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Nashville’s Restaurant Experts Share Their Biggest Dining Grievances of 2019

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Food writers are sick of country star-coined honky-tonks, the continued lack of diversity, and bad service

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All that glitters is not gold, y’all. We asked Nashville’s food writers to tell us their biggest dining grievances of 2019. Here’s what’s on the chopping block for this year.

What was your biggest dining grievance of 2019?

Kristin Luna, freelance travel/food writer and founder of travel blog Camels & Chocolate: I’m tired of these country music-star backed honky-tonks with restaurant components. Not only are they typically tacky in nature, but I hate seeing out-of-towners only experience Nashville’s dynamic dining scene via what they find on Lower Broadway.

Ashley Brantley, food/travel writer for Eater Nashville, Nashville Scene, Frommer’s, and others: Nashville needs more honest, transparent food criticism. Our city has a lot of colorful writers, but many of us are in a rut of only writing positive stories, or just reporting details rather than adding value. Nashville diners want candor, and transparency doesn’t have to be boring. Let’s get critical. And let’s be as entertaining and creative with that criticism as the people we’re writing about.

Jackie Gutierrez-Jones, editor, copywriter, lifestyle journalist for Eater, Nashville Lifestyle, Time Out, Lonely Planet: Can a girl get some decent Cuban food up in here? How about Chinese? Peruvian? Haitian? You get my point. Nashville needs to diversify its dining scene. The first person to open a Cuban ventanita will take it ALL.

Alex Hendrickson freelance food and lifestyle writer at Eater Nashville StyleBlueprint, and others: Outside of not being able to get an out-of-this-world sweet potato biscuit anywhere since the closing of Post East? Servers’ general lack of knowledge when it comes to the menu. Save for a few restaurants, the staff seems wholly unfamiliar with the food and wine they are serving. Also, can we please serve wine in real wine glasses?

Nancy Vienneau, restaurant critic, The Tennessean; food journalist, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine: Inconsistency.

Chris Chamberlain, food writer at Nashville Scene, Sounds Like Nashville, and other publications: Service. Unless you’re at a stalwart like Midtown Cafe or Margot where the long-term staff still understand how they can really contribute to the dining experience, many places are really really suffering from a lack of experienced servers. If I’m choosing to drop a hundred bucks on a meal, I expect to be delighted. And I rarely am.

Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor and food writer: The fact that I’ve been craving xiao long bao and can’t get decent ones in this town. I may go on vacation just so I can secure a soup dumpling. On a broader scale — the fact that crappy behavior at the top and mistreatment of employees still gets swept under the rug.