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Chicago is offering $5,000 to residents who can come up with a solution to winter outdoor dining in the city

INSIDER logoINSIDER 8/29/2020 insider@insider.com (Zoë Ettinger)
a large body of water with a city in the background: Chicago is known for its freezing winter temperatures. Joe Daniel Price/Getty Images © Joe Daniel Price/Getty Images Chicago is known for its freezing winter temperatures. Joe Daniel Price/Getty Images
  • The City of Chicago is offering a cash prize of $5,000 to three residents who come up with the best ideas for winter outdoor dining, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced.
  • Local restaurants and community members will judge the proposals and entrants must provide research, a prototype, information on COVID-19 safety, and other materials.
  • Some ideas have included individual heated greenhouses, plastic domes, and igloos.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Three residents of Chicago, Illinois could win a cash prize of $5,000 for coming up with the best idea for winter dining in the city. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the Winter Dining Challenge on Twitter this week, noting that Chicago winters have a "reputation." 

"We're asking Chicagoans to share their ideas for innovative winter outdoor dining solutions that adhere to COVID-19 protocols so we can support our favorite local restaurants while keeping Chicagoans healthy," she wrote.

As Business Insider previously reported last year, Chicago, "the windy city," experiences one of the country's harshest winters. On average, it gets 36.7 inches of snow and has an average temperature of 26.7 degrees Fahrenheit. But because it sits beside Lake Michigan, the city experiences cruel winds that feel colder — in early 2019, the air temperature was minus 24 degrees Fahrenheit, but the wind felt like minus 54 degrees Fahrenheit.

The winter dining contest was created along with IDEO, a California-based design company, BMO Harris Bank, and the Illinois Restaurant Association, and is open to submissions until 11:30 p.m. on September 7. Chicagoans can submit their proposals online to a panel of judges that will include local restaurants and community residents. 

According to IDEO's press release, each entry must include research, a prototype, details on feasibility, an overview of how it addresses the city's needs, along with a few other materials.

Each entry must also adhere to the City of Chicago's COVID-19 guidelines.

Winners will be selected in three categories: outdoor, standalone structures; indoor-adjacent spaces; and cultural shifts making winter dining more appealing.


Video: Chicago Announces 'Winter Design Challenge' To Come Up With Solutions For Outdoor Dining During Winter (CBS Chicago)

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Some Twitter users responded to Lightfoot's Twitter announcement with images of their own ideas and thoughts on the challenge.

User @tinaandgary responded with a photo of an small, individually sized greenhouse.

"With heaters of course," she captioned the photo.

Twitter user @DopeTyler posted a photo of plastic domes that he said are already in use at local establishment City Winery Chicago.

"Take notes @CityWineryChi," he wrote.

Other users suggested igloos and heated tents as solutions for winter outdoor dining. 

"Use pods or 'igloos', so each dining group is walled off from the others," one user wrote.

"Use outdoor market tents and install portable heaters. Use that concept on the restaurants in Old Town and Part of Wrigleyville," another commented.

Winners of the challenge will be announced in mid-September.

Representatives for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and IDEO, respectively, did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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