“I encourage everybody to apply,” is how Joshua Harris, director of community engagement and government affairs for the Obama Foundation puts it. The RFP to run the restaurant, cafe and catering at the Obama Presidential Center may appear daunting — a requirement for $5 million dollars in annual revenue and five years of experience — but Harris says everybody has a shot at it. He says small storefront and neighborhood restaurants and caterers can form coalitions that could satisfy the requirements, much as a handful of smallish builders banded together for the construction contract. Harris says the overall goal is for the best and most diverse food that Chicago has to offer, not “the typical ham and cheese sandwich shop you see at some museums.” The application process began December first with a handful of key dates on the timeline:

December 1st, 2022 RFP Release

December 14th, 2022 Virtual Info Session

January 6th, 2023 Questions Due

February 17th, 2023 RFP Responses Due

February – May 2023 Evaluation Period

June 2023 Anticipated Contract Date