Pandemic restaurant-going was like a series of twists on the old Yogi Berra quip about how nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded. First, restaurants stood cavernously empty by mandate as we pined for them. Then we got scared to be cheek to jowl with fellow customers. As patrons surged back, a dearth of workers kept things off-balance. And as the worker shortage eased, inflation thwarted many diners from pre-pandemic levels of patronage.
It's still not normal.
Looking around your favorite restaurant, assuming it’s still open, it feels different, right? The ebb and flow of service, how and when and what people order — the pandemic has meant seismic shifts for an industry defined by its resilience and adaptability, developments that will probably alter the dining landscape permanently.