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The Biggest Austin Dining Grievances of 2017

A sacrifice of quality for aesthetic with a pretty price tag to match

A pita sandwich from Noon Mediterranean
A pita sandwich from Noon Mediterranean
Noon Mediterranean/Facebook

As is the tradition as we near the end of 2017, Eater asked a trusted group of friends, industry types, and local bloggers for their takes on the past culinary year in Austin. The annual survey spans eight questions, from dining surprises to best food neighborhoods and disappointing meals. All answers will be revealed as the week rolls on — cut, pasted, (mostly) unedited, and in no particular order. Readers, add your answers in the comments below. Question number six:

What was your biggest dining grievance of 2017?

Jane Ko, blogger at A Taste of Koko

Well, I just had Noon Mediterranean (formerly known as Verts) recently, and there was plastic in my pita.

Jolène M. Bouchon, critic at Austin Monthly

See my one-, okay, two-word sum-up from yesterday. The current restaurant scene is far too heavily skewed upscale. The fault, I think, lies primarily outside the industry. Rents are just too damned high. It costs several fortunes to open, run, and sustain a new restaurant these days, so a higher target price (and the luxe trappings) makes sense. But I fear we're sacrificing the scrappy, creative endeavors and small mom-and-pop shops as a result. It's pay-to-play, and we're poorer for it.

Veronica Meewes, Zagat Austin editor and freelance food and travel writer

This city seems to have something against delis and I can’t figure out why. What I wouldn’t give for an East Coast-style deli slinging Boar’s Head cold-cut sandwiches, preferably one in each neighborhood.

Brandon Watson, food editor at CultureMap Austin

My gripe has less to do with Austin restaurateurs, who by and large still find new ways to excite me. But I would like to see more of the folks who benefit from the scene help pay for it. The hospitality industry is exceedingly generous; it's right there in the word. But it would be nice to see more of the people who benefit from that generosity support restaurants without compensation and from their own pocketbooks. An Instagram story doesn't pay for the dishwasher. A filled seat does.

Sommer Brugal, freelance writer and contributor at Eater Austin

La Barbecue’s move to Quickie Pickie on Cesar Chavez. Quickie Pickie was my go-to place on weekend mornings because it had that casual, relaxed atmosphere, but still served delicious food. Now, the line for La Barbecue, in addition to the constant commotion, has turned me off from the Cesar Chavez location.

Kelly Stocker, creative consultant, contributor at Eater Austin

Acoustics. Restaurants are incredibly loud. It absolutely ruins the experience.

Tom Thornton, freelance food writer and contributor at Eater Austin

I'm still baffled that more people aren't doing more with Indian and Korean food in the popular restaurant corridors. I think the demand is there.

Anastacia Uriegas, freelance food and cocktail writer


Matthew Odam, restaurant critic at Statesman

Overpriced mediocrity.

Erin Russell, associate editor of Eater Austin

That Unbarlievable is still open.

Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin

Seconding Erin’s answer above. Plus the general lack of food diversity in Austin’s more popular neighborhoods and the proliferation of just okay restaurants.