Ahead of spring restaurant week, SF culinary scene continues to struggle

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Tuesday, April 11, 2023
Ahead of spring restaurant week, SF culinary scene struggling
There are 25 new participants this year in San Francisco's spring restaurant week which kicks off Friday, but many local restaurateurs say they're still struggling after the pandemic.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- More than 180 of the best eateries around San Francisco will kick off the city's spring restaurant week this Friday.

"We have 25 new participants. We have 32 restaurants from Chinatown," said Laurie Thomas, of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.

Despite the excitement surrounding the launch, many Bay Area restaurateurs say they're struggling in a city still trying to get back on its feet after COVID.

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The problems spread across all areas from the workforce to lack of customers.

"Staff have left. The pandemic kind of took away a lot of our staff, and we're starting to get people returning but it's still a challenging time for that," said restaurant owner, Jeff Hanek.

Places like COI are an example of some of the struggles that Bay Area eateries have faced since the pandemic. Once a Michelin-starred restaurant, it's since closed its doors.

The struggling restaurant scene was the topic of the night at a panel discussion at Manny's on Monday.

It's gotten the attention of many in the culinary world after several local restaurants missed out on prestigious awards.

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"We may not have all of the accolades we used to have because maybe they're getting more spread around," Thomas said.

But it's not all bad news.

"It's still pretty dynamic. Our access to ingredients is better than anywhere. The caliber of people working in the industry here is really, really strong," said restauranteur, Amanda Michael.

While many local restaurant owners say they know the city is going through a transition, they still believe our local food culture is one of the best in the world.

And after a few hard years, they encourage everyone to support their local establishments during this restaurant week.

"I wouldn't be anywhere else, I mean that's for sure. I love San Francisco. I love the scene. I love you know everything about it," Michael said.

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