As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions running the gamut from restaurant standbys, newcomers, best word to describe the year in dining, the best meal, the surprises of the year, the hottest neighborhood for dining, and biggest restaurant grievances. At last, before we turn the lights off on 2016, here are the headline predictions for the year to come. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Readers, please do add your survey answers in the comments.
Q: What are your headline predictions for 2017?
Josh Dinar, DiningOut publisher
Musks Cement Legacy: The Kitchen Next Door becomes first solar-powered restaurant on Mars
Troy Guard Closes Eyes, Throws Dart, Opens New Hit Location Wherever it Lands
200,000 sf warehouse in soon-to-be-gentrified-neighborhood-you’ve-never-heard-of converted into a "Market full of Markets."
Andra Zeppelin, Eater Denver Editor
"[XX big deal restaurant group - Edible Beats or The Kitchen or Big Red F or similar] Removes Tips, Following Danny Meyer's Model"
"Record Number of Corporate Restaurant Closings Boosts Employee Market for Independent Operators"
Amanda Faison, freelance writer, former 5280 Magazine editor
I could be totally off, but I think banana is going to make a play. Temper Chocolates’ banana with roasted peanut gianduja truffle is one of the single best bites I had all year, and the tiki movement is already bringing the tropical flavor to the forefront with banana drinks (see http://www.5280.com/magazine/2016/06/order-way-backs-hawaiian-tropic). Also things to watch: Savory Dutch Babies, the rise of the pork collar, and smaller and smaller restaurants.
Rebecca Treon, DiningOut editor
"Trump Announces Trump Grill James Beard Nomination, More Fake News"
"Chef Justin Brunson Opens Vegan Restaurant"
"All Pot Restaurant to Open at DIA"
Brittany Werges, 303 Magazine managing editor
Unfortunately, I think we might see some more closings or at least less openings. With the increase of the minimum wage, it might be hard for some restaurants to stay afloat as the market shifts. I don’t think this will affect local restaurants as much as chains but I do think it might stunt the growth of the restaurant scene in terms of sheer numbers.
Rebecca Gart, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles food editor
Really looking forward to Kimpton’s Hotel Born in Union Station featuring a restaurant from the Frasca group; plus, can’t wait for the new Kitchen concept in Cherry Creek, just across the street from my other favorite, Matsuhisa. Cherry Creek needs something worthy.
Adam Larkey, Eater Denver photographer
2017 Buzz Words: Elevated fast casual...boom times for food halls...activated alleys...
Denise Mickelsen, 5280 Magazine food editor
Big-name sushi players come to town; all things Slow Food Nation; restaurant staffing, wages, and immigration issues; and hopefully, more Spanish cuisine.
Ruth Tobias, Zagat editor
Not a prediction so much as a concern—I see a lot of out-of-state franchises moving in with concepts very similar to those being developed by homegrown talent, and I wonder if this town is big enough yet for all of them. There could be a battle brewing between locals and interlopers. If so, needless to say, I'll be grabbing some popcorn and rooting for the locals.
Laura Shunk, Westword contributor
I think we'll see some big, exciting collaborations between Denver restaurateurs, and Denver restaurateurs + talent from elsewhere. I think there are some rising stars poised to take off with cool new places. And with all turnover, I wouldn't be surprised to mourn some big closings.
Justin De La Rosa, freelance writer and Denver Post contributor
I try not to look ahead, but look forward. I'm certain Stanley Marketplace will burst and bloom. At the same time, I'm looking for great things from Stapleton.
Gigi Sukin, Eater Contributor, CoBiz editor
I think Stanley Marketplace is only going to get more exciting. I think the suburbs are going to continue to attract big names in the local restaurant world. I think the economy is going to stay consistent and so we'll be seeing a lot more openings.
Lori Midson, Denver Life Magazine Food Editor
A proliferation of food halls, more vegetable-intensive dishes (cauliflower will be the new kale!), an upswing in fine-casual concepts, inventive new ways to combat food waste, an avalanche of food delivery services, more international fine-dining restaurants (Indian, Cuban, Filipino and Asian), lots of new high-tech trends and techniques when it comes to cocktails and big-name local chefs expanding their portfolios. I’m also going to predict that Donald Trump will explode from eating too many of his own taco bowls. In a perfect world.
Rachel Greiman, Eater contributor and photographer
"Denver Has Reached Maximum Capacity For Restaurant Openings"
Callie Sumlin, 5280 Magazine assistant food editor
The focus on sustainability isn’t leaving the spotlight anytime soon, especially as we move into a increasingly climate-change affected time for the planet.
Lauren Rapp, Westword contributor
The forecast seems sunny with a chance of more markets and dining halls.