Why It Seems Like New Restaurants Are Opening Up All Over

A blog about business and economics.
May 15 2013 12:30 PM

Why It Seems Like New Restaurants Are Opening Up All Over

Chef Mary Sue Milliken serves food at the Border Grill restaurant booth at Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit's Grand Tasting event at Caesars Palace on May 10, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit

Does it seem like your neighborhood is full of restaurants and all anyone's doing these days is opening up new small plate venues to sell artisanal pork belly? I thought that was just my coddled coastal mindset, but down in Texas Hill Country my in-laws recently took me to The Grotto in Bandera, Texas, and the NYT had an article about foodie-ism sweeping the rust belt.


At any rate, this seems to check out statistically. The chart above is basically the ratio of money spent at restaurants to the overall level of consumption spending. The data series doesn't go very far back, but after trending vaguely upwards for a while it seems to be really accelerating as the economy pulls out of the recession. This is, I think, the economy's structural response to the End of Retail. As there's less need for physical stores, it makes more sense to use commercial real estate for restaurants. It's another reason we need to take food service seriously as an economic sector.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.