Crain's Chicago Business interviews downtown and near downtown owners of expensive Chicago restaurants who complain business was significantly down during the NATO summit weekend. These accounts are meaningful because World Business Chicago, a non-profit headed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, released a much cited report that the summit would catalyze $128 million in Chicago economic activity. But between Friday and Monday, Chicago's center was largely empty except for police and protesters, with neither group downtown for fine cuisine.
There are no immediate estimates on how much money the local economy gained or lost from the summit. The Illinois Restaurant Association argues that Chicago's weekend in the international media spotlight will boost long-term business. The restaurant owners interviewed were dubious of this claim.