In keeping with the Eater tradition, our close of the year is a survey of friends, industry guys, and bloggers. To start in the Carolinas, Eater asked the group seven questions, ranging from the restaurants they frequented to take out to the saddest surprises of the year. Responses are in no particular order and readers are encouraged to leave responses in comments.
Q. What is your greatest hope for the restaurant industry in 2022?
Matt Lardie, freelance writer and contributor Eater Carolinas, covering NC
My greatest hope is that in the third year of the pandemic, the catering public finally realizes the important assets restaurants have to our community and treats the industry and staff with the respect they deserve. Wear your mask when asked, tip well (20% is the bare minimum), and be kind to your waiters, bussers, hosts, and bartenders.
Sam Spence, Editor-in-chief of Charleston City Paper
It has been difficult seeing excellent waiters and bartenders in and out of our favorite places – and knowing the stress that puts them on them and the rest of the house. Hopefully, business models and wages can find a balance so that smaller independent restaurants can push the reset button (again) with a little more calm.
Marion B. Sullivan, Charleston Magazine food editor
The third wave of Covid is closing restaurants across the country. I hope they will be able to hold out.
Eric ginsburg, freelance journalist and contributor Eater Carolinas, covering NC
Hopefully local restaurants will be able to survive the ongoing pandemic, and owners will focus on what is most important – their staff.
Cele and Lynn Seldon, Seldon ink
May they manage to keep their doors open by providing civilized service from waiters who want to be there and who are well paid and taken care of.
Kenneth andrews, Contributor Eater Carolinas
I hope people can really start to rebuild and prosper again after this extremely difficult time in the food and drink world.
KJ Kearney, founder of Black Food Fridays
Charleston is known for the food. I understand. But we need more diversity in the kitchen. We just had a Pakistani restaurant (!) But still no African cuisine! And that’s not about the many other cultures that live here but aren’t featured in the food. Hopefully restaurant investors are open to finding and funding the under-represented and systematically oppressed.
Hanna raskin, Editor-in-Chief and Editor of The Food Section
Hope everyone who works there is paid well and treated with respect by managers and guests.
Dave Infante, editor of Fingers, an independent newsletter on alcohol consumption in America
Charleston in particular? I guess I hope people stop opening up old-fashioned concepts that clearly target tourists with the lowest common denominator and instead invest in building businesses where residents can actually afford to eat. Don’t be fooled by the jaw-dropping praise from the glossy magazines: the scene is deteriorating here, and catering to visitors rather than locals is a big reason why.
Jacob Pucci, food reporter for The Fayetteville Observer
That more restaurateurs establish relationships with local producers and suppliers. Some places do it well, but many don’t. The supply chain problems exacerbated by the pandemic should be proof that buying local is the way to go. I also hope that diners treat the restaurant staff with more respect and be more understanding. It has been a difficult two years for everyone.
Jenn Rice, freelance writer and contributor Eater Carolinas, covering NC
Not having to ride this endless roller coaster of “what happens next?” ”
Maggie Ward, event and marketing manager of The Local Palate
More than anything, I hope the warriors who have kept the restaurant industry alive over the past two brutal years get the break they deserve. Staff crises, supply chain issues, and downright disrespectful customers, our food and beverage professionals have fought a war to feed us, to keep us entertained, and to keep us safe. Since there are a lot of things most of us can’t control in today’s weird world, my hope for 2022 is that everyone in the industry feels our appreciation for everything. they keep doing – and maybe have a little fun while they do, too.
Erin perkins, editor Eater Carolinas
I hope small restaurateurs can not only survive but thrive in 2022.
Stephanie Burnette, Eat Drink Carolines
I’m not sure if that’s my biggest hope, but I think 2022 may be the year that restaurants find a way to offer secure parking to their employees at no cost. Too many servers can no longer afford to live within walking distance of their work.
Barbara Skidmore, Eater Carolinas contributor, covering SC and Savannah
The ability to continue to provide customers with the ability to dine in a safe manner.
Melissa Howsam, editor-in-chief Raleigh Magazine
Full people, full houses, full bellies – a happy community from all angles.