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Friends of Eater Share Their Biggest Hope for the Restaurant Industry in 2022

What are they looking forward to next year? 

Photo by Stefan Schauberger on Unsplash

As we put a cap on 2021, 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 2021. 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.

Alona Martinez (Eater Miami Contributor): It’s such a tough industry — without an insane and relentless pandemic! My hope is that diners continue to enjoy all the diverse and delightful restaurants our city has to offer, safely (i.e., if you haven’t yet gotten vaccinated, get fully vaccinated!) so that all the manpower that goes into operating a restaurant can continue going to work each day.

Gretchen Schmidt (Edible South Florida): That owners, managers and chefs take advantage of recent events to get creative in food, decor, service, and let these challenges push them to explore fresh ideas and solutions. That approach seemed to help some industry people survive a tough couple of years. And it ain’t over yet.

Amber Love Bond (Eater Miami contributor): I just really hope everyone keeps chugging along and that diners appreciate all the hard work that goes into running their favorite restaurants.

Giovanny Gutierrez (Chat Chow TV/Eater Miami photographer): For everyone to be fully staffed and staying healthy

Matthew Meltzer (Thrillist Miami): I hope the industry is finally able to reconcile its staffing issues, and realize that this is hard f***king work, and people are going to find other things to do if restaurants don’t take care of their employees. That means solid hourly wages, no more taking a cut of the service charges for “management,” benefits, all that good stuff. It’s been happening, and I hope it continues to. If it means prices are higher, so be it, it will weed out the places that aren’t worth the cost.

Stacy Moya (Eater Miami Contributor): That they continue to strive and that more locally owned places open up in West Kendall.

Virginia Gil (Time Out Miami): So many chefs this year bet on themselves and we love to see it. It was so inspiring to see the Instagram pop-ups take a leap of faith on brick-and-mortars, like chef Pablo of Zitz Sum, Ben Murray of Benh Mi and so many others. Chefs felt emboldened to strike out on their own or try their hands at new cuisines and styles—thinking about Scott Linquist and all of the interesting stuff he’s doing over at the Moxie (Como Como and Serena) and Yasu Tanaka at MIA Market, among the handful of chefs I’m forgetting. Plus, I’d be remiss not to plug some of the great people at Time Out Market, including Amaris Jones (queen of fried chicken!), Jeremiah Bullfrog (pizza extraordinaire) and Aitor Garate Berasaluze (two words: Basque cheesecake). Here’s to more Big Chef Energy in 2022.

Juliana Accioly (Eater Miami contributor): Staffing is a big challenge right now. I hope restaurants can find new ways to motivate their employees. Happy employees = Better service.

Kelly Blanco (NBC 6): I hope the restaurant industry in South Florida will be able to be profitable while still remaining true to their roots AKA their prices..not NY ones. I also hope to see more collaborations! My biggest hope is for everyone to buy and serve fresh, healthy South Florida fruits and vegetables.

Olee Fowler (Eater Miami): I hope that we continue seeing livable wages for all restaurant employees, plus other things that most industries take for granted like paid vacation and sick time, health insurance, etc. The industry can’t take its next step in the right direction without those things in place.