What food experts hope for Austin’s restaurant industry in 2021


As is tradition as we near the end of 2020, Eater asked a group of trusted friends, industry guys, and local bloggers for their take on the past culinary year in Austin. Given this year’s craziness, Eater has adapted the standard poll into one that reflects the new realities of takeout, restaurant shutters and a volatile industry. All the answers will be revealed before the end of the year – cut, pasted, (mostly) unedited and in no particular order. Last question :

What is your greatest hope for restoration in 2021?

Pat Sharpe, Editor-in-Chief and Culinary Editor for Texas monthly
Let everyone in the industry receive a bit of R&R at some point. They won’t take much time outside of the course – they’re the people who work the most in the entertainment business – but I hope their clients will thank them immensely for everything they do. Our lives wouldn’t be so fun without restaurants.

Nicolai McCrary, Austin Editor, Enthusiasm
We have already started to see changes in the way restaurants operate. Previously, Tatsu-ya ramen was pretty strictly opposed to takeout, but now eating their ramen at home in your sweatpants has become a way of life for many. Ultimately, I just want to see restaurants thrive in 2021, whether that means increasing security measures to keep operating, or just optimizing things for take out and delivery. Because we are not out of it yet. We’ve seen some restaurants adapt in incredible ways – from reopening as sandwich shops to pivoting to home omakase dinners – and I hope these trends continue so that we can continue to support every restaurant we know of. and love.

Katie Friel, editor, CultureAustin Map
My hope is that the restaurant industry, and everyone for that matter, can get out of survival mode and start moving forward and dreaming big again.

Robert Jacob Lerma, photographer for Eater Austin and others
Relief. And a comeback story in the second half of 2021. Everyone loves a comeback story.

Lenny Dewi, @eats_n_noods and contributing writer Eater
My greatest hope is that they stay open and continue to contribute to the community and help each other as everyone tries to stay afloat. I have seen companies greet other companies on social media and I hope this will continue.

Jane Ko, blogger, A taste of Koko
The silver lining of this pandemic is how quickly our Austin community has come together to support our local restaurants and help each other. We’re stronger together, so hopefully we can do the same in 2021.

Erin Russell, Associate Editor of Eater Austin
I agree with everything that is said here: relief, hope and a long, relaxing vacation. I’m not sure how restaurant workers can handle the stress of the pandemic and still provide excellent hospitality every day, but they deserve admiration (and fair wages) for it.

Nadia Chaudhury, Editor-in-Chief of Eater Austin
Second / third what everyone has already said. Hope the industry gets a well-deserved break from EVERYTHING.

I hope that restaurateurs and chefs take the mental well-being and health of their employees to heart.

I hope that restaurants / owners / chefs will stay or become more attentive to all communities, from how they approach their food to how they view and treat others. Please don’t let the events of the summer go to waste. The problems of inequality and systemic racism, including in restaurants, are here forever.

Hopefully the government (federal to state to city) will try to work better with industry so that public health and local economies can be safely seen hand in hand (and no more harsh orders). / flip-flop).

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