We all have our favorite Sioux Falls restaurants. Our go-to when we're too tired to cook, need a big helping of comfort food, ethnic delights, or a special dessert or cocktail you just can't get anywhere else.

Sioux Falls residents also like to try something new, and/or rotate through their special eateries on a regular basis. Now that pandemic restrictions are easing that desire is increasing, and therein lies the problem.

Finding restaurant staff has become a major difficulty, not only in Sioux Falls but across the nation. Dakota News Now reported that the National Restaurant Association has revealed that "more than half of all sit-down restaurants have staffing levels that are about 20% below normal".

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Due to the sheer number of dining opportunities in Sioux Falls, (Experience Sioux Falls estimates around 700), and the fact that during pandemic lockdowns, many of them were closed, the existing pool of restaurant workers declined, as many looked for other employment.

Dakota New Now spoke with the owners of several much-loved dining spots in the city, including, Mama Lada's, Minerva's, and the Crack'd Pot Restaurant & Bakery. All three owners expressed frustration and concern about the shortage of current staff and the difficulties of recruiting people.

This situation has already led to decreased outdoor dining opportunities without additional staff coverage.

You've got to think this could also mean substantially longer wait times. If the scene I observed last Wednesday at a popular downtown restaurant & pizza eatery was any indication, it is already happening. There was a line out the door stretching down the sidewalk - - midweek!

I guess the word when dining out around the city this summer, will be, patience.

Sources: Dakota News Now and Experience Sioux Falls

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