Alexis Fowler, CFNN Reporter

Antonella’s Italian Ristorante is a local restaurant located in Downtown Fayetteville.

Businesses all around the world have been affected by COVID-19. Some have been forced to shut down or file for bankruptcy. Restaurants make up a large portion of these businesses.

When the pandemic procedures first began, most restaurants shut down their dining rooms to keep people safe. Eventually as things started to slowly get better the dining rooms began to reopen. With the reopenings came changes that might have hurt them instead of help them. One of the most major changes was taking items off of menus. 

Even some of the biggest food-chains changed their menus. McDonald’s discontinued things such as the yogurt parfait, grilled chicken sandwiches, salads and bagels. This takes away many alternative options for people. 

Another restaurant that removed items is Taco Bell. Taco Bell removed things such as the Spicy Potato Soft Taco, Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, and their biggest item, the popular Nachos Supreme. 

The list goes on for fast food chains that have stopped serving things on their menus.  Unfortunately, more eat-in restaurants are following suit. Some of these restaurants include Red Robin, Olive Garden, and Outback Steakhouse.

Restaurants are hurting because of the limited capacity for patrons in their dining rooms. Removing less popular or difficult items can make serving a small amount of people more efficient and safe. An issue with this, however, is that when customers go to their favorite restaurant and find their favorite dish missing from the menu, they could end up leaving disappointed. 

This is an especially precarious situation for local restaurants. They often feel the burden of economic hardship well before larger chain restaurants. Unfortunately, many businesses are suffering during these unprecedented times. This makes it even more important to support our local economy.

Even though some of our favorite major food chains may be struggling, there are several local restaurants that had just opened before COVID-19 and were trying to establish themselves. With the harsh reality of the pandemic, these small restaurants and businesses have suffered immensely. This is why no matter how much people love chain restaurants and their convenience, people should always try to support local restaurants! 

So the next time you go out to dinner, instead of settling for something that you really might not enjoy at a large chain, give a small local business a try. Some great restaurants here in Fayetteville include Antonella’s, Archway Burgers, The Fried Turkey Sandwich Shop, Circa 1800, Pierro’s, Will’s Grill, Robertsons, Little Italy and more! The CFNN encourages you to try out some of these hidden gems! You never know what hidden great things you might find until you look for them.