My have things changed
The last night I was in New York City before heading out west, I walked by the Spotted Pig and it was empty. At one point you couldn’t get into the place for hours on end. It was a special spot. Turns out it was more than that.
In 2004, Momofuku Noodle bar opened. Eater began publishing in 2005. Food became a major topic of conversation across the globe. Where to eat, what is opening, the creative merging of flavors, instant information of anything around food went viral immediately. Chang and April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig had created new spots that were delicious, fun, not fancy and made everyone think about food differently. You did not have to go to Le Bernadin for a good meal although they certainly continue to reign just recently getting a well deserved four-star nod again.
Then came farm to table and non-GMO’s and organic and being more aware of what we putting in our bodies. All good, all-important as I certainly believe every meal should be a good one.
Instagramming and ethnic food are continuing to change the food landscape. Sharing is big although I have very mixed feelings on the share based on the restaurant.
The biggest thing is the rise of higher real estate costs and higher labor costs that make it very difficult to make a profit. After all, in NYC and other urban cities, many ovens are used for storing shoes not cooking. In other words, people just simply eat out.
Places come and go and some places stay forever but exposing diners to the inner workings of restaurants where sexual abuse was rampant brought down some of the biggest names that capitalized on our obsession with new restaurants and food. Has that changed? Have chefs and restauranteurs thought more about the culture they are creating in the back end? Are those conversations continuing to take place after the downfall of many?
Seeing the Spotted Pig empty was bound to happen after the expose of what happens behind closed doors. In its day it was the best but obviously not for the employees, only for the patrons. I hope that lessons have been learned throughout the industry. The next generation will figure out the costs, or perhaps tax benefits to make sure that there are ways for restaurants to survive. But most importantly, I hope that the industry has learned to create safe, equal opportunity, enjoyable restaurant environments….in the back of the house.