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Biggest Hopes for the Restaurant Industry in 2023

A wish list for the new year

A man walking down a street flanked by outdoor dining setups with umbrellas and plywood barriers constructed and tall buildings in the background
Outdoor dining was a topic of discussion in NYC.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Welcome to Year in Eater 2022, Eater’s annual ritual of eulogizing the past 12 months through input from the city’s top food writers and New York figures. For 2022’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. Now: What is your biggest hope for the restaurant industry in 2023?

Korsha Wilson, food journalist: More Black-owned spaces and regional specificity in cooking!

Ryan Sutton, chief food critic, Eater NY: Things are still tough out there for operators and average wages are (thankfully) up, but I firmly believe hospitality workers deserve at least a roadmap for phasing out the tipped wage in New York, and I also hope that the state government announces a plan to raise the full minimum wage past $21/hour, so that worker pay can better keep pace with inflation.

Nicolas Heller, New York Nico: I hope that diners make a comeback.

Pat Kiernan, news anchor, NY1: That the city implements a better path for outdoor dining. There’s clearly a demand for it. But it needs to be reframed around the people rather than the restaurants. The sheds are long past their expiration date.

Christopher Robbins, editor, Hell Gate: Our delivery workers need to make a living wage. I hope that starts to happen next year.

Jaeki Cho, host, Righteous Eats: I hope technology to help lower food waste becomes popular and more accessible. The percentage of waste that restaurants have is high, so if we can find ways to either redistribute that, or stop the excessive purchasing earlier in the supply chain, that would be amazing. Because then we can have better solutions for food insecurity, which is an issue that 10-to-15-percent of the U.S. population is facing.

Caroline Shin, contributor, Eater NY: That mom-and-pop restaurants don’t die out from ongoing gentrification, rising costs, and competition from deeper-pocketed companies. That there’s still an opportunity and a future for them here in NYC so they can continue to provide a space to immigrant communities and also imbue the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the personalities directly running the business day to day.

Moonlynn Tsai, co-founder, Heart of Diner: That outdoor dining can stay, and that after the challenges presented in the past few years, the industry will get the support it desperately needs from our government and have a sense of peace to be able to focus on creating and sustaining!

Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet, photographer: More Asian groceries in Brooklyn, please. My girlfriend loves antique-styled apartments so she wants to move to Brooklyn, but I was whining about finding Asian grocery stores over there. I told her we couldn’t eat the building. We are still debating.

Tae Yoon, senior editor, Thrillist: More new openings vs. closings. And that a 4:30 p.m. start time for dinner becomes socially acceptable and normalized.

Carina Kaufman-Gutierrez, deputy director, the Street Vendor Project: This year we’ve seen a lot of independent restaurants working to make the food industry inclusive. Restaurants that are known for having some of the most delicious food in the city like Ollin, A-Pou’s Taste, Yellow Rose, Egg, and Bolivian Llama Party have shown incredible solidarity with street vendors, and we hope to see this inclusivity continue into 2023.

Robert Sietsema, senior food critic, Eater NY: That restaurants will see more durability and not pop in and out of existence with a life span of months, rather than years or decades.

Scott Lynch, contributor, Hell Gate and Brooklyn Magazine: More new $20 dinner spots that aren’t about sandwiches and still provide everyone with a pleasant, meaningful, financially-sustainable life. Maybe this is an impossible dream.

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