In good years, crowning a best restaurant feels like an impossible, apples-and-oranges exercise. This year, it feels pointless because of the complete duress that every last restaurant in the city — nay, the world — is currently operating under thanks to the maelstrom of doom that is COVID-19. It’s not that no one is doing a good job; it’s that everyone is doing the best goddamn job that they can under such trying circumstances, having been forced to completely rethink business models and adapt overnight. For some, that means transitioning to takeout and delivery; for others, it means converting their in-person dining spaces into the safest environment possible. For still others, it’s meant shutting down completely in the hopes that this storm will pass and they can reopen in the future. Every last owner, chef, server, bartender, busser, host, cook and dishwasher is doing their absolute best to survive while still trying to figure out a way to provide hospitality to their guests, whatever that means during a pandemic. Here is to each and every one of you who make us realize just how much dining out means to us. — Cheryl Baehr
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