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The Top Complaints About Dining Out in NYC This Year

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What annoyed and angered people in 2018, including bad coffee and bad men

Food Bank For New York City Can-Do Awards Dinner 2017 - Inside
Mario Batali in 2017
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Food Bank for New York City

Welcome to Year in Eater 2018, Eater’s annual ritual of eulogizing the last year through input from the city’s top food writers. Next up, Eater editors and friends of Eater were asked to dish: What was your biggest dining grievance of 2018?


Alicia Kennedy, food and spirits writer: A general lack of hospitality in Brooklyn.

Chris Gayomali, senior editor at GQ: Chinese takeout boxes used as whimsical food-delivery vessels in non-Chinese restaurants. (Looking at you, Olmsted.) Just put that shit on a plate, fam!

Kat Kinsman, Extra Crispy Senior Food & Drinks Editor and Food & Wine Contributor: Bad dudes haven’t divested yet and are still profiting, even though they’ve ostensibly pulled away from the day to day operations. I thoroughly understand that if you work within that empire you don’t want to have to deal with one of these clownsticks in person, but if they’re just sitting back and getting paid while customers think the coast is clear, that’s also really gross. Step out thoroughly and either do the work and QUIETLY try to become a person who is useful to the world, or go live in isolation on some rich dude island with robots so no one has to deal with you.

Helen Rosner, New Yorker food correspondent: “Neighborhood restaurants” where 90 percent of the room is months-ahead reservations and you show up as a walk-in the moment the doors unlock at 5:30 and they say they can seat you by 9:45.

Matt Buchanan, executive editor at Eater: Extremely militant “complete party” seating policies; e.g., not seating a party of six when five people are there and ready to start ordering / spending money.

Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor at Eater: There was a great crop of new restaurants this year, but few of them felt super destination-worthy. Also, how is it 2018 and there still aren’t hooks below every restaurant bar?

Square being used at a cafe
Square being used at a cafe
Square [Official]

Robert Sietsema, Eater NY senior critic: Cashless restaurants

Matt Rodbard, editor-in-chief, Taste: Honestly, just stop trying so hard. We can feel you straining. Relax. We’ll be cool. Also, restaurant coffee still SUCKS. Particularly in fine dining. You don’t need a fancy machine. Filtered is really OK. Just think about it a little more please. Give us options. Give coffee some love and care, like your precious amaros.

Ryan Sutton, Eater’s chief critic: In an era when so many people are trying to make the hospitality industry a more inclusive place, it strikes me as incredibly odd that more and more big-time operators are banning cash, the most accessible form of payment for so many people.

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter for Eater NY: When restaurants shut down the espresso machine before the end of dinner service.

Stefanie Tuder, senior editor of Eater NY: That people still want to give their money to confirmed sexual harassers.

Priya Krishna, writer and author of forthcoming cookbook Indian-ish: (1) Being told the bar is ALSO part of the waiting list and not first-come, first-served AND (2) Showing up to a restaurant without a reservation and having a host tell me the place was “fully committed” for the evening. I hate that phrase! It’s a restaurant, not a marriage!

Serena Dai, editor of Eater NY: Restaurants are trying to use the term “fine casual” now to describe their slightly fancier fast food restaurants. I will not be using it, thanks.

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