Mask mandates may be a thing of the past, dining rooms are at capacity and diners are back in full force. If you’re the service industry recipient, you’d be tempted to think the pandemic is over with restaurants basking in a Roaring Twenties-style resurgence fueled by the public’s unquenchable thirst for entertainment.
But while it’s true that the demand side of the equation hasn’t just recovered but grown even stronger since before the COVID-19 outbreak, things haven’t returned to normal for the industry. itself – not even close. Staffing shortages, which have pushed nearly every restaurant to breaking point, signal a longstanding systemic reckoning in which service-industry workers are pushing back against an outdated and, at worst, abusive culture.
Supply chain disruptions mean restaurants — especially immigrant-owned mom and pop stores — are struggling to find what they need to run their businesses. Price increases are disproportionately absorbed by restaurants, who know they have to charge $22 for cheeseburgers, but also know their customers won’t bear the cost. Add to that a stressed and exhausted audience pushing the boundaries of the now-obsolete adage “the customer is always right,” and you have a situation where many in the industry are wondering why the hell they are even in this business. .
The following places remind us why. Looking at the names that make up the Best of St. Louis Food and Drink for 2022, what strikes is not one particular dish, well-balanced cocktail, or stunning view, but the courage shown by the people behind each of these places. . That they have the strength to persevere in the face of such difficulty is beyond impressive – it is the most honest form of hospitality there is. —Cheryl Baer
*Due to the volatility of the restaurant industry, always call or check a restaurant’s website before going.