While flipping through the channels yesterday, I came across a statistic that should sound alarms in all good chowhounds out there. CNBC reported that 51% (50.7% to be exact) of all restaurant business in the US is owned and run by chains. This is up from 40% twenty years ago. So now the majority of our dining choices out there are factory-produced, mass-market menus. It is kind of scary to think that we are losing our taste for the new, different, unusual, SEASONAL foods. I plan on fighting the trend by placing my economic vote with the idependent restaurant owner. Hopefully we can turn the tide in the opposite direction and assert our desire for choice and not arbitrary corporate menus.