In with the new

By Brian Duff  |  December 22, 2009

The American economic bubble expanded and collapsed on the backs of the hard-working and underpaid lower classes. In post-bubble America the workers will likely be more suspicious and assertive. This could be the case in Portland's restaurants as well — as suggested by a recent labor protest outside the Front Room. It was sad to hear allegations this summer that workers were being profoundly mistreated at the South Portland restaurant Great Wall — constrained to slum-dormitory conditions, paid illegal wages, and threatened with deportation if they complained. It is inspiring, however, that the workers managed to organize and protest despite these threats.

The last decade saw Portland become a terrific food town thanks to talent, hard work, and good fortune. If Portland's restaurant scene has achieved heights no one would have predicted, the next few years will likely bring some predictable complications. At the top of the bubble things can get pretty weird, and there will likely be many folks opening restaurants that they simply shouldn't. Anyone who does will confront an online community of food-obsessives who have sometimes gotten downright ugly this year — with personal attacks, off-kilter rants, and ill-advised opening-night reviews. In such an environment, and with so many great restaurants already established in our small city, it's a wonder anyone has the guts to open another. They will though. They always do. In the meantime, even if Portland's food scene has peaked, let's do our best to enjoy ourselves (and be fair to each other) on the way down.

Brian Duff can be reached at bduff@une.edu.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: Features , Entertainment, Culture and Lifestyle, Food and Cooking,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY BRIAN DUFF
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   START DIGGING HERE  |  October 03, 2014
    Because music is now basically free (thanks to torrents, Pandoras, Spotifies, etc.), the only way for musicians to make money is through constant touring and related merchandise sales. Or they can appear as a judge on The Voice. Food, on the other hand, will still cost ya...
  •   PICK YOUR POISON  |  October 01, 2014
    The National Institutes of Health just published a randomized study that confirms the rumors: carbohydrates are poison and should be avoided. So how should we feel about Slab Sicilian Streetfood?
  •   A LITTLE WHINE  |  September 05, 2014
    The lessons of Lolita are that something simpler and less challenging can be lovely, and that some cheap wine could really loosen things up.
  •   TACOS ON THE TOWN  |  August 31, 2014
    While there’s no class mobility in this town, we do have taco mobility—even taco-class mobility.
  •   COPING WITH ADULTHOOD  |  August 07, 2014
    The neighborhood’s newish Central Provisions is grown up. But it also embodies our ambivalence about adulthood, and our persistent hope that a few more drinks will help us cope with it.

 See all articles by: Brian Duff