As is tradition, Eater closes out the year by surveying local writers and editors on various restaurant-related topics. Come back each day this week for more Year in Eater feedback from the experts, and check out all Year in Eater coverage over the years.
What was the most exciting — or most infuriating — local restaurant trend of 2022?
Meg van Huygen, food writer
Elevated fried chicken. It’s everywhere you look. I get it, fried chicken is undeniably delicious, but it doesn’t need to be costing $20 for five drumsticks because they have garlic powder or charcoal marks or whatever on them. I’m especially looking at the Chicken Supply and Hamdi (which is not fried but massively overpriced chicken all the same).
Aimee Rizzo, editor, the Infatuation Seattle
So many new restaurants this year served phenomenal food in the most casual of settings, which is a win. There’s takeout fried chicken as special as something you’d dress up for (the Chicken Supply), exemplary waffles coming from a small wooden boat (the Boat), pizza and breadsticks in suburban-style digs (West Of Chicago Pizza Company), spam sliders alongside Tim’s chips with onion dip at a cozy bar (By Tae), and a whole lot more.
Gabe Guarente, senior editor, SEAtoday
This is more of a trend-to-policy thing, but finally seeing Seattle make its outdoor dining program permanent is really exciting. Let’s hope this leads to more thoughtfully planned out sidewalk seating — and maybe a few more blocks fully closed to traffic, completely dedicated to dining and pedestrians, as they should be.
Jay Friedman, contributor, Eater Seattle
Not necessarily new for 2022, but I continued to appreciate outdoor dining options, especially if the restaurant provided heating during cold weather. Outdoor seating enables those who are COVID-cautious to continue enjoying opportunities to dine out. Also, such seating often offers an escape from loud interiors. (Infuriating, then, is when restaurants blast music into their outdoor seating areas, making it hard to hold conversation.)
Sabra Boyd, journalist
Cocktails-to-go was a fun COVID quarantine trend with historical roots dating back to the Bubonic Plague’s medieval wine windows, but 2022 fully embraced the mocktail. Non-alcoholic cocktails at restaurants and bars are a long-awaited revelation. And the creative culinary variety is expansive. From the sweetly acidic bite of pineapple shrub to the earthy scent of muddled coriander, mocktails are a fabulous trend that is here to stay.