Oct. 6, 2008
NEW YORK -- Thirty-eight percent of New Yorkers say that one way they are responding to the economic crisis is by eating out less, according to Zagat Survey, which today released its 30th annual New York City Restaurants survey based on the collective experiences of more than 38,000 local diners.
To celebrate its 30th birthday, Zagat has launched zagat.com/celebrate, which offers a look back at the dramatic changes in dining over the past 30 years, while recognizing the original Zagat-rated New York restaurants.
The 2009 New York City Restaurants guide covers 2,073 eateries across the five boroughs. The surveyors ate out more than 6.6 million meals this past year. It shows that:
- the number of restaurant openings declined for the first time since 2003 (from 163 to 119)
- diners are downsizing their restaurant-going by eating in less expensive places (38 percent)
- diners are more attentive to menu prices (35 percent)
- diners are skipping appetizers or desserts (21 percent) and
- diners are cutting back on alcohol consumption (19 percent).
The survey revealed a spate of economical restaurants such as pizzerias, burger joints and BBQ places have been popping up around town. There were upsets in each of these three hotly contested genres with first-time winners: Top Hamburger went to DuMont, Top Pizza to Lucali, and Top BBQ to Fette Sau. All three are located in the burgeoning borough of Brooklyn.
This year's survey also found that 30 percent of diners favor Italian cuisine, followed by French (14 percent and Japanese (13 percent). A growing number of locavores - people who seek out locally-grown food - and health-savvy eaters are finding restaurants that meet their needs:
- 67 percent of diners feel that eating locally grown food is important
- at least 55 percent are willing to pay more for organic
- 5 percent for sustainably raised food (both up 5 percent from last year). And, this past year, the 71 percent support the NYC Health Department's ban on trans fats.
Ratings and reviews of New York City restaurants can be found in the new guidebook as well as online at ZAGAT.com and via the award-winning mobile website, ZAGAT.mobi. The 2009 guide ($15.95), edited by Curt Gathje and Carol Diuguid and coordinated by Larry Cohn, is available at all major bookstores, through ZAGAT.com, or by calling toll free 888-371-5440.