As is the tradition as we near the end of 2018, 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. Finally, question number eight:
What are your headline predictions for 2019?
Dan Gentile, freelance food writer
The Texas Capitol Revamps Cafeteria into Artisan Food Hall
Famous Chef Everyone Loves Is Actually a Monster
You’ve Never Had a Taco Like This Before!
Veronica Mewes, freelance food writer
“Iconic Longtime Austin Comfort Food Restaurant is Closing”
“Iconic Longtime Austin Hot Dog Restaurant is Closing”
“Iconic Longtime Austin Tex-Mex Restaurant is Closing”
Jane Ko, blogger, A Taste of Koko
Japanese — I think Domo Alley-Gato is just the beginning of Japanese restaurants/bars in Austin.
Pat Sharpe, executive editor and food writer for Texas Monthly
Everybody scoffed at “fusion cuisine” but that’s what’s dominating the dining scene today —so many of the new restaurants are international smorgasbords. Restaurants will continue to be hard-strapped for cooks and servers. Bartenders will be in demand, especially if restaurants continue to be so noisy that diners have to drink to calm their nerves. More female chefs will get the attention they deserve because of the #MeToo movement. Restaurants will continue to deliver platters of food to the table without any serving utensils— are customers supposed to use their dirty forks and spoons!?
Brandon Watson, food editor, CultureMap Austin
Writing food headlines this year has been like filling out Mad-Libs and I suspect 2019 will be more of the same. (Adjective) (Type of cuisine) restaurant opens/shutters in (neighborhood). If that sounds rote, it’s a reflection of a scene that is increasingly losing its heart.
Jimmy Ho, blogger and Eater contributor, The Smoking Ho
The sandwich will make a comeback.
Tom Thornton, freelance food writer and contributor at Eater Austin
Philip Speer’s new downtown place makes a splash; lots of new locations of successful restaurants and coffee bars in southeast and southwest Austin, which remain underserved; The St. Elmo Market becomes the story of the year.
Rachel Holtin, blogger, AustinFoodstagram
Continuation of innovation, as well as more corporate chains eyeing the Austin market. With that said, more closures on the horizon.
Jolène M. Bouchon, critic at Austin Monthly
Same as every year. Not so much a prediction as a wish for a broader range of foods from around the world. And I’m digging how much easier it is to get quick but healthy food. More of that, please.
Erin Russell, associate editor, Eater Austin
“95% of Austin Restaurants Now Owned by Corporate Groups”
“McGuire Moorman Hospitality Takes on Tex-Mex; Menu Features $40 Enchiladas”
Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin
This is me setting an intention for Austin: “Unknown Chef Wows the Country With [Insert Any Type of Cuisine/Fare Besides New American/Tex-Mex/Live-Fire/Neighborhood/All-Day] Restaurant”