My own personal circumstances changed - from visiting Berkeley twice a year, having access to a car, and being treated to upscale restaurants by my father-in-law, to living part-time in SF, dependent on public transit, and spending household money. I now live in the Castro a short walk from Frances, which is a place I would have visited before, but I haven’t, and am not likely to. I’m more likely now to eat at the kind of place Gary Soup writes about, and it frustrates me that there aren’t more inexpensive, tasty meals available near me.
I agree that personalities played a role in the CH decline, though on balance I think there were more likeable types who got a bit swamped by a few irritating ones. There was also an increase in the number of visitors either asking for recommendations with no prior research and vague criteria, or crazy-long lists with several meals per day. I would mine these threads for ideas, but didn’t glean all that much, and couldn’t really contribute.
The food scene has changed also. I felt there was more innovation in the days of Mediterranean and then Asian fusion. Now it seems as if it’s all farm-to-table, comfort foods like short rib, and upscale burgers with craft beer. The drought has affected the farmers’ markets, and the rents are seriously skewing the restaurant culture. I’m still amazed when a new Laotian place manages to open within the city limits.
I find Yelp too undiscriminating and Eater too breathlessly trendy, but I still get useful information from them, and I figure everyone else can, also. I’m enjoying the fairly quiet discussions here so far. I don’t think it’ll grow into CH in its glory days, but I’m not sure I want that anymore, either.