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Boom or Bust, What's Up With Bay Area Restaurants?

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Sure Bauer called "boom time" for San Francisco restaurants and all, but yesterday's article in his very own paper of note explains restaurants here in the Bay Area are still closing at nearly twice the national average. It says the spew of "high-profile" new openings we've seen of late is a consequence of more affordable leases, restaurant contractors willing to work for lower prices and "risk-taking" restaurateurs. It also echoes what Kauffman said in the recent KQED spate about successful restaurateurs taking advantage of existing staff and reputation.

As in the case of Pete's Tavern, where owner Pete Osborn leveraged his kitchen to launch new Mexican mega-restaurant, Pedro's Cantina, last month. Though new openings like Wayfare Tavern and Prospect seem to signify prosperity on the surface, they don't necessarily mean we're out of the proverbial sinkhole. The Bay Area still lost 290 dining spots from spring 2009 to spring 2010, and analysts expect things to get worse. Expense accounts are still dwindling, and the next generation of diners are looking for healthier, more affordable options than they'll find at the Benus of the world. Of course, Kevin Westlye, executive director of the GGRA is optimistic: "All of us haven't been to Alcatraz, but we've all eaten at the top restaurants," he said. Assuming Eater readers are more likely than the average Joe to enjoy "top restaurants," what do y'all think about the big-timers' likelihood of weathering the storm after opening buzz fades? Do quick-service, quality- and value-driven spots like Roam Artisan Burgers and Spice Kit stand a better chance than the more aspirational newcomers like Commonwealth and Sons & Daughters? Weigh in, when you have a moment.

What's Eating The Bay Area's Restaurants [Chron]
"Boom Time" For SF Restaurants [~ ESF ~]
Top Bay Area Food Writers Reveal Candid Faves on KQED [~ ESF ~]

Inside Corey Lee's Benu. [Photo: Zagat]

Prospect Restaurant

300 Spear Street, San Francisco, CA 94105 415 247 7770 Visit Website


22 Hawthorne Street, , CA 94105 (415) 685-4860 Visit Website

Wayfare Tavern

558 Sacramento Street, , CA 94111 (415) 772-9060 Visit Website