Local restaurants face inflation surges while trying to maintain quality and price

SPOKANE, Wash. — From cereal to rent, nearly everything you’re paying for right now is costing you more. The cost of food has been going up for months, and it’s not only affecting your grocery bill. Now, our local restaurants face yet another challenge.

A local favorite, Chaps, has come out strong despite the struggles it faced during COVID. Now it’s facing a new hurdle and that’s price inflation. As a result, it is changing its menu daily.

That includes having to take off one of its most popular dishes for now: the fish and chip.

“Last week we just had to take our halibut off the menu because it’s doubled in price,” Sous Chef Chris Poole explained.

Owner Celeste Shaw is determined to serve her customers the same way they were served pre-pandemic, despite the fact that nearly everything they serve is costing them more.

“Inflation doesn’t just find itself on the plate that’s absorbed by the customer. It really goes from the supplier to the restaurant, to the customer, and back to the restaurant,” Shaw explained.

A year ago, chicken wings were $45 per case. Today, that price is $175 for the same product. That is just one of many examples.

“This is an industry where you’ve saved up to be treated to something special. You look to going out as something you deserve, you’ve worked hard for, and you’re paying more for receiving less,” Shaw said.

Chaps has not increased its prices so far. The restaurant is buying locally and hoping that with enough people coming in, they can overcome the deficit. It’s the local love and perseverance that have kept them afloat.

The struggles haven’t tarnished Shaw’s passion for what she does. “It’s magic! I love serving and I think when you love anything that has to come with trauma and joy, ups and downs, and you just, you want to navigate them because you believe in what you’re doing,” she explained.

“I guess the biggest thing is just having patience with everyone in this industry and the service industry in general. We’re just trying to do the best that we can do,” Poole said.

Chaps recently opened for dinner on Thursdays and Fridays and hopes to expand to more days in the future.

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