Any time you go out to eat, you face one basic choice: Will you spend your dine-out dime at a well-established chain restaurant? Or will you instead support a local small business, opting for a culinary experience that’s more unique, regional, and specific?

These days, there’s one big reason why we should all think about showing more support for the local eateries. That reason is, quite simply, that a lot of them are struggling. Many community restaurants are laboring to get back on their feet following the restrictive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So that’s reason #1 why you should eat local whenever you can; without you, some of these smaller eating establishments might not make it! But in addition to that, there are some real benefits you might enjoy when you
choose to eat local.

Why Eat Local?

1) You can enjoy a really innovative and exciting culinary experience.

Tired of the same-old, same-old? Feel like you know the chain restaurant menus like the back of your hand? Why not try something off the beaten path? Head to a smaller, independent restaurant where you can partake in the culinary vision of a really adventurous, creative chef. You just might happen upon your new favorite meal.

2) You can eat local, organic produce.

Another reason to support local restaurants is that it also allows you to support local farmers. Simply put, smaller, regional restaurants are much more likely to buy their ingredients from local farms. This means you get to truly eat local, in more ways than one. You might also find that local restaurants offer you more ways to eat organic.

3) You can support a local chef.

Support local restaurants: Quad Umami Japanese Dusk

When you eat at a big chain restaurant, you’re effectively subsidizing the corporate shareholders… and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that! But what if you could provide direct, material support to a local chef? What if you could make his or her creative dreams more attainable? When you eat local, that’s exactly what you’re able to do.

4) You get to invest in the local economy.

One of the very best reasons to eat local is that it allows you to invest your dine-out dime right back into your local community. Your money can go to helping a local business stay open, or perhaps even to more jobs being created. Again, most of us probably find that preferable to sending our money to some out-of-town corporate board of directors.

5) You get to help build a regional culinary style.

What type of cuisine is your community known for? What are its distinctive regional flavors? If you don’t have an answer, it may be because your community is still developing its culinary identity… and your support can be a huge help.

These are just a few of the benefits to eating at local restaurants. We don’t mean to knock the big chains, but please: Make sure at least some of your eating out experiences come from the little guys.