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Lucky Peach Goes Solo, Splits From McSweeney's

Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

The cultishly-followed quarterly food journal Lucky Peach has announced that it is dropping McSweeney's as its publisher. According to the press release below, the magazine will be "operated and published independently under the ownership of Lucky Peach." The editorial team including Peter Meehan, David Chang, and Chris Ying will be staying in place, as will the design team. Adam Krefman, formerly the associate publisher at McSweeney's, will join the Lucky Peach staff as publisher. Meehan expresses his gratitude to McSweeney's in the release and explains: "But like a young dodo that wants to try its wings at flight by jumping off a cliff, we're going to attempt some real-deal solo publishing."

The acclaimed magazine launched in 2011 as a collaboration with McSweeney's, but the move to split isn't entirely unexpected. In a profile in Vogue's September issue, Chang mentioned that he was working on "creating a new enterprise called the Lucky Peach Media Group" and that piece says Ying "previously worked for...McSweeney's." The first issue of Lucky Peach that will be entirely self-published will be the 10th issue, out in February 2014. Below, the press release:

Beginning on November 27th 2013, Lucky Peach quarterly journal will be operated and published independently under the ownership of Lucky Peach.

Peter Meehan, Chris Ying, and David Chang will continue to edit the journal while Adam Krefman, previously the associate publisher at McSweeney's, will join as the publisher of Lucky Peach starting on September 2nd. All editorial and design staff will also remain with Lucky Peach. This shift in publishing will not affect subscriptions. The first issue to be released without former publisher McSweeney's will be Issue 10 in February 2014.

Started in 2011 as a co-publishing agreement between Lucky Peach and McSweeney's, Lucky Peach has grown to a circulation of 100,000 in less than two years. Lucky Peach was the 2012 recipient of the Gourmand International Award for Best Food Magazine in the World and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for Issues 2 and 3. Fuchsia Dunlop's "London Town" in Issue 5, received the 2013 James Beard Book, Broadcast and Journalism Award for Personal Essay.

??"We've had an incredible run with Lucky Peach. And though we will miss them, we always knew there would come a time when they'd graduate and move out of the house. We're planning to turn the extra room into a home gym, with a nice rowing machine we just got. It's made from sustainably sourced wood and it's water-resistant. So I guess there's a silver lining to all this. We will continue to see Lucky Peach as family, and we couldn't be more proud to have been part of their growth," says Dave Eggers.

??"The very idea for Lucky Peach owes a significant debt to the luminous and inspiring example of independent publishing set by McSweeney's. We wouldn't have gotten a quarter as far as we have without their help, expertise, willingness to explore, and willingness to make dick jokes even when it seemed inappropriate," says Peter Meehan. "But like a young dodo that wants to try its wings at flight by jumping off a cliff, we're going to attempt some real-deal solo publishing — or, in the words of the great Dave Chappelle — to walk the line between 'keeping it real' and 'when keeping it real goes wrong.' But we will always feel the same way about McSweeney's as Whitney Houston feels about Kevin Costner."

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