Michelin restaurant guide returns in these cities after being on pause during the pandemic

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Restaurant stars will shine once again.

The Michelin guide is bringing back its coveted star ratings after being on pause in the U.S. amid industry shutdowns during the pandemic. The guide typically debuts in the fall.

The Michelin Guide will announce the newest additions to its guide via a three-week "Still Serving" virtual series from three food-focused cities to start including Washington D.C. between April 18 through the 23; Chicago from April 25 through April 30; and New York between May, 2 and May 7.

The Michelin guide is bringing back its coveted star ratings after being on pause in the U.S. amid industry shutdowns. (iStock)

The virtual awards will also serve up its 2021 restaurant guides on Instagram. The French tire company will also roll out a guide to California in the coming months, it said on its website. 

"A monumental shift has taken place throughout the restaurant community, requiring everyone to pivot in their own unique way — The MICHELIN Guide, included," Gwendal Poullennec, international director of The MICHELIN Guides, said in a statement. "We look forward to highlighting the accomplishments of the industry’s most resilient restaurants, who, despite the toughest year, are still serving."

The guide will announce restaurants in the Plate category, the MICHELIN Green Star and special awards, including Sommelier and Young Chef, according to its website. 

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The restaurant industry continues to rebound after having to pivot to take-out and delivery-only during quarantine causing many restaurants to temporarily close or worse, shut down for good. Out of 110,000 restaurants globally, around 17% have had to shut down for good or close temporarily, the National Restaurant Association reported in December. And 87% of restaurants reported a 36% drop in sales revenue, according to the same data. 

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And some chefs say the return of the guide is still premature. 

Chicago-based owner of the three-Michelin star restaurant Alinea, Nick Kokonas tweeted in response to the reinstated guide: 

"Curious how the Michelin guide can rate restaurants in Chicago that have been essentially close for over a year. We’ve worked hard on To Go but that’s not meant to be 3*. And they can’t have dined in. So why the new guide?" Kokonas said, suggesting the guide return in 2022 instead. "Not now. Now is rebirth," he continued.  

A number of Michelin-rated restaurants pivoted from fine dining to food bank efforts feeding first responders and those in need throughout the pandemic. Chef Daniel Hum of three Michelin star restaurant Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan's Flatiron District, reopened as a soup kitchen last April, making dishes such as braised beef and bolognese for hospital workers and people around New York City.  And D.C.-based chef Jose Andres through his charity effort World Central Kitchen also used his restaurants to help feed first responders.

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