As is the tradition as we near the end of 2021, Eater asked a trusted group of friends, industry types, and local bloggers for their takes on the past culinary year in Austin. Given the insanity of this year, Eater has adapted the standard survey into one that reflects the new realities of takeout, restaurant shutters, and a shaky industry. All answers will be revealed before the year ends — cut, pasted, (mostly) unedited, and in no particular order. Question number eight:
What new pivots or innovative ideas have you seen emerge from the events of 2020 that you hope continue into 2022?
Lenny Dewi, @eats_n_noods and Eater contributing writer
Chef Teddy Simon started making, selling, and delivering sushi platters and I hope that will continue on because it is great coming home to a delicious dinner from a busy workday. Also hoping that online table reservations will continue, as well as QR code menus.
Raphael Brion, Texas editor, The Infatuation, and former editor of Eater
I’m really into the super immersive experiences, whether it’s Justine’s ultra-luxe chandelier-lit semi-private cabanas, Tiki Tatsu-Ya’s mind-bending cocktail bar, Sammie’s old-school red-sauce joint, or Tsuke Edomae’s tiny sushi bar that feels like you’ve been transported to Tokyo.
Pat Sharpe, executive editor and food writer for Texas Monthly
At so many restaurants I visit, I see “We’re Hiring!” signs on the door or in the window. Workers are leaving the field in droves because it’s hard to make a living wage. On the flip side, restaurants are being forced to pay more just to staff to a minimal level. This is not sustainable. I said this last year, but it’s still true: the whole system of tipping is broken and it’s time to get real about fixing it.
Erin Russell, associate editor of Eater Austin
More socially conscious pop-ups, please!
Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin
More “not-big-name/the-same-chefs” starting their own exciting food businesses.
Keep takeout ordering around.
Continue to include thoughtful outdoor dining spaces.
More livable wages and health care for ALL restaurant workers.
- Austin Food Experts’ Exciting New Go-To Restaurants in 2021 [EATX]
- Where Austin Food Writers Had Their Best Restaurant Meals in 2021 [EATX]
- Austin Food Experts Lament the City’s Saddest Restaurant Closures in 2021 [EATX]
- Local Food Experts Share Their Most Anticipated Austin Restaurants of 2022 [EATX]
- Austin Food Writers Name the Best Dining Neighborhoods in the City in 2021 [EATX]
- Industry Experts Predict Austin Restaurant Headlines for 2022 [EATX]
- These Austin Restaurants Have Really Stepped Up for Their Communities in 2021 [EATX]