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Michigan Food Writers Share Their Biggest Hopes for the Restaurant Industry in 2021

The industry needs relief

The ribs are on a plate slathered in a dark guava barbecue sauce with grilled corn covered in cheese and sprinkled with purple cabbage slivers and cilantro.
Ribs and elote from Coop at Detroit Shipping Company.
Gerard + Belevender

As is tradition at Eater, we closed out 2020 by surveying local food writers and our own staff on various restaurant-related topics, and publishing their responses throughout the week. Final question: What is your biggest hope for the restaurant industry in 2021?

Serena Maria Daniels, Founder and Editor, Tostada Magazine:

My biggest hope is that Congress or the new administration acts and provides support for the restaurant industry. Not only do tens of thousands of these small businesses need triage-like cash flow to help keep them afloat, but they will need continuous support to help them with whatever new restrictions or regulations will come their way. We need leadership on a federal level to support these backbones of our local economies in a meaningful way. An extra $600 isn’t going to do the trick.

Mark Kurlyandchik, Restaurant Critic, Detroit Free Press:

I hope that the bleeding stops and the long, slow process of rebuilding the industry can safely begin in 2021. Unfortunately, I think there’s a lot more pain to come before that happens, especially in those barren first months of the year. Q1 is going to be a bloodbath if there isn’t substantial financial relief from the government.

Melody Baetens, Restaurant Critic, The Detroit News:

That employees are treated better — by the employers and customers alike. I’d also like to see new concepts and cuisines that we don’t already have a ton of around metro Detroit.

Zahir Janmohamed, Co-Founder, Racist Sandwich:

What I love about metro Detroit’s food scene is that chains do not dominate. I hope it stays that way.

Brenna Houck, Editor, Eater Detroit:

I hope that the industry can get the relief it needs and come back from this pandemic in a meaningful way and with a mind to make the changes that are necessary to make their workplaces better and safer for the people that work in them. And I hope that restaurant workers start demanding better treatment, too.

Mickey Lyons, Freelance Writer, Eater:

I hope the industry is able to surge back once vaccines are available and it’s safe to gather again. We’ve lost so many good places already, and the lack of support for small restaurants and the people that work there is heartbreaking. I hope to see more recognition of the role individually-owned restaurants play as the heart of the community. I hope to see a way to give restaurant industry professionals the health care and safety nets that they’ve been denied so far.

Stacey Brugeman, culinary columnist and freelance writer, Traverse Magazine and Eater:

Customer kindness. The way that some staff members were treated this summer was inexcusable. These hard working individuals are just trying to survive in the toughest of times, and they deserve our patience and respect. Period.

All Year in Eater Coverage [ED]

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