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How Readers Feel About Dining Out Right Now

From the Editor: Everything you missed in food news last week

Outdoor seating with lots of festive palm trees.
De Buena Planta in LA
[Official Photo]

This post originally appeared on October 3, 2020 in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.

A big thank you to all the readers who wrote in to tell me how you’re feeling about dining at restaurants — both inside and outside — right now. The responses ran the gamut, with most people erring on the side of caution, especially when it comes to indoor dining. One restaurateur told me about how he’s completely changed his business to focus on al fresco dining, and it’s been going pretty well (though he’s in New Mexico). A fine dining chef said it’s “really bizarre to have to work at a job serving people while they do something I think is inappropriate and not worth the risk to myself.” One restaurant aficionado — who’s doing a lot of outdoor dining and take out — expressed fear at “a future of mass restaurant monoculture where Darden can borrow money for nothing, and little places become extinct.”

Ugh, I hear that.

I might take a temperature check again this winter once many of us can no longer dine outdoors comfortably. Maybe things will be looking up or ... less abysmal by then? A girl can hope. But for now, the news.

On Eater

— Closures: One Broad in Charleston; Suika in Seattle; Kyoten Sushiko in Austin; and Vitaly Paley’s Imperial in Portland.

— Openings: A new fast casual location of lauded Thai restaurant Kin Khao in San Francisco; Avivo, a restaurant from the co-chef of a beloved but now-closed restaurant, in Chicago; Mirisata, the brick and mortar location of a Sri Lankan pop-up, in Portland; Amigo by Nai, a taqueria with LA street cred, in New York; Sean Brock’s restaurant inside a Hyatt in Nashville; and Cara, a sleek, secretive hotel restaurant in LA.

— As restrictions for indoor dining and bars eased in Chicago, Montreal shuttered restaurants for everything save takeout and delivery for the month of October. Meanwhile Florida is wide open again but Miami is still enforcing restrictions. And in New York, high-end restaurants are adding $40,000 air purification systems as they open for indoor dining.

The Glass Incident Fire in Northern California destroyed at least 19 wineries, restaurants, and resorts, including the very wonderful high-end destination The Restaurant at Meadowood.

Zimbabwean dishes on a table.
A spread at Zweli’s in Durham, NC
Forrest Mason Media

A eulogy for Mission Chinese from a critic who has dined through four iterations of the restaurant over a decade and on two coasts.

— On the ‘sandwichification’ of the Bay Area restaurant menu.

— An examination: Were fast food buffets real or a figment of our collective imaginations? (Spoiler: They were real and also gross and also glorious.)

— A deep dive into why restaurants are ideal indicators for the state of gentrification in a given area.

— The unlikely story of how America’s first Zimbabwean restaurant came to be, and how its owners are steering it through the pandemic.

— A profile of Seattle’s innovative and outspoken chef and restaurateur Eric Rivera, and how he used hustle and grit to keep his business afloat during this time.

— Pioneertown, the 1940s-era former Western film set town an hour north of Palm Springs, is now a hot travel destination.

— To watch: A day in the life of a guy who started a Filipino food delivery business on instagram after losing his advertising job during the pandemic.

— If you have Apple TV, Roku, Android TV, or Amazon Fire TV, try out our Eater channel in the App store to watch all your favorite Eater shows on your TV.

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