The 2023 edition of the long-running Detroit Free Press Best New Restaurants list will be unveiled this week. I’ll chat with Freep restaurant and dining critic Lyndsay C. Green all week to discuss this year’s selections, as well as what’s different with this group compared to previous iterations.
The U.S. restaurant industry has obviously been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the effects are still here with labor and ingredients shortages, rising expenses, and the fear of a possible recession. Green says while the hurdles are still there for food operators, things are starting to get back to pre-COVID normalcy.
“It’s not over, I don’t want people to think that we are just back to normal,” warns Green. “But there have been some evolutions. Earlier on in 2022, we saw a lot of pop-up restaurants. We saw a lot of chefs who still wanted to cook and still wanted to be able to provide a service for eaters — so that was nice to see.
“But we did also start to see restaurants opening back up and really going back to the more traditional restaurant model.”
Listen: Ann Delisi previews Freep’s 2023 best new restaurant list with dining critic Lyndsay Green
Green and the Detroit Free Press are making changes to the eligibility requirements for 2023, opening the window to a much larger field.
“We’re including not just restaurants, but we’ve got pop-ups, we’ve got chefs, we’ve got cocktail bars. It’s just really a way to be reflective of the excellence that the scene has to offer…from a holistic standpoint, not just a traditional restaurant,” Green explains. “I’m interested to see what people think about it. It’s just a way that we’re evolving and acknowledging people doing great things.”
My interview series with Lyndsay Green continues Tuesday with the reveal of the Restaurant of the Year Classic, honoring a Metro Detroit restaurant that opened prior to the 2023 eligibility period.