks who prepare your food and the owners who employ and feed our community. They’ve long nourished both our bellies and economy, but they need our support in these lean times.

“Cold” and “dark” may describe both the winter days and general mood this season, but they shouldn’t describe how we treat each other. So this year, spread some goodwill by treating yourself.

Seth Fox

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