Each December, Eater Portland wraps up the year with what it calls a series, reflecting on the past 12 months of eating. year of the eaterWe asked Portland food writers and influencers for their perspectives on key trends, striking newcomers and standout meals, and share their reactions in one package.
The answer has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Working conditions, rising costs of doing business, union organizing and, sadly, the death of a prominent figure in the restaurant industry dominated the headlines this year.
“I don’t know if I use the word ‘amazing’, but there have been a surprising number of unexpected deaths this year. Especially the death of Sarah Pryner. She was very young and she was trying to create something really cool and new. The death of Lovely Suzanne, the death of Yohei Sato… too many people died too soon.
– Brooke Jackson Glidden, editor of Eater Portland
“Not entirely surprising given the harsh working conditions and low wages, but it’s nice to see news that local restaurants, grocery stores, etc. are unionized. ”
-Zoe Baylorjohn, Eater Portland Contributor
“I had only visited Yonder once (I was shocked to find it vegan) and had never visited Hishifit, but I was very disappointed with Hishifit’s sudden closure and Maya’s withdrawal from the industry. I was really surprised. I wonder what will happen to that space.”
-Waz Wu, Contributor at Eater Portland
“Sarah Pryner’s death was pretty devastating, and the news was well beyond the food world. It really (again) ignited the conversation around safe streets. The last paragraph of Russell’s article — the fact that she was planning a new restaurant and had a name for it… it really felt like a punch in the gut.
-Janey Wong, Eater Portland Reporter
“A ripe co-op closure. I feel like if Naomi Pomeroy wasn’t running a restaurant in this town, our storyline would have been a little bit lost.”
– Tom Hilton, Eater Portland Contributor
“I really thought it was a ‘slam dunk’ for experienced restaurateurs and chefs to open out in the suburbs. I was very shocked when I heard that Lac St. Jack and Fil’s in Lake Oswego was closing 15 months after he opened. I don’t know if it will discourage restaurateurs from opening projects in the suburbs in the future, but I hope it doesn’t. ”
-Gary Okazaki (@garythefoodie), the famous globe-trotting glutton
“Approval of Modular Bars for Food Cart Pods. After much work, Little Canteen owners will be able to tell the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Commission to sell alcohol in carts near Park Pods in downtown Ridgefield. He persuaded them to license a modular building to sell alcohol to the public, as well as a taproom license for Columbia Food Park in downtown Vancouver, which now houses Slow Fox Chili. Over the years, various owners have been trying to set up Columbia Food Park, and I think getting a liquor license will bring in more crowds, especially at night.”
– Rachel Pinsky, Eater Portland Contributor
“The last few years … how do you choose the most amazing news story? The crappy review of Willamette Week should be flushed down the toilet. ”
・ Nori de Vega (@nomnom_ glue), influencers
“I don’t mean to dwell on the negatives, but the needless opposition to Kang was surprising, especially since it was such an outlier both locally and nationally.”
-Krista Garcia, Eater Portland Contributor