After the darkest of times, U.S. restaurants are back. Though more than 11,000 restaurants and bars have closed permanently since March 2020, others worked tirelessly to keep their business afloat amid the global COVID pandemic. Now, in dining rooms across the nation, people are raising a glass and toasting—to seeing friends and loved ones again, to being able to sit at a table for a couple of hours and take a break from the world. Wine Spectator's 2021 Restaurant Awards cover story looks at how restaurants navigated this stressful period, the chellanges they still confront and the numerous signs that the year ahead will be one of the most promising in decades. What is the future of dining out as the world returns to normal? It may not be the same, but there will always be delicious food, great wine and joy at the table.
From the Aug 31, 2021, issue