It was a year of drastic change.
After a few years of looking wan and corpulent, the mall (specifically Westfield UTC) became one of the hottest culinary meccas in town. Yes, the food and drink scene around India Street continued to do what bunnies do, but it’s now so overstuffed with bars and restaurants that upstarts have started skipping Little Italy for more underserved fringes like Imperial Beach, Ocean Beach, Oceanside, La Mesa, and Carlsbad. Vegetarian and vegan food rose from the compost to flourish, as even diehard carnivorous chefs embraced the art of plant-based cooking. With the rise in minimum wage, the restaurant server became an endangered species, replaced with counter service and kiosks and tablets. Costs, and the usual blinding speed of modern American life, led to the rise of “quick service” restaurants. Everyone seems to want to become “the Chipotle of X,” which is not necessarily a bad thing.