I just received email confirmation that one popular local restaurant is really feeling the pinch. The owner blamed the high gas prices for the lack of customers to his establishment. Today I saw an Arco station selling regular for $4.11 a gallon, and that's a deal. Restaurant patrons might be adding transportation costs into the total expense of the meal causing them to eat at home more often.
It's more important now than ever to be conscience of eating in locally owned restaurants. This article in the Oregonian shows how a weakened economy has hurt Portland restaurants. People on this blog have criticized me recently for posting a lot about the Sonic franchise that opened on Lancaster. My response is that Eat Salem is about dining in Salem with an emphasis on highlighting where locals eat. A chain like that opening effects local business by drawing customers away from local restaurants. When people are pinching pennies to pay for gas, this can be a double whammy for smaller kitchens who may not be backed by deep corporate pockets and national advertising campaigns. In the end, this survival of the fittest may mean fewer local choices to eat, even after the economy turns around. More fast food chains is not what Salem needs. For the sake of supporting local chefs and mom and pop kitchens, please consider that where you eat today, will effect your choices tomorrow. By the way, the pasta pictured above is Spaghetti with Meat Sauce from Willamette Noodle Company, $7.50 ala carte.