Loop busineses take on NATO protest customers
Published: Friday, May 25, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
While the Loop campus closed altogether, most businesses downtown remained open during the NATO summit two weekends ago.
Jimmy John’s employee Adil Jawaid said they stayed open but lost a lot of business. On Friday and Saturday the protesters didn’t bother the restaurant, located at the Loop campus, but Sunday is when the unexpected happened.
“Those damn hipsters wanted to eat sandwiches,” said Jawaid. He thought it was funny that the protesters were on their way to Boeing headquarters and they stopped in to eat and basically support a franchise that is led by a Republican.
In the Loop, some stores were filled with customers during peak protest hours. A Corner Bakery near Millennium Park ran out of bottled water.
“It was the most packed I have ever seen it,” said Genna Tardi, a student journalist from DePaul. Right before the rally on Sunday protesters were buying food for an afternoon snack.
Another DePaul student journalist, Paul Taladan, ate free food during the conference. Seeds of Peace is a food movement that was at all the events. They also travel around the country.
During the summit, Seeds of Peace set up a kitchen line. They provided people with free burritos, beans and other vegetarian and meat options.
Not only were demonstrators eating, but Tardi noticed people dining outdoors in the Loop even though major protests were going on.
“Everyone was dressed up, while lower-class citizens were voicing their opinions. Instead of feeling what the protesters were saying, they busted out cameras and gawked at the protesters,” said Tardi.
“1, 2, 3, f*** the bourgeoisie” was a chant that broke out.
The summit didn’t stop people from shopping because major shopping centers, such as the Water Tower and Shops at Northbridge, were open.
“Those people got hit on hard by the protesters,” said Tardi. Campaigners would yell, “While you’re shopping, bombs are dropping.”
Away from the large demonstrations, downtown restaurants didn’t have any issues.
“It ended up great,” said the manager of Quartino, an Italian restaurant located on the corner of State and Ontario Streets.
Initially, they were going to close the patio, but they opened it up.
“Police did an amazing job,” he said.