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DC Restaurants Have a Secret Handbook to ID Critics

Photo: Aleksandar Stojkovic/

An anonymous restaurant industry insider has been circulating a comprehensive guide to Washington DC's various critics and food writers. The Washington City Paper reports that the "secret document" has been in circulation for two years, and includes photos, preferences, and helpful tidbits about everyone from the Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema to Eater DC's Missy Frederick. There's a photo of everyone on the list and suggestions about what kind of server should be assigned to them.

The handbook, printed without photos by the WCP, offers up the following rational for its importance: "The relationship between writer and restaurant has also changed dramatically and it is important for us to recognize the faces, likes, dislikes, writing and personal styles of those who cover our business ... it is important to remember that many of these writers hold outsized influence over our livelihoods, and we need to ensure the best experience possible when they patronize our business." Some interesting notes: Todd Kliman (Washingtonian) apparently "can be ornery and unpredictable as a guest, but is generally very nice to staff"; Sietsema (WP) has "an adroit writing style that can be very critical and often ventures into the territory of cruel"; and Jessica Sidman (WCP) "can be unforgiving if not impressed."

· Secret Document Keeps Tabs on Food Writers [WCP via Eater DC]
· All Critics Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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