Weather like we've had this week is not only tough on the citizenry of Portland, it can be hell for local restaurants. If there isn't any foot traffic, and people don't want to drive, business tends to go right into the shitter.

I talked to several restaurant owners last week who told me that the snow and cold have caused a dwindling number of diners. Add that to an already slow holiday season and you have a perfect storm of economic woe. This kind of thing can drive a struggling business right into the ground.

So, I'll make this plea on behalf of Portland restaurants: Go out and eat somewhere tonight. The weather won't be too bad, and all the snow makes for a gorgeous walk. This is the perfect time to check out that neighborhood bar or eatery that you've been meaning to try. Plus, there's really nothing like coming in from the cold to a warm restaurant and friendly service, peeling off a couple layers of clothing, and looking through fog tinted windows into a winter wonderland.

Believe me, they'll be glad you're there. Just call ahead and make sure they're open; If they're serious about what they do, the lights will likely still be on.

And check out this weeks Last Supper for an update on how some of my favorite restaurants from this year are doing in the current economic climate.

But in the meantime: shake off the cabin fever and support your local eateries.