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Hopes for the Restaurant Industry in 2024

A wish list for the new year from food writers and other industry figures

Street food vendors seen in Corona, Queens.
New Yorkers called for more support for restaurant owners and food vendors.
Pacific Press/Getty

Welcome to Year in Eater, Eater’s annual ritual of eulogizing the past 12 months through input from the city’s top food writers and figures. For 2023’s final week, Eater New York 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 next year?

Izzy Baskette, staff writer for Thrillist: That restaurants find a way to end this crazy battle over reservations, making it so you can drop by and wait for a table again.

Matty Chau, son of Instagram influencer Mike Chau (@foodbabyny): That the new Mama’s Too opens.

Charlotte Druckman, freelance writer: I have two, and they’re not unrelated: One, that restaurants can afford to be more affordable so that more people can go out and enjoy them, and that we, as diners, can do our part in that, by distinguishing cost from value. Two, that restaurants stop catering to or hosting TikTok personalities or “influencers” in exchange for hyped, uncritical content (and correspondingly: stop designing their venues, menus and so-called “platforms” to appeal to said content creators).

Scott Lynch, writer for Brooklyn Magazine and Hell Gate: I wish going out to eat didn’t cost so much money. Not sure what anyone can do about that, though.

Rob Martinez, producer for Righteous Eats: My biggest hope for the restaurant industry in 2024 is that our small businesses get more support. Rincon Criollo, one of our most important Cuban restaurants, closed this year. Corona Plaza got swept and vendors lost their livelihoods for months. Congestion pricing is going to increase the cost of delivery to restaurants, when the cost of goods has already risen dramatically. These eateries define our culture, and they’re not being protected or advocated for enough.

Julian Mu (@mubereats), Instagram influencer: I hope more financial and social resources are allocated to local businesses and mom-and-pop restaurants so they have the support needed to not only survive but thrive.

Caroline Shin, freelance writer: My biggest hope is that chefs keep leaning into their heritage so New Yorkers get this massive spread of different regional cuisines within the chefs’ respective countries — and that there’s still a growing demand for this in terms of diners and media. Also, I applaud zero-waste endeavors like at Hav and Mar. I’ve started bringing my own containers for leftovers, and I hope I keep that up all next year. And I urge people to join me in this — just trying not to waste so much.

Britt Lam, social media manager, the Infatuation: More accessible reservations, less expensive cocktails... A girl can dream!

Kate Kassin, editorial operations manager, Bon Appetit: That more places continue to go from pop-up to brick and mortar. These are the restaurants and bakeries that started in apartments during the pandemic, as food trucks or farmers market stalls, or as roving dinner series. Typically, the chefs are cooking the food they actually want to cook, while getting the chance to experiment.