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Portland Food Media’s Biggest Dining Grievances of 2018

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The biggest gripes, from a lack of izakayas to a lack of new talent

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Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.

As the year comes to a close, Eater sites across the globe are tipping hats to all of 2018’s restaurant memories and meals. Here in Portland, we asked some of the city’s best fed about the biggest dining grievances of 2018. From a lack of izakayas to a limited pool of young new talent, these are Portland’s professional eaters’ biggest gripes about the local culinary scene.

Michael Russell, restaurant critic for The Oregonian:
“The switch from ‘dishes will come out when they’re ready’ to ‘the kitchen asks that you place your entire order at once’ has given me whiplash.”

Gary Okazaki, co-host of the podcast Walk-ins Welcome with Gary & Michael:
“PDX has a dearth of izakayas.”

Michael C Zusman, restaurant critic for Willamette Week:
“Other than the mom and pop non-Western restaurants I love and have written and talked about repeatedly, there is precious little new blood on the Portland scene. I’ll avoid the standard screed about Portland being over, but it is a victim of its own notoriety in many ways. It so much more difficult for young, creative but poorly financed new talent to find a niche. Instead, the same operators who have been around for a while and figured Portland out expand or add new concepts. Also, the rise of hotel restaurants is mostly a horrifying development.”

Pechluck Laskey, author of Pechluck’s Food Adventures and Eater PDX contributor:
“(We’re in the midst of) a tropical drinks trend, yet no one seems to have figured out a menu that brings really good food and those libations together.”

Mattie John Bamman, author of Ravenous Traveler and former Eater PDX editor:
“I wanted more experimentation! More newcomers! More innovative flavors and rare dishes from afar!”