Why Restaurants Now, More Than Ever, Will Need Restaurant Critics

why restaurants now more than ever will need restaurant critics

Exterior view of Lou Mitchell’s Diner, on 565 West Jackson Boulevard in downtown Chicago, Illinois, … [+] March 2019. (Photo by Interim Archives/Getty Images)

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         Last month longtime Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema wrote a story entitled “Chicago’s revered dining scene recently lost a key ingredient: Experienced, trustworthy critics,” in which he cited the retirement of the Chicago Tribune’s restaurant reviewer Phil Vettel, after 31 years on the job, as a major blow to the city’s restaurant industry, also noting that Jeff Ruby, Chicago magazine’s critic, hadn’t filed a review since March 2020. 

          Not all restaurant critics are beloved by local restaurateurs, unless they get a rave review, but the importance of coverage and the attendant publicity have always been healthy for the owners and chefs who, without any media attention, might never be known to exist, especially in a big city like Chicago, which has 7,300 restaurants (compared with New York’s 22,000 and Los Angeles County’s 26,000)…

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