As neighborhoods go, so goes the restaurant scene. The word “restaurant” can be traced back to the seventeen-sixties. It’s derived from the French restaurer, which means to “restore,” and according to legend referred to a place in Paris that served a menu of restorative meat broths. Today, the restaurant business is in a constant state of flux and restoration. One place shuts its doors, and another opens. Yesterday’s food trends are tomorrow’s leftovers. In addition, if restaurants serve as emblems of economic realities in America’s cities, when those cities change, so do kitchens and dining spaces.
New York City has a restaurant problem. It’s not that you can’t get a reservation on a Friday night, although at some gastronomic temples it’s a tall order. It’s that real estate is expensive in New York City, and the cost of labor and food, especially fresh produce, is greater than in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Are restaurateurs being priced out of Manhattan like artists were gentrified out of Brooklyn? According to the New York Times, the number if independent restaurants in New York City fell 3 percent from 2105 to 2016.
The restaurant business is competitive. While New York City is known for its culinary supremacy, if ambitious young chefs go elsewhere to open restaurants, the Big Apple won’t be able to hold onto its culinary supremacy for long. New York’s restaurant scene will need to be restored.