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A Hypothetical “Good Restaurant 100” Guide

From the Editor: More holistic restaurant recommendations, an anticipated debut, and more this week 

Pomegranate Lamb chops at International Smoke
Photo: MadMavenMedia

This post originally appeared on November 18, 2017, in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.

A reader wrote in recently to suggest an Eater restaurants guide that roots out “sexism, misogyny, and assault,” noting that there’s more we could do beyond reporting on bad behavior, that Eater should “be wielding its expertise to help prevent these issues from occurring.”

I've definitely thought through similar lists or guides before. Perhaps a “Good Restaurant 100” chronicling the businesses that pay fairly, that offer insurance, that have no reports of harassment or abuse, that are inclusive to both customers and employees. The problem is always the framework and data collection. This reader suggested using subtle signs of sexism, like always presenting the check to a man as a default, as a benchmark, but how could one measure that? How would we know if a restaurant has handled claims of sexual harassment or assault, and how they did it?

Our recommendations, guides, and reviews cover the experience of the diner — the vibe, the food, the service — because a) it’s traditionally what people have cared most about, and b) it’s the most straightforward thing to report upon. But as diners (and editors!) care just as much about the treatment of the staff as the provenance of the pork loin, we’re going to have to find better ways of taking a more holistic view of a restaurant when recommending it.

How do we integrate the work we do highlighting good, inspirational, ethical practices — which usually happens in one-off columns, articles, or profiles — into all aspects of what we do? Does a mediocre restaurant become worthy of inclusion on a guide to New England when we learn they are great employers? Does an astounding restaurant get reconsidered when we hear a rumor of sexism? Who do we trust, and how far do we look?

(I’m actually asking you; email me.)

Dining area at International Smoke
Photo by Patricia Chang

Opening of the Week: International Smoke

Who’s behind it?: Famous person Ayesha Curry and famous chef Michael Mina.

What is it?: A barbecue restaurant.

Where is it?: The SoMa neighborhood of San Francisco.

When did it open?: Monday, November 13.

Why should I care?: Ayesha Curry fans will care that they get a chance to actually try her food in real life. Fans of her trophy husband Steph Curry will care that he’ll be around from time to time (along with all of his Warriors teammates).

I care because I’m tickled that the publicist for the restaurant sent the SF Chronicle’s reporter talking points before interviewing Ayesha, which included “Please do NOT refer to the building as ‘Millennium Tower.’ Do call it 301 Mission St” and “Please do NOT refer to International Smoke as a ‘barbecue’ restaurant.” Cool vibes!

This week in sexual assault and harassment:

The founder of an edible cookie dough shop in Detroit stepped down after sexual harassment claims were made against him, and the entire staff of a bar in Louisville quit earlier this week when multiple women accused the owner of rape.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post published a lengthy piece detailing claims from multiple women across the industry, alleging behavior including groping, bullying, and rape. And Christine Muhlke spoke with three female leaders about the harassment they’ve experienced and steps they think the industry needs to take.

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Lucas Peterson, everyone

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