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LA Food Writers Describe the 2019 Dining Scene in One Word

The briefest way to understand the past year

burgers never
Cheeseburger from Burgers Never Say Die
Wonho Frank Lee
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Welcome to Year in Eater, an annual review of some of the best and notable openings and restaurant news that took place in Los Angeles over the past year. Eater LA asks writers, editors, and food luminaries to pitch in to help summary the incredible year in dining that was 2019. Here now, LA food writers and editors attempt to describe the dining scene in one word.

Gary Baum, features writer and restaurant critic for The Hollywood Reporter


Kristie Hang, Eater LA contributor


Andy Wang, writer, Food & Wine


Hadley Tomicki, LA Times contributor


Oren Peleg, LA food writer


Joshua Lurie, FoodGPS founder


Euno Lee, Eater LA contributor


Bill Esparza, Eater LA contributor


Esther Tseng, LA food writer


For many years in L.A. restaurants, people have been talking about the next new thing or the next thing from out of town to expand here, but rarely about what doesn’t work or what has shut down. I think 2019 was the year oversized ambitions, whether from other cities and industries, woke up to the realities of how hard it is to sustain a restaurant here past the year mark.

Stephanie Breijo, Time Out LA editor

High-Low. (Can a hyphenate count?)

Mona Holmes, Eater LA reporter


Cathy Chaplin, Eater LA associate editor


Farley Elliott, Eater LA Senior Editor

Maximum. We’ve not only reached peak saturation with some of the city’s biggest trends (hot chicken, Tijuana and/or birria tacos, smash burgers), we’ve also possibly hit the top of the restaurant ceiling overall. There’s just so much that is open right now, it’s hard to comprehend another gangbusters opening (or closing) year like this any time soon.

Matthew Kang, Eater LA Editor