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LA Dining Experts Discuss Their Biggest Hopes for the Restaurant Industry in 2022

After another tumultuous year with COVID-19, hopes are high

Welcome to the Year in Eater 2021 an annual tradition that looks back at the highs, lows, and in-betweens of Los Angeles’s restaurant scene. Today, LA’s finest food writers, editors, and reporters share their biggest hopes for the restaurant industry.

Caroline Pardilla, Freelance Writer and Eater LA Contributor

That small businesses are better protected, whether from the price-gouging of delivery apps or when they have to police mask/vaccine mandates and endure bad Yelp reviews and attacks. The past two years have been heartbreakingly tough for the smaller restaurants and bars with many having to shutter. If this continues, the future of dining out could look homogeneous where we’ll have nothing but boring chain restaurants. No adventurous cuisine, a lot of the same faces running the kitchens.

Danielle Dorsey, LA Thrillist Editor

It’s been great to see the restaurant industry come back to life in the second half of this year, including all of the new spots that have opened up, but I’d like to see more of that happening with family-owned restaurants, personal chefs, and within BIPOC communities where people don’t always have huge investments or backing.

Esther Tseng, Freelance Food Writer

Sustainable restaurant models that support a living wage for all their employees which receive the support of an increasingly conscientious dining public, who themselves are paid equitably for their own work. I’d also love to see a higher percentage of restaurants supply health care and pay living wages for their employees, but we need an increasingly conscientious dining public who themselves are more equitably paid for their own work, as well. Like any industry, the restaurant sector does not live in a vacuum and we need to recognize that people suffer for the shortcuts that are made, such as not tipping the correct amount. The more we recognize the costs of food, the labor of harvesting that food and the costs it incurs to transport it, prepare it and set it on our tables, the more equitably everyone in the food chain (and outside it) can be paid for their work.

Evan Kleiman, Good Food host

That diners finally understand and accept what it really costs restauranteurs to do what they do.

Farley Elliott, Eater LA Senior Editor

Health and safety for workers, management, and ownership. The pandemic is still here, and to pretend otherwise in public dining settings is to put people at risk.

Casa Vega’s expansive new outdoor dining area with hanging lights and scattered tables.
Casa Vega
Dave Schwep

Josh Lurie, Founder

My hope for the restaurant community is that we can collectively get COVID-19 under control so they can just focus on earning a living, which is hard enough even during simpler times.

Lesley Suter, Eater Travel Editor

Consistency! For their sake! I hope there are no more regulatory yo-yos, and everyone can find some sense of steady footing this next year.

Matthew Kang, Eater LA Editor

I hope Koreatown continues to thrive with amazing restaurants.

Mona Holmes, Eater LA Reporter

My biggest hope is that Congress renews the Restaurant Revitalization Fund so restaurants can thrive during this difficult time. Another hope lies with the customers that dine out regularly. I hope there’s more empathy provided when dining out and/or leaving complaints online.

Nicole Adlman, Eater Cities Manager

I hope for restaurants the same thing I hope for me in 2022: greater stability, continued resiliency, and boundless inspiration.

Patricia Kelly Yeo, Food & Drink Editor, TimeOut L.A.

I hope the industry more firmly regains its footing in a way that is sustainable and more humane for restaurant workers. Despite all the openings and events I cover at TimeOut, every spot is struggling for staff and dealing with supply chain issues.

Outside Grand Central Market in Downtown LA with diners amid glowing blue lights.
Grand Central Market
Wonho Frank Lee
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