Edit ModuleShow Tags

A Restaurant Community in Flux: Good or Bad?

High-profile closings—is this a crisis or standard churn?


Published:


Photo by Todd Buchanan

So, what's going on? Are we losing our great restaurants—or are we just in a period of flux? Is it your fault? I shared my list of the openings and closings in 2017 earlier this week, and it's easy to dwell on the closings. Lucia's and Coup D'etat closing seems like the demise of restaurants for adults in Uptown (keep fighting, Barbette!). I miss going to the Strip Club and Saffron. I'm sad that we don't have La Belle Vie, and that Piccolo is gone. It's emotional! 

But is this a crisis? Is this because we're not eating out enough, or we're only eating burgers? I'm not so sure about that. Look at what's opened recently on the higher end of the dining market: Spoon & Stable, Kado No Mise (and Kaiseki Furukawa!), Bellecour, Saint Dinette, Alma’s Café, Esker Grove. Bardo is new and great, Young Joni, too. We liked the Lexington, and it also seems to be thriving.

I've argued that we have too many restaurants for our population, and I still believe that to be true. My list of closings is only a few restaurants shy of my list of openings. I'm not counting seats, so we've probably lost a few. But we've also gained a few taprooms, and those are seats where people are hanging out instead of at restaurants. We're also seeing a younger population of eaters that is happy to spend money on craft beer and cocktails but prefers to nibble at a number of different spots in one night, spending less on food. That's a change—but I'm not sure it's bad for the dining community or not.

Are we in trouble? I don't think so. Are there restaurants on the edge? I think most restaurants are on the edge. Are we in danger of losing what makes our dining scene noteworthy and special? Always. But we're also constantly adding new things, each with the potential to redefine "noteworthy" and "special" going forward.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

Grilled Walleye Tacos with Mango Salsa Recipe

Combine fresh Minnesota fish with a taste of the tropics in a quick-and-easy meal you can make at home or the cabin

Pizza Lovers' Camp for Grown-Ups

Overnight pizza-centric camp on July 7 combines pizza amore with classic outdoor camp activities

3 Things to Eat This Week: Pride Edition

Pride weekend is also one of your last chances to eat at wonderful restaurants before they close

Ask Jason: Best Ramen, Shrimp, Dinner Date, and More

Your food questions answered

Stout-Marinated Grilled Tri-Tip Recipe

Treat dad or any lucky guest to flavorful, juicy beef with a splash of beer in the mix with this recipe from meat expert Bruce Aidells

6 Foods to Pack for the Cabin

Don't head north to the cabin without these delicious necessities

The Driscoll’s Difference

Driscoll’s goes to great lengths to ensure every clamshell on the shelves is packed with only the most flavorful, deliciously ripe berries.

Meet the Joy Makers

Meet the Joy Makers

Back to School Prep! Bento boxes are Easy Breakfasts that can be Prepped Ahead

The strategy for conquering the crazy weekday mornings is the all important prep.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags