This seems like our time to shine.

Because of restrictions in the midst of this pandemic, many restaurants have had to get creative when it comes to their daily operations. Many restaurants have relied on delivery or curbside options, while others have expanded their outdoor dining options.

Which is all fine and dandy until the weather turns.

Much like in our area, eating outside during the winter in Chicago is not the best option. Battling the elements in the winter is enough of a task. Now you want to find ways to have people sit outside and enjoy a meal? Yeesh.

That's why Chicago is looking for help.

The city is offering $5,000 for the best idea on how to pull this off. They are "seeking solutions to stimulate and encourage safe outdoor dining, for both customers and restaurant/bar staff, during cold weather months in Chicago." Obviously take out and delivery options will still be effective in the winter and therefore are ineligible for the contest. They want creative ways to keep the in-person experience going.

The outdoor dining program has been very successful in Chicago as it has been in other parts of the nation. When the weather is cooperative, I enjoy eating outside. However, if it's hot or too windy, I'm out. I can't imagine how to pull off a meal outside in the snow, but perhaps you can.

Three winners will be selected and the cutoff date is September 7 at 11:30 p.m. PT.

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