It's been about six months since I have been there, but am I crazy in thinking that the prices have drastically gone down--like $10 an entree down. If so, does any one know if this sort of price cut is happening at other similar restaurants? Thanks in advance.
Obviously this is due to the economy.
I had heard reports of people going to Spring and finding it near-empty, which ties in well to the price reductions. Spring has indeed lowered prices, and by more than $10 on the entrees; they had been mostly around $30-32, IIRC, and a quick look at their website menu at www.springrestaurant.net/menu.html shows that they are now $14-21.
There are two other restaurants I know which have made significant price reductions in the regular (all week long) menu. Sweets and Savories previously had entrees in the high twenties, and they're now in the mid teens. The other is Pane Caldo. They didn't used to post prices on their website menu, but entrees were in the high thirties and even forty. A month or so ago I checked their website and noticed they had reduced entree prices to the mid twenties. It was smart of them to be showing the prices on their website after reducing them! However, now I see that they are no longer showing prices on their website, so I really don't know whether or not they have raised them back up from there.
Perhaps there are others - anyone?
With the current recession, I think there is going to be a big shake-out in the restaurant business, with some well-known and highly-regarded restaurants closing their doors, but it hasn't really happened yet. (Chicago's biz is so big that there are always *some* places opening and closing.) Compare this to Indianapolis, which has had two of its roughly 5-6 prominent restaurants in the contemporary bistro finer-dining category close in the past six months (including one, Elements, this past weekend), and I think it's just a matter of time for our own restaurants to experience this.
Other than lowering their everyday prices, another way restaurants are coping is that some restaurants, including some very nice places, are running special deals, especially on weeknights. The temporary promotions run recently for Restaurant Week and for Opentable's Appetite Stimulus Plan, with three-course meals in the $20-32 range, have been extremely popular, and some restaurants have run similar promotions on an ongoing basis. Just last week, Cafe des Architectes expanded its $29 3-course "neighborhood friends" dinner to Tuesdays along with the previous Sundays and Mondays, so obviously that is working for them. That's good news for all of us, since CDA is one of our very best contemporary American restaurants and it will give them greater exposure, and us the chance to eat there without spending as much as otherwise.
I also noticed that La Sardine, which has for a long time run 3-course specials for $25 on Tuesdays, is now promoting 3-course specials for $27.50 on other days of the week. In their case it's a bit ironic since their normal prices aren't all that high and the savings when getting 3 courses for $27.50 or even $25 aren't all THAT amazing. I'm not knocking them - it's one of our best French bistros - it's just a reflection that even their regular a la carte prices are already quite reasonable.