Today business took us into Chicago and we went for lunch at Amarit Thai which we have liked for a number of years. As we walked along State, we were surprised that there were empty tables at many restaurants. This was at 12:30!
At Amarit, only about 6 of 20 tables were occupied. Same at Jia across the street.
The food at Amarit was good (the catfish custard was beautifully presented in banana leaves -- in a different setting it would have been a $25+ dish instead of 5.95), and the service was pleasant. The whole meal for two came to about $23 including tax & tip. Good value, especially for the area.
I guess it's the state of the economy, but a lot of people are economizing on eating out. If you can manage it, go to your favorite restaurant soon. You'd hate to see them go under.
Enjoy, and help your favorite restaurant at the same time!