I am a business owner, farmer, cook and designer. I love trees, dirt, adobe walls, color, books, shoes, the sound of pages turning, lemon juice on everything, music that makes me cry or dance, canvases thick with paint. I hate – ok, fine, I strongly dislike – plastic, the screen-ification of everything, delivery apps, euphemistic business jargon, dressing on the side, and takeout. I’m scrappy. I try to meditate, but sometimes I don’t. My life isn’t balanced with my work (it’s more of a soupy mush, I’d say); I’m not an expert on wellness (is anyone?); I’m a work in progress. I think nature has all the answers, but it’s getting harder to find places where nature can do her thing, undisturbed by us, so that we can learn. I don’t do social media, because it always made me shame spiral. A few years back I swapped my iPhone out for a Flip Phone. One time it dropped off a cliff in Montana and I thought it was a goner, but the Sheriff of Sweet Grass County sent it back to me and it still worked. 

About My Book

My forthcoming book Why Restaurants Matter is my battle cry for the historic and important role of restaurants in community, society, and democracy. It is also my story – how I came to restaurants, as an outsider, and how I got schooled. I am inspired by Shoshana Zuboff, the Harvard Business School professor and vocal critic of the predominant business model of the networked world today, a mutation of capitalism she calls “Surveillance Capitalism.” At the end of her book, she offers a call to arms:

If democracy is to be replenished in the coming decades, it is up to us to rekindle the sense of outrage and loss over what is taken from us. In this I do not mean our ‘personal information.’ What is at stake here is the human expectation of sovereignty over one’s own life and authorship of one’s own experience. What is at stake is the inward experience from which we form the will to will and the public spaces to act on that will.


Restaurants are places where we experience both “inward experience” and “the public space to act on that will.” Many people do not realize the forces that are reshaping small businesses, like restaurants, today, and what our communities may look like in the future in response to these pressures. I think everyone should have access to beautiful public spaces where they aren’t data-raped by tech companies. I think technology should support community, as a tool in service to real life, not a place where we all live. The choices we demand today from our technologies have profound consequences to the richness and complexity of material culture, the meaning of hospitality, and who will have access to them in the future.

The offish (ish) bio

Erin Wade is a farmer and restauranteur who has opened six restaurants and two farms. Her career in food began on a small farm in rural New Mexico, where she learned to grow crops on ten parched acres and was inspired to open a restaurant that focused on hearty, creative salads. Before that, Wade graduated from Harvard College with a BA in English & American Literature and Language, worked at Harper’s Bazaar, and studied fashion design in Milan. 

Wade has written for numerous publications and technology’s disruption of food, been interviewed by Forbes, Eater, and Medium.com about her critiques of delivery platforms and the future of restaurants; and testified to the FSC and DOJ about how monopolistic networks distort healthy restaurant markets. 

She lives on a farm with her fiancé, three dogs, a gaggle of chickens and a pig named Gordo.