More than two and a half years after the Covid-19 pandemic reached America, there's a enormous divide among America's restaurant markets. In deep-blue cities that embraced lockdowns, the number of diners is still far below pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, restaurant businesses are prospering in states that were quickest to reject Covidian authoritarianism.
Civil unrest and crime have likely played a defining role too. It's probably no coincidence that the worst-performing city -- Minneapolis -- was at the epicenter of the George Floyd riots that ravaged deep-blue cities. Strikingly, the number of average daily diners in Minneapolis is still less than half what the city enjoyed in pre-Covid, pre-Floyd 2019.
"We’re just getting killed in Minneapolis," restauranteur Greg Urban told Fox News. "People don’t feel safe. They don’t feel safe coming to Minneapolis. It’s a public safety issue right now."
Happily, Urban is geographically -- and politically -- diversified, with nightspots in Austin, Pensacola and Lakeland, Florida too.
The 10 worst cities represent a who's who of cringe-inducing, high-crime, vaccination-forcing, mask-adoring metropolises, with the likes of San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Philadelphia rounding out the top five losers.
Meanwhile, the list of the 10 best-performing restaurant cities includes four from Florida which, under Governor DeSantis, helped set an example that emboldened other red-state governors to shift policies and begin rising out of the depths of public health madness. Underscoring a clear Sunbelt trend, Texas and Arizona placed two cities apiece.
10 Worst Lockdown-Hammered Restaurant Cities (Change in Daily Diners: July 2022 vs July 2019)
San Francisco (-45.9%)
New York (-37.9%)
St. Louis (-28.2%)
Washington, DC (-27.3%)
10 Best-Performing Restaurant Cities (Change in Daily Diners: July 2022 vs July 2019)
Las Vegas (+35.7%)
Fort Lauderdale (+34.0%)
San Antonio (+18.6%)
Source: OpenTable via Fox News