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Friends of Eater Name Their Biggest Restaurant Grievance of 2014

Sad shutters, overused ingredients and under-served neighborhoods.

Nadia Chaudhury/EATX
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Melanie Haupt, restaurant critic for The Chronicle and author of Historic Austin Restaurants
That new restaurants fail to build their opening hours around my particular schedule. The places I want to check out for lunch aren't open for lunch when I want them to be and the places I want to check out for dinner aren't open when I want them to be. Can we all just get on Melanie Standard Time, please? Thanks.

Megan Giller, editor of Zagat Austin
Menus that sound great but can’t deliver.

Jane Ko, editor at A Taste of Koko and food photographer
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas. One Michelin star? More like one star out of 5. Overcooked lobster, neglectful service... way overrated.

Dan Gentile, staff writer at Thrillist
Veracruz All Natural charging $3 for a Topo Chico.

Meredith Bethune, CultureMap and Serious Eats contributor
Style over substance. Too many pricey restaurants in town focus on interior design and the "experience" over outstanding food and service.

Veronica Meewes, CultureMap and Austin Monthly contributor
I was really sad to hear Dog & Duck Pub was closing. In general, I try to embrace the inherent changes in our growing city, but it's always jarring to see an Austin institution like that shutter and we lost several this year (Tamale House, Players). Even though they plan to move right near my house, there's no way the new building can do the old one justice. And in a city with very few true pubs, I just found that really disappointing. While I'm sure Dog & Duck couldn't do much about the situation with rent prices skyrocketing, Austin in general doesn't seem to have the same respect for history as older cities do, and I hope that "out with the old, in with the new" mentality changes.

Tom Thornton, CultureMap food and drink editor
A lack of quality restaurant options generally and whole genres missing in South/Southwest Austin. There are a lot of diners who will happily support expansions to 78745 and 78749, and first movers like Pinthouse Pizza and Via 313 are going to do huge business.

Patricia Sharpe, executive editor/food writer, Texas Monthly
I’ve had it with menus that just list random ingredients in a dish  "Brisket, nine spice, soured cream, black garlic" — instead of a clear description that a customer can understand. And, yes, that’s a real example (from another city).

Melody Fury, Serious Eats and Eater Austin contributor and blogger at Gourmet Fury
Is it just me or are many kitchens too trigger happy with salt? I’ve had several meals where I could hardly taste the food because it was overly salty. I recall one meal in specific where I had to push my plate away. Show some constraint and let the ingredients speak for themselves, for crying out loud.

Nadia Chaudhury, associate editor at Eater Austin
I love sharing meals. It’s the best way to get a little taste of everything. I just wish the portions were a bit more manageable depending on how many diners there are, so that there’s enough to share for for everyone. And as a side note, the lack of really good bagels in Austin is really, really upsetting to me.

Meghan McCarron, editor at Eater Austin
This phrase keeps cropping up on menus and restaurant websites: "we source locally whenever possible." What, exactly, defines possible? Local ingredients can limit restaurants by season, availability and price, and certain cuisines are better suited to the August okra avalanche than others. But "whenever possible" strikes me as a particularly empty phrase, one that contributes to the odious fetishization of "localness" as an idea rather than a set of responsible practices. I'd much rather see restaurants who aren't hyper-focused on sourcing to run local specials or note the farms they work with and call it a day.