The Plain Dealer Business section gave us a nice article about the state of the restaurant scene in the area. The piece can be found here.
In short: Over 200 restaurants have closed in the area this past year which is above the national average, which in turn is the worst so far this decade. Customers admit to going out less and spending less when they do. Panini's bucks the trend opening 2 new outlets this year pushing under $10 sandwiches. Doug Katz praises local restaurants for their ability to quickly adjust to the situation.
The article is well written from a neutral point of view presenting facts, and letting the opinions of those interviewed move the story along.
What's lost in this piece, or to continue the discussion would be to consider the little guys, the workers who are affected. Considering just the kitchen, if every restaurant that closed this past year averaged 12 employees then about 2,500 people are unemployed. Specificly in my situation the market is now flooded with people looking for the same job I am. The optomist might say, "but restaurants have opened," but inreality they are not opening at nearly an equal pace, and what can be added to the number of restaurants that closed are the numbers from restaurants that closed for lunch, or cut back staff. It looks fairly dismal if you look at it too long, so look away and go cook something!