Targeting critics for criticism isn’t standard operating procedure, and it’s not necessarily a smart business move. It does, however, generate a lot of entertainment value and subsequent chatter.
When chef-owner Jim Lahey of Co. pizza got a one-star review from Frank Bruni of the New York Times—actually a rating of “good,” if you’ll recall the way the paper’s star system works—he did the only logical thing and quickly used a bunch of profanity to complain about it to the New York Observer, throwing fellow Manhattan eatery 10 Downing under the bus at the same time:
“‘You want to get two,’ Mr. Lahey said of The Times’ hallowed ratings system of zero to four stars. ‘10 Downing got two. I’ve been to 10 Downing. It’s dogshit!’”
He continued, making the not entirely convincing case that the restaurant hasn’t been open long enough to be judged:
“‘We’ve been open only 90 days,’ he said. ‘We have not had a chance to even breathe in 90 days. What the fuck are we being reviewed by The New York Times for, you know, 90 days into being open? It makes no sense.’”
Restaurants have closed in fewer days than that; say what you want about Mr. Bruni’s taste in pizza, but his calendar seems to be about as merciful as one can expect.