As is tradition, in late 2020 Eater asked a trusted group of friends, industry guys, and local bloggers for their views on the past year of culinary delights in Austin. Given the madness of this year, Eater has turned the standard survey into a survey that reflects the new realities of takeaways, restaurant stores, and a shaky industry. All answers are published before the end of the year – cut, pasted, (mostly) unedited and in no particular order. Last question:
What is your greatest hope for the hospitality industry in 2021?
Pat Sharpe, editor-in-chief and food writer for Texas monthly
That everyone in the industry will get a little bit of R&R at some point. They aren’t going to take a lot of time off the course – they’re the hardest working people in show business – but I hope their clients give them a big thank you for everything they do. Without restaurants, our life wouldn’t be nearly as fun.
Nicolai McCrary, Austin staff writer, The infatuation
We have already seen changes in the way restaurants work. Ramen Tatsu-ya used to be pretty tough on takeout, but now it has become a lifestyle for so many to eat their ramen in your sweatpants at home. Ultimately, I just want restaurants to thrive in 2021, whether that means stepping up security to keep operations going or just tweaking things out for takeout and delivery. Because we’re not out yet. We have seen some restaurants adapt in amazing ways – from reopening as sandwich shops to turning to omakase dinners at home – and I hope these trends continue so that we can continue to support all of the restaurants that we know and love.
Katie Friel, Editor, CultureMap Austin
My hope is that the restaurant industry and everyone else can switch out of survival mode and move forward again and dream big.
Robert Jacob Lerma, photographer for Eater Austin and others
Relief. And a comeback story in the second half of 2021. Everyone loves a comeback story.
Lenny Dewi, @eats_n_noods and Eater contributing writer
My greatest hope is that they will stay open and continue to contribute to the community and help one another as everyone has tried to stay afloat. I’ve seen companies shoutouts to other companies on social media, and I hope it continues to do so.
Jane Ko, blogger, A taste of Koko
The silver lining of this pandemic shows how quickly our Austin community has banded together to support our local restaurants and help one another. We’re stronger together so I hope we can do that in 2021 as well.
Erin Russell, Associate Editor of Eater Austin
I agree with everything that has been said here: relief, hope, and a long, relaxing vacation. I don’t know how restaurant workers can cope with the stress of the pandemic and still offer great hospitality every day, but they deserve admiration (and fair wages) for it.
Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin
Seconding / thirding what everyone else has already said. I hope the industry gets a much-needed break from EVERYTHING.
I hope restaurant owners and chefs take the spiritual well-being and health of their employees to heart.
I hope restaurants / owners / chefs stay or become aware of all communities, from the way they treat their food to the way they consider and treat others. Please do not let the events of summer end. Problems of inequality and systemic racism, including in restaurants, are here forever.
I hope the government (federal to state to city) tries to work better with industry so that both public health and the local economy can safely go hand in hand (and no more abrupt / flip-flop orders).