Restaurant critic Robert Sietsema wrote in Eater recently about how historic restaurant preservation might function in a city with plenty of historic restaurants. Recently, Gray’s Papaya was forced to shut down when their rent from $30K to $50K, which is a lot of hot dogs. Sietsma has a list of suggestions for what a historic restaurant preservation system would look like, and a list of 30 restaurants who might be the first 30 protected.
Let’s say we appoint a committee of three, consisting of a chef, a city councilperson, and a real estate representative, who are tasked with the responsibility of selecting a list of irreplaceable dining institutions that deserve to be officially protected. The committee can make choices themselves, and also take suggestions from the public. Let’s start with 30 places as a pilot program.