Photo: Clockwise from left: Scott Semler, Marcus McDonald, Nishant Choksi, FX, Christian Rodriguez, Jonah Rosenberg

I developed a theory this year: To some degree, restaurants were aiming to be boring on purpose. Maybe “boring” isn’t quite the right word. Familiar. Expected. Even the new places, it seemed, had been designed to feel as if they’d always been here, offering the standbys we all expect and some level of comfort we already know. This, my theory continues, is because the act of simply going out again is what felt new and exciting as 2022 arrived. We were back out in the world, with other people. There was a lot to catch up on; we didn’t need to also worry about some hot new ingredient or flavor pairing a chef had discovered. We just needed a drink (a martini, preferably), something good to eat, and our friends.

The list of stories you see below — which is measured by total collective minutes of audience engagement — comprises the 20 most-read articles we published on Grub Street this year, and they, too, offer the comfort of familiarity: a pizza feud, amazing bagels, hot chefs, lots of pie. But it wouldn’t be 2022 without some surprises in the mix (I’ll never be able to un-hear the phrase “blender chicken”), which is all part of the fun, of course. For more of this, be sure to subscribe, to check out the most-read stories from New York more broadly, and, if you haven’t already, please sign up for The Year I Ate New York so you’ll be ready when E. Alex Jung’s first edition of the newsletter arrives next month. — Alan Sytsma, food editor

Photo: Jonah Rosenberg

So far, at least. Read the story

Illustration: Maanvi Kapur

“Even bad cake is good cake.” Read the story

Illustration: Ryan Inzana

“I always liked ’em a little burnt.” Read the story

Illustration: Ryan Inzana

“It’s an old-school bodybuilder thing that I saw on YouTube one time.” Read the story

Photo: Tammie Teclemariam

Late-night dining has disappeared from New York City’s hottest restaurants. Read the story

Photo: Tammie Teclemariam

Seeking out a surprisingly controversial special. Read the story

Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

New York restaurant workers react to the end of the citywide vaccine mandate. Read the story

Illustration: Eliana Rodgers

“Put me as close to people as possible. Put me at the bar. Put me behind the bar.” Read the story

Illustration: Eliana Rodgers

“This all goes back to the source bag, the Tostitos bag of my youth, humongous, the size of my torso.” Read the story

Photo: Marcus McDonald

11 extraordinary pies. Read the story

Photo: DeSean McClinton-Holland

New York’s next great pizza feud is here. Read the story

Illustration: Ryan Inzana

“Too much lunch puts me in a stupor, but at night, I really take the gloves off.” Read the story

Photo: Tammie Teclemariam

What our diner-at-large discovered after five months on the job. Read the story

Photo: FX

Everyone was thirsty for The Bear. Read the story

Photo: Christian Rodriguez

The best bagels in the world might be on Long Island. Read the story

Photo: Pat Carroll/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

This year’s Michelin rankings included some surprises. Read the story

Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

Can you even call it a salad? Read the story

Photo: Adam Platt/Instagram

After 22 years and one zillion meals, our critic decided it was time to sign off. Read the story

Photo: Scott Semler; Prop Styling: Adrian Ababović

“I watch these kids hammering martinis and I’m like, good Lord.” Read the story

Photo: Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

The Netflix documentary tracked the spectacular downfall of Pure Food and Wine. Read the story