MC Slim JB, restaurant critic for The Improper Bostonian: "The proliferation of popular but mediocre chain restaurants in tourist neighborhoods like the Seaport, which is inflicting a line cook and server shortage on far worthier independent restaurants around town. I cringe at the advantages that deep-pocketed nationals have over home-grown talent. Every dink city in the US has those chains; the quality of Boston’s currently-fantastic scene depends on its indies. Support them, I beg you."
BosGuy, blogger: "I am not impressed by hamburger restaurant chains so I'd appreciate it if we would stop treating them as culinary establishments. Chefs who buy fresh ingredients, serve a wide range of foods that are consistently good should be recognized for their talents. I do not care if another Shake Shack opens — actually I would prefer to have that space made available to virtually anyone else who will serve something remotely nutritious and interesting; popularity does not equate to 'good food.' How is that for a restaurant rant?"
Luke O'Neil, freelance writer: "My biggest restaurant grievance continues to be the argument that paying workers a living wage will somehow lead to the desolation of the restaurant scene. This is a fiction. Pay your workers, particularly the back of the house staff doing manual labor and working three jobs. Just because you can get someone to wash dishes for $7-8 an hour doesn't mean it's right to pay them that."
Marc H., founder of Boston's Hidden Restaurants and Boston Restaurant Talk: "Too many chains moving in at the expense of independents. Sure, some of the chains are good, but it's a trend that has devastated the soul of entire Manhattan neighborhoods, and threatens parts of Boston as well."
Damien Smith, community manager for Yelp Boston: "More to the bar, top shelf pricing on low end labels that just happen to be spirits du jour. Old Overholt and Aperol does not a $16 cocktail make. Akin to an $8 'Gansett."
Scott Kearnan, editor of Zagat Boston: "Passing the mic to Ben Edelman on this one. Okay, okay. Um — sharing? Communal dining has its charms, but not every menu needs to be heavily stacked with shareable plates. Sometimes I just want to choose one or two dishes and eat them in peace. [Bats hand away, growls.] Also — there’s still plenty of great dining in the South End, but the neighborhood is due to spice things up a bit, I think. I’d love to see some new blood and innovative concepts move in."