Food Warriors 2021
Birmingham Member Restaurants overcame 2020, surviving into 2021.
By Jan Walsh
A year ago, my only complaint about restaurants in Birmingham was that there were too many new openings. Our “food city” was drawing new restaurants at an unsustainable rate, cutting the pie of Birmingham metro’s restaurant market into too many small pieces. Yet I predicted the strong would survive. Little did I know how strong they would have to become to survive the year.
Throughout 2020 our Member Restaurants, their chefs, owners, and staffs were under siege: shutdowns, mask ordinances, social distancing, table barriers, even testing guests’ temps and staff for the virus. Yet most rose to the occasion and battled on no matter what was thrown at them. Although several did not make it through 2020, and into 2021 with us, even though we were the first to raise money for their staffs (even before they did), were the first in their restaurants when they reopened, and more…
As I watched the strong overcome one adversity after another, temporarily reinventing themselves to pivot to curbside, sell alcohol to go, offer delivery, whip up holidays to go, and even sell supermarket items, I labeled the brave restauranteurs, chefs, and restaurant staffs, “Food Warriors.” It stuck and became a label of pride. Thus, it is only fitting that we award those who stood with us, as we stood with them, the title, Birmingham Restaurants Food Warriors 2021.
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