I keep looking at this photo, taken maybe two years before I lost my grandfather Gene, who together with his partner Georgetti, founded Gene & Georgetti Chicago in 1941. This man, and this restaurant has shaped my family. We are four generations strong in this industry because of him. My mother was born in 1948, and has only known a life that included the restaurant. My parents have owned and operated this restaurant since Gene’s death in 1989. We have grown our business to include Gene & Georgetti Rosemont and The Estate and we have worked hard to do this. The hours are long, the stress is substantial and the margins are small. Yet we persevere. Since 1941. Because we love it passionately. We love our team. We love our customers, and we love our restaurants. It is an honor and privilege to bring people together, and provide them excellent service and beautiful meals. Hospitality is in my blood. We opened in a time of war. We have survived decades in this ever changing, beautiful city. We have seen Chicago’s dining scene come to life with culture, genius and passion and are so proud to be a part of it. We love our fellow restaurants. We have employees who have been with us for decades and regulars who have been with us just as long. And we are so grateful to all of them. Yet tonight, we are faced with a frightening, honest truth – we are all uncertain of where we will go from here. Let that sink in. It is profound.
How do we take care of ourselves. How do we care for our employees who are the very heart and soul of our brand. I know my family, and we do not give up. Or give in. And neither do our fellow restauranteurs, chefs and hospitality industry workers. We are tenacious, resilient, creative and tough. But right now, we are incredibly vulnerable.
I choose to not lose hope in our government, our mayor, and our governor. I will ask that they please provide some guidance, additional leadership and most importantly – answers and information. We are in unchartered waters here, even with 78 years under our belt. I make a promise to my Nonno every day that I will not let him down. And that I will honor this legacy he so bravely, tirelessly built. I do not want to let him down. I don’t want to let my parents down. Or our wonderful chefs, servers, managers, bartenders, hosts, hostesses, bussers, dishwashers, food runners, bar backs, event servers, kitchen team, and their families. So I will remain hopeful. And be bold when I ask of our local and state leaders to provide that guidance. And those resources. And that assistance. Lives depend on it. Dreams depend on it. And so do legacies. Please do not let me down.
Friends – support restaurants. Order delivery. Buy gift cards. Place curbside orders. Share what you are doing on social media. Every bit helps. To my restaurant colleagues – I will order your delivery. I will share it on my social media. I am here, with my entire family, with our entire Gene and Georgetti family – standing with you in solidarity. And with our breath held…hoping. I send you all love.