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Friends of Eater Share Their Biggest Hope for the Restaurant Industry in 2021

What are they looking forward to next year?

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As we (finally!) put a cap on 2020, Eater surveyed a group of friends, writers, and all around experts for their take on the past year. We asked them ten questions: from top standbys to top newcomers, from best meals to restaurants they’ve broken up with. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the 2020. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Responses do not necessarily reflect the views of Eater and Eater Miami.

Laine Doss (Miami New Times): That property owners realize that a restaurant is the backbone of a community. And that an empty space with a for lease sign on the window doesn’t drive people to your neighborhood. When one domino drops, all of them tend to fall.

Belkys Nerey (WSVN 7): Your favorite restaurant won’t be there unless you support them now! Order take-out, order drinks to go and tip BIG!!!!

Amber Love Bond (Eater Miami contributor): I hate to say that I don’t know if restaurants will fully recover in 2021. I hope they continue to find ways to run in a way that’s profitable and safe for them and their staff.

Giovanny Gutierrez (Chat Chow TV/Eater Miami photographer): That everyone survives and thrives in 2021.

Matthew Meltzer (Thrillist Miami): On a micro level, I hope restaurants find ways to be less wasteful with delivery and take out food. It was appalling how much single-use plastic was used in a lot of the delivery meals I got, and it just felt like the pandemic wiped out so much of the work people had put in to moving away from that stuff. On a macro level, I hope Miami continues to show the world that keeping restaurants open is the way to recovery. I know it’s controversial, but keeping places in business is so vital for a city’s economy and just general well-being, and my hope is the industry flourishes in 2021 and shows everyone cracking jokes about “Floridiots” in other cities that we actually know what we’re doing.

Gretchen Schmidt (Edible South Florida): That restaurateurs will use the extraordinary challenges they faced in 2020 to kickstart creative solutions to business as usual. That local government officials will recognize that the local agriculture community – in particular, farms and farmers markets – are essential services that should be nurtured, supported and promoted, not just because they are businesses, but because they are integral to the health and well-being of South Florida.

David Rosendorf (Food For Thought): That I can comfortably sit down in a restaurant without worry and have someone say “Have you dined with us before? Let me explain how our menu works. Everything is meant to be shared even though it may be plated as three small bites when you’re a table of four, and dishes will come out of the kitchen when they’re ready, without any sense of how you might prefer to eat them.” Never thought I’d miss that. But seriously: I hope everyone stays healthy, that the industry gets the support it needs from federal and local government and the dining public, and that we regain some sense of normalcy at some point in the next year.

Stacy Moya (Eater Miami Contributor): That more locally owned restaurants open up in West Kendall (wink, wink!).

Virginia Gil (Time Out Miami): Resilience and survival. I really hope the good ones make it out alive and thrive.

Alona Martinez (Eater Miami Contributor): Don’t forget kindness: it forged the industry through these tough times, buoyed restaurants that were sinking, and helped build new avenues for those pulled under covid’s riptide.

Sara Liss (Author of Miami Cooks): That small independent chef-driven spots continue to thrive and be supported by the local community.

Jennifer Agress (Freelance restaurant writer): That it comes back bigger and better than it left us before quarantine. Miami’s talented chefs deserve it!

Olee Fowler (Eater Miami): That the restaurant community gets a true proper bailout to keep them afloat in 2021, because things certainly won’t go back to “normal” anytime soon. Our government on both a federal and local levels have failed the industry so terribly, and I am hoping with new leadership taking over they can give restaurants the help they so truly need.