As is tradition at Eater, we close the year by asking a group of food writers, editors, photographers, and others about town to weigh in on the past year in food. Their answers — unedited (except for grammar and translation) and in no particular order — will be revealed in several posts by the time the clock runs out on 2021. Here they share their headline predictions for 2022.
Iris Gagnon-Paradis, restaurant reporter and critic, La Presse: More restaurants will open in more remote locations, not only in the suburbs but in outlying regions — the Marconi team opened Mollies in Sutton and chef Marie-Fleur Saint-Pierre bought Le Jardin du Bedeau, in Kamouraska, and moved there with her family.
With the new pandemic situation, I also expect a takeout revival, more and more sandwiches shops, but please, no more pizzerias!
JP Karwacki, editor, Time Out Montreal: Restaurateurs will continue innovating into the new year with outdoor dining options claiming our streets and public spaces even more. Pop-ups will accelerate even further, thanks to their versatility. Restaurant design will increasingly prioritize the ability to pivot from takeout to dining in and vice versa. While we’ll keep seeing new blood opening up some exciting new projects, more homegrown chains are going to expand to fill up empty fronts, and more international brands are going to set their sights on us.
Ivy Lerner-Frank, Eater Montreal contributor: I’m not too optimistic about cheery headlines at this particular point. I feel like we’ve already seen what we were dreading, with reduced opening hours and restos at 50 percent capacity. With the exponential spread of this newest variation (and some folks still not understanding the reality of the pandemic and the need to get vaccinated and reduce contacts), we may well see headlines like “Encore! Government mandates restaurant closures and brings back curfew.”
Clay Sandhu, food editor, Cult MTL: Oof, this might be too bleak to predict. Let’s go with something optimistic like, “Covid is defeated! Restaurants are back! Working conditions are good and so is the pay!” You know, something catchy like that.
Tommy Dion, food blogger, Le Cuisinomane: 1) Without divulging too much information, more restaurants following in the footsteps of vegetarianism; for me, that’s the next logical step. 2) Also, we will have to start getting used to making a deposit to reserve a table. 3) Short and concise menus.
Daniel Bromberg, Eater Montreal contributor: With food prices on the rise, restaurant enthusiasts may have to make more conscious decisions when dining out. And as travel ramps up again next summer, diners will be expected to book tables well in advance. I don’t foresee any slowing down of openings, either.
Erik Leijon, freelance writer, Montreal Gazette, Cult MTL, and others: COVID isn’t over yet, but once the dust (eventually?) settles, inflation is here to stay and it’ll change what’s on our plates, and the number on the bill.
Elise Tastet, founder and CEO, Tastet: Back to the basics — simple food, service that’s more on point because restaurants are so damn happy to host again, as they should be, and beautiful decor that can easily be switched to takeout if needed.
Jason Lee, food blogger, Shut Up and Eat: 1) Reservations/cancellation policies will be revised to charge a deposit and release a public blacklist. 2) Menu prices will rise to reflect food costs and wage increases. 3) Ghost kitchens manifest to permanent pop-ups, 4) Glass box dining rooms to be constructed like the once Tim Hortons smoking section for the unvaccinated. 5) More “merch drops” from your favourite third wave coffee shop.
Rachel Cheng, photographer and food security and restaurant work activist: 2022: Montreal finally realizes it has reached a saturation point for fried chicken