'Eats'pectations for 2009
What will the New Year hold for the restaurant business?

As the last few hours of ‘08 dwindle down, the new year has many possibilities, both good and bad, and some are already making their bold predictions for 2009. Eater asked a handful of industry types and bloggers what they expected in the New Year. Most view the economic hardships brought on by the recession as sign of things to come. William Tiggert of Freemans predicts, “Over 40% of NYC restaurants will close as the economic crisis deepens.” Others have a different outlook, like Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appetit, who views “the report of restaurants’ demise (to be) greatly exaggerated.” Ed Levine of Serious Eats offers “no headlines, just a prayer for all the ridiculously hard-working chefs and restaurateurs, both in NYC and the rest of the country.”

Those not solely focused on the strain of the times offer up forecasts ranging from “head-to-toe cooking for vegetables, herbs and fruit” (Danyelle Freeman, Restaurant Girl) to Steve Plotnicki of Opinionated About Dining, who predicts, “more chefs to abandon the formal restaurant model and open counter-seating restaurants where they will serve you the food directly.” Others, like Robert Sietsema (Village Voice), see a return to “traditional cocktails and value in alcoholic beverages,” but “despite the recession, millions of stupid people continue to pay 300% wine markups,” predicts Steve Shaw of eGullet. All this uncertainty promises to keep us on the edge of our banquettes well into 2009.