Sweetbitter: Will the food live up to the restaurant drama?


The highly anticipated Starz series, Sweetbitter, is about to debut. As foodies tune in, will the food live up to the restaurant drama?

The best-selling novel, now television series, Sweetbitter has fascinated fans. Drawing inspiration from the Stephanie Danler’s real life experiences in Danny Meyer’s Union Square Café, this story is part coming of age and part restaurant voyeurism. Even though the story is really about Tess, the food and restaurant are the unnamed characters to this drama. Will the food live up to the restaurant drama?

Sweetbitter Season 1, photo provided by Starz

Many articles about this new Starz show have talked about the attention to detail in this new series. From training the actors as wait-staff to even hiring Danler’s former trainer at Union Square Café, careful attention is being paid to aspects that some viewer may not notice. It is commendable that the production team understand that one of the draws to this series is the food story.

People are fascinated with food. From the insanely decadent creations that fill our culinary dreams to the favorite childhood meal, food is part of people’s collective memories. Often a meal is the celebration of a special occasion, momentous event or a comfort during troubling times. Just think about a special moment in your life. Did it involve food?

When it comes to food related shows, people are making these shows must watch TV. The view may never able to make a geode cake or know that ramps are. Still, they tune into every episode to see the next creation, next perfectly plated meal or the next kitchen disaster. Food is the universal language that brings people together at the table.

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For this type of drama series, the fictional world offers viewers a glimpse at the world behind that delicious restaurant meal. Do you ever wonder if your server likes the bartender or chef that she has to work with? Could that relationship effect the meal you are served on any given day? This type of show is like being able to peek inside your neighbor’s house to see what really goes on.

In many cases, a restaurant is a little like a family. Even the pre-service meal is called family meal. Sometimes people get along, sometimes there is bickering and sometimes the restaurant drama is too much to handle. Still, a job needs to be completed. Just like any other job, the drama can’t overshadow the job. Although many lessons can be learned.

Will the food be overshadowed by the drama in Sweetbitter? The answer has to be no. Food, drama and life are all equal parts of a perfect recipe. Just like the five flavors of salt, sweet, sour, bitter and umami, a well-balanced life needs them all. In the life’s story, food will always be a major player.

Sweetbitter airs on Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on Starz.