As is Eater’s annual tradition, we’re closing out 2018 by surveying local food writers (including our own staff and contributors) on various restaurant-related topics, and we’re publishing their responses in these final days of the year. Readers, please feel free to chime in with your own thoughts in the comment section below, or hop into our Facebook group to discuss — we’ll post a thread for each survey question.
Keep an eye on the Year in Eater page for other stories in this series.
Up next: What was your biggest dining grievance in 2018? (See the 2017 responses here.)
“Gentrification in tandem with Boston’s insane liquor licensing system is a pox on our dining scene. Gentrification isn’t inherently awesome or evil, but it pains me to see it as an agent that is shrinking restaurant clusters like Chinatown by raising rents unsustainably. Erbaluce, my favorite restaurant in Boston, is closing largely because its landlord is remodeling the building into luxury condos, and by the time the work is finished, chef/owner Chuck Draghi will have lost his liquor license, with a new one costing somewhere near half a million dollars. Many of our talented young chefs end up fleeing the city the moment they want to open places of their own: Again, rents and liquor license costs make realizing their dreams within Boston city limits impossible. I don’t know how to fix the former, but I would love to see Governor Charlie Baker spearhead an end to the old power grab that stole control of Boston’s licensing cap and gave it to state legislators. It is strangling restaurant innovation and joy here.”
Jacqueline Cain, deputy food editor at Boston magazine:
“I’m sick of uninspired music playlists.”
“Music volume. I can’t understand why restaurants, particularly new ones, feel the need to assault ears at thumping, Ibiza-nightclub levels. And unless you’re specifically a nightlife or live music venue, please don’t bring in a DJ.”
“Loud spaces. It almost seems like some restaurant owners actually don’t want to have people talk to each other while they’re dining out or having a drink.”
Sam Hiersteiner, contributor to the Boston Globe and more:
“Life comes at you and it’s hard to keep up with a scene sometimes. I wish I could have gotten out more to enjoy all the newness in and around Boston.”
“Mostly that it felt like at least three years. So much happened this year in Boston’s restaurant world (though maybe that’s a good thing) that now, looking back, it feels like it should be classified in parts. That said, I still wish I had more time to visit restaurants, new and old.”
“I wish more independent operators (ie: operators not backed by millions and millions of dollars of restaurant group capital) had a chance to do something in this city.”