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From Raining Fish to Inflation Discounts, the Most Memorable Bay Area Food Stories This Year

Yes, you read that right: 2022 was the year of literal raining fish.


Welcome to Year in Eater 2022, Eater’s annual tradition of celebrating the past 12 months with help from some of the Bay Area’s top food and restaurant industry experts. Between now and the end of the year, Eater SF will post daily questions about the Bay Area restaurant scene with answers from those who know it best.

I was really tickled by that raining-fish story haha, like something out of that flick “Magnolia.”

— Cesar Hernandez, associate restaurant critic at the San Francisco Chronicle

I was surprised to see all the creative ways restaurants came up with to survive amid inflation this year, despite many other places being forced to shutter. West Portal Chinese American restaurant Lazy Susan experimented with an inflation discount, and Oakland vegan Singaporean restaurant Lion Dance Cafe pivoted from their casual, mostly takeout-based model to a $90 tasting menu (at least for the month of December). It’s sad that it’s growing so cost-prohibitive to run a restaurant, but also hopeful to see the innovative solutions people are finding to keep going.

— Madeline Wells, SFGATE food reporter

Cassava’s new North Beach restaurant on Columbus Avenue.
Albert Law

Maybe how trendy the North Beach food scene has become? I really want to try Red Window and the new Cassava.

— Nick Bastone, reporter at Axios SF

I tried to think of something more compelling, but the one that really comes to mind (and that people have brought up with me independently at least three times) is the story about an alleged fencing operation run out of a boba shop. This was a wild one, even for us San Franciscans.

— Paolo Bicchieri, Eater SF reporter

The San Francisco restaurant closures and the super slow pace of San Francisco’s Financial District bouncing back to life.

— Tonya Pitts, sommelier and wine director at One Market Restaurant

The most surprising news story of 2022 perhaps isn’t a surprise, but a disheartening thing I encountered repeatedly throughout the year, namely small East Bay businesses being damaged or burglarized. In theory, I understand the ongoing issues and factors that go into burglaries and thefts, but I’ve also spoken with small business owners who’ve suffered from the break-ins and the toll it takes. It’s a sad story all around. There’s no real good answer on how to solve these issues, but it’s heartbreaking, nonetheless.

— Dianne de Guzman, Eater SF deputy editor

A man in a button-up shirt.
In August, chef David Kinch announced plans to step away from his Los Gatos restaurant Manresa.
Chris Schmauch

I was blindsided when news broke that David Kinch was stepping down from his three-Michelin star restaurant Manresa back in August. Of course, that eventually developed into the closure of the restaurant entirely, but I’m glad we got to speak with some of the restaurant’s talented alumni about how they’ll carry on Manresa’s legacy ahead of its final days of service.

— Lauren Saria, Eater SF editor

I dunno, it’s surprising how quickly the closure stories stopped being surprising. It used to be jarring to hear about a decades-old establishment suddenly shutting down. Then another, and another in quick succession. There isn’t even time to lament it anymore. Maybe the emotional impact makes them seem more frequent than they are, but I swear they didn’t use to happen this often.

— Patricia Chang, freelance editorial and commercial photographer

Probably the Black Star Pirate BBQ closure. Just seemed unexpected since it was a popular destination for foodies around here.

— Alan Chazaro, food reporter at KQED

The popularity of cloud kitchens was a refreshing change in the restaurant scene. This opens up the possibilities for astute entrepreneurs and eager venture capitalists to team up to test out a market or ideas without being burdened with the cost of expensive real estate.

— Nandita Godbole, writer at Curry Cravings

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Coming Attractions

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San Francisco Restaurant Closings

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