From the nascent days of Eater in 2005, the days of Gansevoria, angst towards Brooklyn, and Del Posto obsessing, one of the only hard and fast rules read as follows: No Restaurant Reviews. Eater's bread and butter from day one has been restaurant news and gossip; the site neither had the expertise nor the inclination to execute restaurant reviews. Now, Eater has all three.
First, the inclination. As newspapers and alt-weeklies across the country slash dining budgets, shed restaurant critics, and place less emphasis on reviews in general, Eater is hiring three full-time critics with dining budgets. Restaurants are a vital part of culture, of the social fabric of each city, and deserve to be assessed seriously. In collaboration with our parent company Vox Media's world-class product team, Eater aims to build the technology to approach restaurant reviews in a dynamic, modern way suited for the way we eat (and think about eating) now. That development is underway now, with the goal to debut it later this year.
Second, the expertise. On that front, we're pleased to announce the addition of three critics to the Eater team.
Eater's head critic in New York will be Ryan Sutton, the super-sharp restaurant reviewer and data geek who comes to Eater from Bloomberg, where he served for nine years as Bloomberg's chief restaurant critic. In addition to his restaurant knowledge and reviewing prowess, Sutton — or SUTTON, as he is sometimes known on Twitter — brings to Eater an obsession with restaurant pricing. Thus, on top of reviewing restaurants on a weekly basis, Sutton will build upon the work he's pursued on his Tumblrs The Price Hike and The Bad Deal, bringing data analysis and modern metrics to the often opaque world of restaurant and nightlife pricing. Think Nate Silver meets Eater. The results should be fascinating — and illuminating.
Further afield, Bill Addison, the esteemed dining editor and restaurant critic at Atlanta Magazine — following previous critical stints at the Dallas Morning News and the San Francisco Chronicle — is coming on board in the new position of Eater Restaurant Editor. Starting on April 15, Addison will travel across America seeking out the most notable, exciting, and surprising restaurants this country has to offer. He'll file frequently and obsessively from the road, offering readers a snapshot of the state of cooking in America today as it unfolds in front of him. At the end of the year, he will sit down with Eater editors and his fellow critics to hand-select the first-ever national version of the Eater 38, highlighting the 38 essential American restaurants for 2014. (America only? you ask. Yes, for now. Do check back in 2015, however.)
Finally, Eater readers are familiar with New York City treasure/slash/ethnic food expert Robert Sietsema, who has been creating neighborhood guides, video tours, rants, raves, and first looks for Eater NY over the last nine months. Starting on April 1, he'll join the Eater team full-time, dividing his energies between video series Sietsema's Secrets, columns, and new, regular reviews around all five boroughs and beyond. Glory, glory hallelujah.
And thus begins a whole new era. As Eater liked to say all the way back in 2005: brace.