|Sisters (from left) Kim, Minah and Tran Dao opened a Northbrook restaurant and coffee bar, Basu, in late February. Kim encouraged her younger sisters to quit their jobs and go into the restaurant business. “It’s very bad timing,” she said.|
Sarah Stegner looked at the deserted dining room of her restaurant at 6 p.m. Monday and said words that perhaps no professional chef has ever uttered before:
“I was afraid it was going to be too packed.”
|Sarah Stegner, chef at Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook, with husband |
and co-owrner Rohit Nambiar. “The plan is to keep cooking,” she said
She was explaining why, even though she could have held a final, last hurrah dinner at her Prairie Grass Cafe before Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order to indefinitely close all Illinois restaurants and bars went into effect, “that’s not the right thing to do.”
She said it twice.
“That’s not the right thing to do.”
While a goodbye dinner would have raked in money that she, her partners and staff may desperately need in the weeks and months to come, it would also put those who love her Northbrook restaurant in jeopardy for contracting the virus. That, she was unwilling to do.
Instead, Prairie Grass, like many restaurants, is offering carry-out. I was there picking up dinner out of a sense of moral duty. Part of what gives Chicago its luster is the bountiful array of unique and delightful restaurants in and around the city, from beloved hot dog stands to world-famous 3-Michelin-star eateries. They have been there for us, framing the joyous moments of our lives — we had our 25th wedding anniversary dinner at Prairie Grass. It seems natural for customers to stand with them now that they need us most.
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