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The One Word That Defines NYC’s Restaurant Scene in 2017

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The city’s top food writers summed up the year in dining using (mostly) just one word

The Sosta
Some millennial pink neon at fast-casual Sosta
Mikey Pozarik for The Sosta

Welcome to Year in Eater 2017, Eater’s annual ritual of eulogizing the past 12 months through input from the city’s top food writers. For 2017’s final week, Eater NY will be posting questions daily about New York City’s restaurant scene in the past year, with answers from those who know it best: Eater editors and friends of Eater. Today’s topic: Sum up the 2017 restaurant world in one word.

Serena Dai, Eater NY editor: Meh

Robert Sietsema, Eater NY senior critic: Desperate. With lecherous chefs falling like bowling pins, and other chefs scrambling to redefine the dining experience with fast casuals and micro-focused concepts, as food courts threatened to smother the city and rents continued to rise and many storefronts sat empty, restaurant watchers like me were going a little crazy.

Ryan Sutton, Eater NY chief critic: Failing. I don’t mean financially failing; as long as humans with money exhibit a physiological sense of hunger they will continue to eat out in even the most mediocre establishments. I mean failing at a deeper cultural level. New York’s overwhelmingly male cadre of chefs, investors, and owners can't seem to find a way to make their restaurants serve as vital counterpoints to the world that’s burning down around us. This will continue to be the case as long as the principals keep pursuing monotonous notions of scalability and likability at the expense of gastronomic creativity. And this will continue to be the case as long as those same principals struggle to extricate sexual harassment, physical abuse, and wage theft from their restaurants.

Stefanie Tuder, Eater NY senior editor: Scared

Amanda Kludt, Eater editor-in-chief: Safe

Daniela Galarza, Eater senior editor: Tedious

Sonia Chopra, Eater director of editorial strategy: Boring???

Patty Diez, Eater editorial coordinator: 2016

Devra Ferst, Eater contributor: Culinarily: uneventful. Culturally: explosive.

Mayukh Sen, Munchies staff writer: Uh, “gross”? It’s just impossible to even have this conversation when the news cycle for the past few weeks has been shitstrewn with so many stories of sexual harassment in restaurants. Men in this industry have ruined so many people’s lives. Burn it all down.

Kevin Nguyen, GQ senior editor: Delivery.