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Bay Area Headline Predictions for 2020

SF food writers gaze into their crystal balls to predict next year’s restaurant news and dining trends

Creator’s burger-making robot
Creator’s burger-making robot
Albert Law

We asked a group of local restaurant critics, journalists, and other assorted, and uniformly brilliant, friends of Eater SF to weigh in on this past year in food. We’ve shared their answers to the annual “Year in Eater” survey over the course of several posts during this past week. For this final segment: our panelists’ headline predictions for the coming year.

Soleil Ho, restaurant critic at SF Chronicle: Los Altos Company Creates Synthetic Protein from Human Semen.

Katherine Hamilton, restaurant critic at East Bay Express: Oakland’s Last Table Service Restaurant to Close. Berkeley Debuts World’s First Air-Based Restaurant.

Luke Tsai, editor at Eater SF: The Bay Area Is Now America’s Preeminent Hub for Taiwanese Cuisine (hey, a guy can dream!).

Paolo Lucchesi, editorial director at Resy: Adriano Paganini Runs for President, Unites the Country with Cocktails and an Accessible Food Menu.

Sarah Han, editor at Berkeleyside Nosh: FatApple’s Is Renamed RubenesqueApple’s After Berkeley Bans Derogatory Business Names. Direct Action Everywhere Stages Protest at Vegan Hotspot the Butcher’s Son for Glamorizing Animal Murder. [Your Favorite Old-School Institution] Closes After [# of Decades], Citing Labor Shortage and Rising Costs (too real).

Eve Batey, senior editor at Eater SF: As with so many gig-based businesses, delivery apps are going to face a reckoning in 2020. Between AB5’s requirements that delivery folks be hired as employees, the rising competition between delivery platforms, and restaurants’ increasing anger at how much delivery company fees eat into their margins, things are going to get even uglier than they are now.

Elena Kadvany, food reporter at Palo Alto Weekly: Bay Area Restaurant Industry Haunted by Ghost Kitchens. Popeyes Rolls Out a Plant-Based Chicken Sandwich; the Internet Loses Its Mind.

Ellen Fort, food editor at Sunset Magazine: San Francisco Haunted by Ghost Kitchens. Souvla Opens East Bay Location (jk, that won’t happen). Shake Shack Opens Tasting Menu Restaurant in Union Square.

Janelle Bitker, food enterprise reporter at SF Chronicle: I think we’ll see a lot more closures, a lot more restaurant trouble related to PG&E shut-offs and wildfires, and more chains from Asia coming to the Bay Area.

Becky Duffett, reporter at Eater SF: I hope Russian food has a moment in San Francisco. And I’m worried the robot burgers are coming for me.