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Industry Experts on Their 2014 Restaurant Grievances

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. We've already covered the restaurant standbys, top newcomers, 2014 in one word, best dining neighborhood, biggest dining surprises, and the single best meal of the year. Now, it's time for restaurant grievances. Readers, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

Radda Trattoria, now closed
Radda Trattoria, now closed

Q: What was the biggest restaurant grievance of 2014?

Amanda Faison, 5280 Magazine food editor

Service, service, service. More competition means higher expectations but fewer well trained staffers.

Andra Zeppelin, Eater Denver editor

The mediocrity in both food and service at many of the new restaurants. Because you love French or Japanese or Italian food doesn't mean you can do it justice when you cook it and if you can't, pick something else that you are really good at. I am over tweezer food and powders and unnecessary gels and most things that require a melon baller. Seldom are the occasions where those techniques and preparations enhance the dish. Also, I would love for Denver to either come up with its own material as far as new trends go or keep up with the national ones when they actually happen. Being perpetually three to five years behind a national trend is disheartening.

Meaghan Mooney, KDVR Anchor and Reporter

On a few occasions at a couple of places here in Denver, I have felt like a burden to restaurant staff in various roles. To me, that's worse than leaving with a bad taste in my mouth because of the food or drink!

Katy Hume, Eater Denver contributor

Too many new openings and not enough time to check them out/frequent places you really enjoy. All the openings have also allowed the city's industry to switch jobs more frequently because they want to work at the next hottest spot. The quality of the new restaurants isn't as good as it could be because good staff is being poached due to all the new places.

Ruth Tobias, Eater Denver and Thrillist contributing writer

For me it's Denver's dearth of genuine Spanish cuisine. A city this size should be able to support more than a few classic tapas bars,. Someone get cracking.

Maya Silver, Dining Out Magazine writer

The lack of good restaurants in my home town of Golden. Sorry, Golden! Much love to the breweries, Sherpa's is great, and Woody's is the Cheers of the town, but cutting edge cuisine and a homey place to eat a good burger and watch the game on a big screen is lacking.

Megan Barber, Curbed Ski editor

Bonanno Brothers Pizzeria closing in Park Meadows. This is why the suburbs can't have nice things.

Jess Hunter, Eater Denver contributor

The demise of the real dining napkin. Bars/barstools that misjudge a human's leg dimensions and truncate any chance of cardiovascular circulation.
The lack of any acoustic buffering in a concrete-flooring or wood-flooring space. Dining rooms are too loud these days for a conversation [she says as she grabs her cane and curses at kids from her porch].

William Porter, Denver Post restaurant critic

Service can still be hit and miss in Denver. I'm not hard to please, and there are lots of terrific servers and hosts out there. But in general, kitchens in this town often outperform the floor staff when it comes to all-around professionalism.

Adam Larkey, Eater Denver photographer

Difficulties in hiring and labor shortages have lead to some inconsistent service issues. 95% of restaurant reviews have complaints on the service unfortunately.

Brittany Werges, 303 Magazine food editor

Brunch service continues to be lackluster in our city. Between the long waits, sporadic service and stressed out waiters, even the best brunch menus weren't worth the hassle at times. I often found myself foregoing the fancy meals for a home cooked breakfast or a reliable diner.

Jeremy Kossler, founder of the Denver Burger Battle

Spanish food is severely underrepresented here. It is the greatest food in the world and right now it is on fire everywhere else other than Denver. You would think it would be a perfect fit here - small, gourmet finger food that is wacky and whimsical and goes great with a glass of beer or wine. I've heard rumors of the Linger/Root Down group doing something in 2015. I'll be looking forward to that. I would also like to see Acme Burger Bar step up their game or get out of that amazing spot in Union Station.

Penny Parker, Blacktie Colorado writer

Value versus price.

Ashley Hughes, Eater Denver writer

Service is still a frequent issue. And too much tinkering with classic cocktails at times.

Rebecca Caro, Denver Post contributing writer

My biggest grievances of 2014 were the closing of Latke Love, which was a treasure, and that Osaka Ramen hasn't opened yet, because I'm really anxious for that.

Grace Boyle, Eater Denver contributor

I was sad to see Radda close in North Boulder.

Pat Miller, the Gabby Gourmet


Laura Saffioti, Eater Denver contributor

That salaries have barely budged for many chefs and managers even though the cost of living is rising and rising. I'm hoping a constructive dialogue and plan can be formed to remedy this, so that our amazing, evolving dining community can be sustained and thrive.

Lori Midson, Zagat Denver editor

I've had it with gimmicky cocktail "programs." And, if I'm really being honest, I've also had enough of stark white plates with three ounces of this, one ounce of that and nothing more - and chefs calling it dinner. Really? No one who's spending money on food wants dinner to consist of three bites. That's a strikeout. Oh, and one more thing: Just because it's local, doesn't mean it's better.