New Yorkers still dine out but are spending less: Zagat

Tue Oct 2, 2012 6:43pm EDT
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Yorkers are eating out at the same clip as recent years, but they're spending less in restaurants and ordering fewer take-out meals, according to the new Zagat restaurant survey.

There were twice as many restaurant openings than closings in New York over the past year and diners still eat out three times per week -- the same number as in each of the past three years, according to the survey of 44,306 people, which will be released on Wednesday.

But the average restaurant tab plummeted nearly 10 percent this year to $39.18, and the survey also showed t hat f or the first time people reported that fewer than half their meals, 49 percent, were eaten out or taken out, continuing a decade-long slide.

Hipster Asian restaurants, featuring low-priced food with high-end flourishes, were all the rage in New York, Zagat reported.

The majority of new dining spots were informal, less expensive restaurants. Some 400 of the New York guide's 2,120 restaurants offer dinner, including a drink and tip, for less than $25.

"It's pretty clear that things have not changed much (for the better), but restaurants seem to be pretty full," said Tim Zagat, co-founder of the guides, which were established more than three decades ago.

"It's overwhelmingly the casual, inexpensive restaurants that diners are looking for," Zagat said.

"The new restaurants in the city are almost all of that kind -- but they better have good food and be fun," he said, adding that "the formal, fine-dining restaurants requiring a jacket and tie are almost of thing of the past."   Continued...

A family is served drinks at a restaurant while Occupy Wall Street activists protest through the streets of New York's Financial District on the one-year anniversary of the movement, in New York September 17, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Burton