Following an Eater tradition, we asked a group of restaurant critics, journalists, bloggers, and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. Their answers to the annual Year in Eater survey will be revealed in several posts. Next up, the dining pros talk about the headlines for 2021.
What are your headline predictions for 2021?
Lorraine Moss, co-host of Two Sharp Chefs and a Microphone: Pandemic Over, Chefs & Foodies Rejoice
Melinda Sheckells, editor OffTheStrip.com, OnTheStrip.com: I hope we get the big Roaring ’20s boom everyone keeps predicting when the pandemic is under control. Plus, I am very excited for the new restaurants coming to Virgin and Resorts World.
Diana Edelman, founder Vegans, Baby: Plant-based options are going to rise even more due to the pandemic. With the focus on health, the new administration coming in and recognizing climate change, I think more and more people will go plant-based because of these factors.
Scott Roeben, Vital Vegas: I have tried to keep things upbeat throughout this saga, so I’ll go with “Las Vegas Restaurants Rebound Following a 2020 Full of WTF.” Some of the numbers of projected permanent closures of restaurants, both in Las Vegas and across the country, are staggering. As always, the strong will survive, and once people feel more confident about dining experiences again, they’ll appreciate the places they may have taken for granted in the past.
Melanie Lee, Eater Vegas: Definitely more openings and (sadly) more closures.
Bob Barnes, editor of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional and Las Vegas writer for Gayot: As the dust clears and things slowly get back to some bit of normalcy, those restaurants that operated wisely and survived will be thriving.
Ken Miller, editor of Las Vegas Magazine: “Restaurants rebound stronger than ever”
Philip Tzeng, food blogger at Las Vegas Fill: “TikTok Influencers take over Las Vegas.” “Crowds clamor for fancy casual dining.”
Krista Diamond, freelance writer at Eater Vegas: Something with the phrase “cocktail delivery service” in it, I hope.
Rob Kachelriess, Las Vegas writer at Thrillist: Restaurants will get more creative to lure back customers. I can see a more frequent mix of dining and entertainment in super club-type environments as we wait for stage productions to make a full-fledged comeback. I also think plant-based dishes and menus will have a greater presence and be seen less as a gimmick or obligation and more as something chefs embrace to stretch their creativity. Oh, and someone will end up doing cannabis-infused dining at a restaurant or dispensary on a regular or semi-regular basis.
Sonja Swanson, food and culture writer: I think things will pick up slowly — we won’t get anything like a WWII-era V-day celebration, but I imagine that Fourth of July 2021 will feel like a big turning point. I suspect we’ll be excited for the kinds of meals that are harder for most of us to cook at home: Hot pot feasts, specialty baked goods, sushi, and kaiseki.
Louiie Victa, Eater Vegas photographer and co-host of Two Sharp Chefs and a Microphone: I’m going to to stick to the more positive ones since we hear the words “close down”, “shutters,” and “scale back” all of the time nowadays.
How about “fast casual remains king?” Or “More restaurant patrons come out as more Americans get vaccinated.”
And the most hopeful headline: “Restaurant industry back to normal after tremendous bout with pandemic.” Wishful thinking, I know.
Susan Stapleton, editor of Eater Vegas: “Restaurants truly embrace takeout options for the long run.”
“Drive-thru windows become de rigueur.”
“More restaurants offer family meals and cook-at-home options.”
• All Year in Eater Coverage [ELV]