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What’s Your Comfort Level With Restaurants Right Now?

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

A man walking down a street flanked by outdoor dining setups with umbrellas and plywood barriers constructed and tall buildings in the background
Outdoor dining in New York
Robert Sietsema/Eater

This post originally appeared on September 26, 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.

I’ve probably asked this before but, I’m curious how you’re feeling about going to restaurants right now and how that opinion has evolved over the course of the summer. We’ve polled readers, I ask my friends, I talk to my editors in two dozen cities across the country and in the UK, and it seems hard to come to a consensus. (Yet people seem, as is the case with so much these days, very sure in their own convictions about what is right.)

Some people will only do takeout, some only counter service. Some will go to a waiter service restaurant. Some will eat indoors warily, some happily. Some will speak about it openly, post about it readily. Some will sneak in visits, hoping their friends don’t know. The restaurateurs I’ve spoken with seem just as divided, with some ready and willing to open full throttle and others holding out or taking baby steps.

It impacts coverage because we want to thread the needle of providing the information, recommendations, and guidance people are looking for while providing context around safety and risk.

If you have thoughts, I’m

On Eater

— Closures: Lawry’s the Prime Rib in Chicago; Bellwether in Los Angeles; The Shed at Glenwood in Atlanta; and lauded Chinese destination Kym’s in London.

— Openings: a brick and mortar location of Filipino food truck Carabao in Austin; a pretty serious-looking taqueria called Umbrella Taco, Post Script, a restaurant in a tented parking lot, and Bull & Butterfly, a steakhouse inspired by the flavors up and down the coast of California, in LA; Lucky Day, a mezcal bar draped in 15,000 LED lights, in Vegas; Ostia, a Mediterranean restaurant from a chef leaving Jonathan Waxman’s empire, in Houston; Joomak, a cool playful Korean pop-up restaurant, in New York; popular Portland brewery Great Notion’s first Seattle outpost; Nopalito, a restaurant serving vegetarian tortas, in Montreal; and Olin, an American-Mediterranean brasserie, in Detroit.

— New York’s outdoor dining can continue indefinitely, and Chicago released its new rules for fall and winter outdoor dining (though restaurants are scrambling for heaters). Meanwhile, Indiana and Florida have opened at 100% capacity indoors. In both London and Seattle, bar and restaurant owners are fighting their cities’ 10 pm last calls.

The inside of an all-outdoor restaurant with distanced tables and painted cement floor, and a food truck at the far end.
Post Script in Venice, CA
Jakob Layman

— If you want to know how Eater readers are feeling about dining indoors, check out these surveys in SF, Portland, and New York.

— A judge issued an emergency “no contact” order against a big name chef and restaurant owner in Chicago because of his alleged deranged retaliation campaign against a staffer who publicly complained about the workplace environment he fostered.

Post Script, a new restaurant in a parking lot in Venice, CA | Jakob Layman

— Surveying the interesting and innovative San Francisco fine dining landscape.

— I may or may not have demanded the Eater NY staff write a guide to Instagram bakeries in town, because I’ve become enamored with certain outfits I’ve tried.

— Michigan’s Upper Peninsula had a record summer due to increased domestic tourism.

— The move: Pen pals but for snacks.

— To watch: How a former rock star opened the first bibimbap spot on the French Riviera.

Off Eater