Here comes another winter, the third since the global pandemic started early in 2020, and – talking mostly about the restaurant, food and drink scene here – where in the heck are we?

For a lot of us, things are feeling pretty good. Sure, quite a few of us have at least one Covid encounter for ourselves or a friend or loved one to spin tales about, But things are looking better now, right? Better at least than at this point in 2020, when restaurants were figuring out how to make outdoor dining doable with torches and igloos; or even in 2021, when vaccines were available but the latest Covid variants were ramping up contagion.

This year? Jefferson County is in the green zone, a new, potent bivalent booster is available (even if relatively few people have had it yet), and there’s no sign of a seasonal spike on our charts. (England? Europe? Don’t be a buzzkill.)

Well, that sounds good. So does this mean that after two years of constant pain over the loss of beloved eateries and bars to Covid and Covid-related strain? Well … not so fast.

The conventional wisdom during normal times is that 20% of restaurants fail in their first year. It’s a tough business. The pandemic made it worse, obviously, and shuttered a lot of established restaurants that otherwise might have made it. To be honest, a lot of the places that closed since March 2020 faced multiple strains, each one tearing things down in its own way.

Take the much-loved Decca, which closed last month after more than 10 years of service. Was it a victim of ...Read more