Angry Restaurants Make Newspapers More Money

Venerable food writer and critic Mimi Sheraton jumps into the Chodorow versus NYT fray. Writing in Slate, Sheraton cites her own experience as The New York Times’ restaurant critic during the ‘70s. Unafraid of dishing out some goose eggs, she made plenty of enemies on the other side of the table.

During my stint as that newspaper’s food critic between 1976 and 1984, there must have been at least half-a-dozen such ads, all greatly appreciated as a source of unexpected revenue, albeit at a paltry $10,000 a shot. ‘We make more money when you give a bad review than when you give a good one,’ A.M. ‘Abe’ Rosenthal, then the executive editor, used to say.

Overall, the reaction to the flap has been that Chodorow’s crazy, while Bruni was just doing his job. Even the Bruni haters have backed off on this one. Impugning a critic’s credentials is standard practice for restaurants burned by a bad review. But Sheraton brings up this equally valid point:

What qualifies Chodorow to be a restaurateur? Simply having eaten out a lot since childhood, as he explains on his new blog, doesn’t quite do it. Considering his hit-or-miss record—with disastrous results at the defunct Rocco’s and Caviar and Banana, and two previous incarnations of Mix in New York, yet with successful results at China Grill, Asia de Cuba, and Ono (despite lackluster food)—one might well question his erratic judgment.

See more articles
Share this article: