As is tradition, Eater closes out the year by surveying local food writers on various restaurant-related topics. Here, the experts weigh in on this question: What was the biggest dining surprise of 2019? (Here are the top standbys of the year, the standout newcomers, the best dining neighborhoods, the biggest surprises, the biggest grievances, and favorite meals.)
Allecia Vermillion, editor-in-chief, Seattle Met: Understaffed.
Chelsea Lin, editor-in-chief, Seattle Magazine: Personal. I’ve really enjoyed hearing the stories behind some of this year’s passion projects: the community that’s rallied behind Melissa Miranda’s Musang, the building preservation that went into Il Nido, the family (and cultural) history behind Off the Rez’s new Burke Museum cafe. The margins are narrow and the stakes are high in this industry, and people do this because they really love what they do. (See also: journalism.)
Providence Cicero, food writer, former restaurant critic for the Seattle Times: Volatile.
Frank Guanco, food and wine writer, Seattle Refined: Repercussions. The repercussions of some of the major players in the Seattle food scene closing and reimagining some of their spaces, and what the repercussions will be, and what this may mean for Seattle restaurants. Tom Douglas, Ethan Stowell, Matt Dillon, Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi (and I’m missing some other examples). All made changes or closures to some of their spaces, and it’ll be interesting to see the consequences and what this may portend.
Rosin Saez, former associate editor, Seattle Met: Spin-offs.
Jill Lightner, Seattle food writer, author, and person who gets asked, “Is it still safe to eat this?” a lot: Embiggened.