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Experts Dish the Dirt: Their Biggest Restaurant Grievances of 2014

What really grinds these guys' gears?

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Joy Summers

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types and bloggers. For our first question, friends of Eater weigh-in on their top restaurant, biggest regrets and addresses most searched on their Google Maps.

Q. What was your biggest restaurant grievance of the year?

James Norton, editor of Heavy Table and author of the "Wendigo's Credit Card". "I've personally gotten a bit tired of meals comprised of three or four $10-17 small plates. We've had so many restaurants open (particularly downtown Minneapolis and North Loop) with that premise. Even though many (or even most) are quite good, I've hit the fatigue point. It should be said, however, that I'm kind of a homestyle diner - I'd much rather have simple food done well with good hospitality than be dazzled by a parade of molecular gastronomy and microgreens."

Stephanie March senior food editor Mpls. St. Paul Magazine. "Fucking balsamic vinegar drizzles. I think I’ve been clear on that. "

Jessica Fleming, food critic for the Pioneer Press. "When can we start getting away from the uber-meat-centric restaurants? I would love more plates that concentrate as much on the vegetable as the meat. Better for our bodies and the planet."

Jason DeRusha anchor, WCCO; contributing editor Mpls. St. Paul Magazine. " Too many brunches! I love brunch, but virtually no one serves lunch on Saturday. Sometimes I want lunch! Why so many brunches? I feel like it's just a marketing thing - you can try to get attention for your restaurant and you can charge way too much for a couple eggs and some hash browns.  A close second: the cocktail price creep. Are we really OK with $12-$14 for every cocktail?"

Mecca Bos, food critic City Pages. "I think if our town needs anything now, its that our front of house needs to get on par with the back of house talent. There are some dining rooms that are getting it right, every time (Spoon & Stable, Saffron, Meritage/ Brasserie Zentral/ Foreign Legion, Bachelor Farmer, Haute Dish) but those that are getting it wrong are really getting it wrong. It's called the hospitality business for a reason, and if you can't make a guest feel welcomed, warm and invited, then get the hell out of the industry."

Josie Franske, editorial assistant Minnesota Monthly. "Loud dining rooms. I like it to be buzzy and energetic—but I’m over going to places where the noise is ear-splitting and I have to yell to be heard (Boneyard, I’m looking at you)."

Joy Summers, editor Eater Minneapolis. "Restaurants and staff who regard customers as morons. If I say a drink is unbalanced, it doesn't mean I don't know what a sazerac is. Food portions that are enormous and Paula Deen-y in fat content with no regard for actual flavor or ingredients gives me an eye twitch. Also, the valet guy that explained it would take 45 minutes to get my car because 'you don't understand how parking ramps in downtown Minneapolis work' on a Tuesday night. Let's all begin every interaction with the assumption that neither of us have rutabagas for brains. All I ask is that you care - even just a little bit - about the stuff I'm paying for."

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