Let’s Discuss: The Insatiable Steven Doyle

Image by John Ueland.

In the November issue of D Magazine, freelance writer Jason Sheeler profiled Steven Doyle, founder of CraveDFW. When we assigned Sheeler the job, he had no idea who Doyle was. Sheeler called Doyle and asked if he could tag along on one of his nightly fact-finding missions. The whole evening was recorded, with Doyle’s permission, on audio tape. Sheeler filed the story.

Steven Doyle is not happy with the piece. He feels it’s “mean spirited and odd.”

Since the story hit the streets, I’ve received phone calls, texts, and emails from bartenders, waiters, restaurant owners, and readers who have, as one put it, “observed Doyle in action on numerous occasions.” What is astonishing to me is that none of these people will speak on the record.

So I will.

I don’t “know” Steven Doyle. I’ve met him a few times and he has contributed to SideDish. I think he is a nice person with a big heart and he wants to create a big love fest in the Dallas dining scene. He works hard. But Doyle is a cheerleader masquerading as reporter and he is setting a dangerous precedent for food bloggers following his lead. They attend free media food and drink events and write glowing reports without mentioning the fact they didn’t pay. They posses a scary sense of entitlement: “I have a food blog let me in.”  Do their reports serve the reader? No, they serve the restaurant industry.

If I’m a restaurant owner, I’m not going on the record to say anything against food bloggers who attend my media dinner and, in turn, talk, blog, and tweet about my yummy food. It’s free advertising. I can’t blame them. Hell, I even feel sorry for restaurant PR people—who needs to hire one if you can get 50 food bloggers with advance degrees in social media to spread your message. Doyle claims he doesn’t take anything other than what all members of the media are offered. However, plenty of people have reported otherwise. Truthfully, if Doyle would “own” his modus operandi, he could be an appealing personality. His recent gig as host of the celebrity kitchen at the State Fair proved he can carry an audience. His website could be a respectable pay-for-play alternative like an insidery version of Where magazine. Crowds at the bars part as he enters. His groupies wear I Heart Steve “tour” jackets.  Instead, Doyle chooses to deny and retreat.

I’m no shrink but Doyle’s need to be first at reporting a restaurant opening or closing is unhealthy. Many restaurant operators have said that if a story about them appears in another blog, they get a text, email, or phone call from Doyle. “He basically bullies me by saying ‘why didn’t you call me?’ or ‘your place is busy because of me,’” said one bar owner who, of course, doesn’t want his name used.

It’s the dawn of a new age in food writing. Everybody’s a food critic. The Associated Press standards are slipping fast. So are the FTC’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” which states bloggers can be fined up to $11,000 for not disclosing freebies. The FTC explains that an “in-kind payment” for a blog post is considered an endorsement and the payment must be disclosed.

Doyle thinks I am out to get him and bring down all of the Dallas food bloggers. Am I making too much of a big deal out of this? You are the reader, what do you think?


  • Charles

    Your characterization does come across unecessarily harsh considering you have been doing this for years. I read Doyle sometimes and he comes across as someone who loves Dallas unlike you and Brenner.

    If he is upsetting you this much then go do the kind of work he is doing.

  • Avid Eater

    He reports “facts” based on third party information to get a scoop. This gets dangerous and diminishes what little is left of journalistic integrity.

  • Mel

    Hallelujah! FINALLY someone recognizes that what’s going on isn’t journalism nor is it advancing anyone’s cause but his own. It’s Yelp written in a single voice, complete with bullying and misplaced entitlement. It’s bringing down the Dallas food scene by creating false customer expectations and driving home the idea that ‘you too!’ know everything, everyone, and anyone who denies you be damned. What have we come to?

  • EmbarrassedRestauranteur

    The problem with Doyle is that he has yet to contribute anything substantial to the Dallas food scene other than really cute iphone pics of food from “one” chef. The way that he carries, presents, and promotes himself is shallow. I have seen Doyle and his little minions that he runs around with in action and to see the way that they treat and talk to people is laughable. Please report on your blog the hundreds of dollars that employees (chefs/bartenders) not owners comp or just give to you for free and if you do not get the red carpet rolled out for you that place is “black listed” by the ever great DOYLE! Dude you are a blogger, really?

  • Lauren

    Brava! I think both yours and Jason’s takes on Doyle are spot on and I couldn’t agree more. Having stood next to/close by him on more than a handful of occasions, I have heard him literally beg for invites to future events and the screech of his ridiculous, nails-on-a-chalkboard “Calllll meeeee!!” has made me contemplate leaving more than one function. The guy oozes desperation and neediness, and neither are things I look for in journalists or bloggers. His kiss-ass posts are both vapid and self-serving and his blatant disregard for honesty in how he came by the invite/meal/product etc. is downright unethical.

  • Jim Shortz

    Bar owners and restauranteurs need to start pushing back against food bloggers in general. The number of people devoted to these websites are not as big as you think or as they want you to belive.Guys like Doyle are groupies of the worse kind,a freeloading self absorbed narcissist.

  • gavlist

    I became a lot happier with Crave once I accepted that they are providing news, not critique. I’ve never seen a place “blacklisted” by Doyle. In fact, he rarely posts anything negative – and the one time I recall seeing negative comments they were pretty well supported in his text and by others.

    By whatever methods he uses Steve pretty frequently reports information about restaurants before anyone else. So why call him cheerleader, instead of “gumshoe”? Why call him a blogger and not a reporter? Is there some objective distinction?

  • Scott–DFW

    I have little use for food writers who are industry advocates. While Doyle may be the current poster boy for that in Dallas, it’s worth remembering that he is a by-product of the no-pay (or low-pay) freelance system used by the professional food blogs in Dallas. By not independently, meaningfully compensating writers (most of whom have no journalism training or experience), the food press tacitly invites its ever-changing roster of volunteers to seek their own rewards. Some unpaid freelancers may have the integrity to shine a harsh critical light on their subjects, but most do not, resulting in a steady stream of PR masquerading as content. It would be easier for readers to tell ethical, knowledgeable consumer advocates from self-serving industry shills if professional blogs stopped blurring the distinction.

  • go after Yelp next, they’re complete crap and everyone knows it. kthxbai

  • Emily

    This guy’s a stooge. I will admit that hanging out with restaurant folks is crazy fun but he comes off as a real loser. Poor fella.

  • m

    I loved the article and I love this post. As I see it, SD is trying too hard to fit into a scene in which he wants desperately to matter. He’s way too much of a namedropper to be taken seriously as any sort of journalist. And yes, his constant reminders that he broke a story first come off as desperate. Look, if you’re a great writer who consistently scoops the other blogs in town, that reputation will come naturally and your work will speak for itself.

  • Schuster

    I quietly lurk on all the food blogs every day and enjoy most of them all. I admit I read Side Dish for its TMZ ways. Crave is informative and never steered me wrong. Whatever they are doing at Crave I hope thy keep it up

  • I say, you can’t win. I consider myself a friend of Steven’s. But, regardless of him… you can’t write anything bad about some place without being attacked. If you only write about things you like, then you’re not a consumer advocate. Then, there are the daily dozens of hateful and mean-spirited comments that you have to wade through on every blog in order to find a few intelligent observations. I’m disappointed in it all.

  • Pilr

    Check this video, I think it’s Doyle.


  • Jenna

    I like what he writes. What do they say about not watching sausage being made? His blog gives a decent balance to all the others.

  • Everyone is indeed a critic and there is no line (that seems to matter anymore) between journalist, critic, food writer and blogger. There’s a reason google tried to buy yelp for $500M, opentable is selling at 6 x its IPO price, and CNET bought chowhound and then sold to CBS for almost $2B. The days of 1 critic in 1 print publication making or breaking a restaurant are dead or at least on life support.

    I don’t know this guy and only checked out his site/blog, ironically, after reading this article. If the penchant for self promotion is indeed true, I’m sure he thinks the pub he’s getting from the article and this blog is pretty cool.

  • Pilr, link doesn’t work.

    Margie, no you can’t win but you can try to achieve a balanced report that serves the reader. If you fear writing criticism, then say so and write only good stuff. The Brad admits he only likes to write good stuff and I respect him for being honest about what he’s doing.

    Scott, oh you are so right. The food blog “industry” is really at an awful turn. Too many professional blogs have yet to discover how to make money on a blog. The necessary evil of being an outlet of an established business. Each day is like birthing a new baby. We are working hard to compensate our writers. We do pay their expenses, but I agree the bar will be raised when the money comes in. I have used journalism students and have learned too many times that even they are afraid to criticize things. If the future of food blogs is CraveDFW, then someone is going to have to drag me out screaming.

  • Chris

    Nancy, you work for one of the most vapid magazines in America, your “research” for your blog is laughable, and your fear of the evolution of news and media is obvious. Your blog posts only serve the purpose of generating clicks, yet you have the audacity and nerve to call out another self-promoter?

    On the other hand, at least you’re not Leslie Brenner.

  • The Dood

    Please do not forget that some people have left being food critics to become food bloggers i.e. Mike Hiller….commands the same montra, come in get it for free, hope he writes something nice about you and never returns unless he is mentioned….its all crap!

  • Terry

    D Magazine and Nancy Nichols seem scared shitless. By the way, why should Doyle not try and get “scoops”? Is that too close to your backyard? Do you ever call people asking for stories? Seems like you did a few hours ago.

  • Pingback: The Steven Doyle Debate | FrontBurner()

  • Terry

    Oh, look no further than the Best Doctor issue for the largest dung heap in American today.

  • So, if I put some statement at the top of my blog saying I only write about good things, it’s OK? Hmmm… I’m not sure I can accept that theory. It’s OK not to have a balanced report as long as you just come out and say it? Does give me a new idea for a blog, though… how about I just write about things I don’t like? I bet I could generate some serious traffic! But, then I don’t think I’d be doing a service to the community, either. If you’re going to argue the value of journalism then I think you’ve got to include both sides.

  • JB

    Nailed it.

  • Margie, it’s certainly more honest to say you only write good things. That doesn’t make it balanced. I’m sorry I think you and I are agreeing but unclearly. Sorry about that.

    Terry, I am not scared shitless by anyone reporting stories, or calling sources for stories, or being first. Doyle works his butt off to get scoops. I admire that. I don’t take that away from him. I’m questioning some of his methods.

  • Sorry

    Nancy I am sorry I can’t use my real name. I’m afraid I will lose my job. I work at a popular restaurant and bar in Dallas and Doyle is in here a lot. He is a freeloader. He makes gross remarks to female customers and he does not pay. My friends and I were at a bar called Sideways one night and Doyle came in and started taking pictures. The bartender asked him to stop. One of the women with him said don’t you know who this is. Steve Doyle he can make you famous. There was another man with him with lots of tats and he got in the owners face. It was scary. Then they just walked out.

  • Bobby Ewing

    @gavlist: Why anyone would conflate a blog by an individual with an entire magazine with editors and gatekeepers is beyond me. So, is PerezHilton the same as Vanity Fair?

  • Kat

    I personally follow several “blogs” including this one. I appreciate the multiple sources, STYLES and views that the information is presented. Thanks to you all for allowing me to stay on top of our cities ever changing, evolving dining, bar, and food scene. I see passion at work and that helps everyone.

  • Sharon

    I disagree with Sorry. Doyle is friends with our owner and comes by once a month or so. He is always polite and a nice guy. He wouldn’t be where he is if he was a shit.

  • A

    I work at a restaurant that Steven Doyle frequents, and he has never offered to pay his tab. Instead he walks out on it, assuming that it is free.
    Although he believes himself to be a professional, I have never seen a professional food critic expect the tab to be free.

  • amanda

    Doyle thinks that’s mean spirited? Grow a pair. It was a great story, following someone around for an evening. My opinion is that Doyle realized when he read it how he comes off to others.

    I had never heard of him before today. Great discussion on the “benefit” of food bloggers. Sorry, Doyle…fish or fowl. Pick one.

  • Defender

    I don’t always agree with Nancy but she is right here. I think this blog has good information , interesting stories like the old wine story, and ball busters like this. As a former employee of Michael Costa I will always be beholden to Nancy for reporting on that scum. Vapid is not a term for this blog.

  • gavlist

    Bobby Ewing – sorry, I don’t know who PerezHilton is, and I don’t read Vanity Fair… so your analogy is lost on me. But where did I conflate a magazine with a blog? I’m asking how you decide whether an individual who seeks out and reports news should be considered a reporter or a blogger.

  • Bobby Ewing

    @gavlist: if you lack at least a working knowledge of major media outlets and highly-visited blogs then I am afraid your ability to analyze journalists vs. bloggers is less than credible. When you say “Why call him a blogger and not a reporter? Is there some objective distinction?” you are summarily erasing the differences between blogs and publications and you are inviting a discussion of distinctions. I am trying to make the important distinction between the two: many blogs lack the command and control, the community policing, the codes and the ethics of journalists. I am not a journalist but I am floored to think that folks now equate the opinion of what amounts to an online diary with the fact-checked, edited, and deliberated articles from journalists. Yikes.

  • Marc

    I just read a few days worth of Doyle’s stuff and I liked every bit of his work. He seems to have many people working with him giving the blog a different perspective. Sorry Nancy, you are wrong on this one. Maybe you should consider hiring the boy. That would be a classier way to eliminate your competition.

  • Bobby Ewing

    @gavlist: there are plenty of blogging exceptions, to be sure (a food blog by a credentialed food expert such as Ruhlman or Greenspan or Reichl) but I am speaking to the blog of the “fan” who suddenly thinks that because 100 or 1000 people follow her (or him), then she (or he) is now a expert annointed by the populace.

  • poundofbacon

    The point is that whether he is considered reporter or a blogger, he has a responsibility to let the audience know if he has an agenda – especially when a mass quantity of them trust him as a source. “With great power comes great responsibility.” -spiderman’s unlce

  • VM

    @Bobby Ewing. Thank you for the reasoned response, it is scary to realize many people don’t see a difference between a blogger and a journalist.

  • curmudgeon

    Food Bloggers Ode (sung to Dirty Laundry)
    We make our livin’ off the weekend reviews
    Just give us somethin’ – somethin’ we can use
    People need to be amused
    They love dirty laundry

    Well, we coulda been writers
    but we wound up here
    We just have to read good
    We don’t have to be clear
    Come and whisper in my ear
    Give us dirty laundry

    Kick’em when their up
    Kick’em when their down
    Kick’em when their up
    Kick’em when their down
    Kick’em when their up
    Kick’em when their down
    Kick’em when their up
    Kick’em all around

    We got the weekend headline
    That’s due by five
    We’ll tell you about the cafe
    With a gleam in our eye
    It’s interesting when blogger’s lie
    Give us dirty laundry

    Can we write about your operation
    Is the review done yet?
    You know the food bloggers got a running bet
    Get the waiters on the set
    We need dirty laundry

    You don’t really need to find out what’s going on
    You don’t really want to know how far it’s gone
    Just leave well enough alone
    Trust our dirty laundry

    Kick’em when their up
    Kick’em when their down
    Kick’em when their up
    Kick’em when their down
    Kick’em when their up
    Kick’em when their down
    Kick’em when their up
    Kick’em all around

    Crazy little secrets
    Crazy little guise
    We have our opinions about everybody’s tries
    We will cut you down to size
    We love dirty laundry
    We can do the “innuendo”
    We love to punch and swing
    When it’s said and done
    We haven’t told you a thing
    We all know Crap is King
    We love dirty laundry

    The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs. ~Charles de Gaulle

  • A Turd

    You won’t win an argument with Nichol’s, er, Bobby Ewing. Doyle is doing fine and seems to be a by product of this very blog. I also do not believe he thinks or pretends to be a critic. Seems like he promotes himself well and the restaurants he visits. Now Brenner, she’s a witch.

  • Beda

    I don’t read CraveDFW, but I have read Steve’s comments on these sites and his interviews with chefs on DO (and possibly at other places). I always found Steve Doyle’s writing to be sycophantic in nature and took all of it with a grain of salt. He appeared to me to be really pleased with himself that he was friends with the chefs. My impression is that he would never give an honest critique of a restaurant/chef for fear of being cut off from them. The article makes me question how real his relationships are with the chefs – it could be a mutually beneficial relationship – he says nice things about the chefs/restaurants and they give him free meals and drinks and he gets to give the impression that he’s on the “inside.” These blogs are filled with others (who don’t give their real names) who appear to do the same — always over-the-top praise for food/restaurants; they’re usually easy to spot and I take their comments, as I do Doyle’s — lightly and read them mainly for entertainment.

  • amanda

    Hidden in the comments, the “suggestion” that D hire Doyle. So, his blog isn’t monetized, his meal ticket may be coming to an end, and the blogger needs to find a home for his “work.” Sorry to break it to you Doyle, you’ll be lucky to scrape a few hundred bucks for a regular blogging gig, anywhere.

  • Bobby Ewing

    @A Turd: I am not Nichols. I am a recovering college teacher who saw one too many students citing blogs as authorities in term papers 🙂

    And as for Doyle’s representation…he calls himself “reporter-y” and seems to be interested in delivering news and “scoops.” So perhaps that’s just “journalistic” and not a journalist? We are splitting rhetorical hairs. He delivers news and reviews: that’s journalism in the minds of most readers.

  • Kirk

    Shakedown artists exist in every business in every market. Based on the reports, Doyle is a laughable amateur compared to many. He and the other freebie-grubbing, self-appointed blogger-critics will continue to have a modicum of power until restaurant and bar owners and their publicists say, “Sorry. I am not playing that game any more.”

  • MediaWhore

    I am one of those timid restaurateurs who cannot publicly express their disdain for Mr. Doyle. While I appreciate good publicity from CraveDFW, the cost of dealing with Steve is too high.

    His sense of entitlement is astounding. He gets hammered and has never paid a tab. When given a tab he is genuinely shocked. In fact I have run into him at other bars and been stuck with paying his check. In and of itself, that is not a horrible crime. The fact that he bills himself as a food journalist is another story. He should really bill himself as a marketing manager for the select group of chefs/bartenders/owners who enjoy his company enough to hang out with him on a nightly basis.

    @gavlist.. the reason you don’t see places “blacklisted” on Crave is because he simply won’t write about places that won’t give him what he wants. That might be fine if he considered himself a publicist but it is an irresponsible (and possibly illegal) practice for a journalist.

  • A Turd

    I feel fairly safe that this harsh criticism is only working in his favor and possibly negates the writers original intent. This all drew me in to his blog and it was actually a good read. I think the days of print are long gone, and their lord ships with them.

  • Paying Customer

    I find Steve Doyle and The Brad so despicable with their entitled, yet sycophantic behavior for free food and wine, that I avoid the restaurants/chefs they tout. I can find plenty of restaurants that don’t cater to them, make great food, and welcome my Black card. I wish more people would do the same.

  • I can verify Bobby Ewing is not me. Thank you all for your comments.I recognize many of you and respect your opinions. I take exception with Chris who says, “Nancy, you work for one of the most vapid magazines in America, your “research” for your blog is laughable.” You have no idea how much work running a blog is. You have no idea how much research goes on to produce one post. It is hard work and that is why so many people take the easy way or last about a year before they toss it out. To make money on a blog is even harder. Our vapid magazine is 36 years old and we are struggling with capturing advertising dollars. It’s either too early or too late for this medium.

  • Bobby Ewing

    @ A Turd: So, you are saying that because more people are reading online we should merely accept a sense of entitlement, shoddy writing and poor standards? Alas, that’s where we are heading if folks continue to confuse blogging eaters with reasoned writers.

  • Ilovetheritz

    Where is Tesar with 50 comments I thought we would be talking about Tesar

  • Charles

    I think its funny that the angriest commentors claim not to read Doyle but think he’s a poor writer. The guy is writing about dinner! If you don’t like him don’t read him.

  • OK – I stayed out of this but must respond to “Paying Customer.”
    There is no similarity between my blog and Crave DFW, save that the theme is food. I dine out as a very expensive hobby, take pictures of food that I like, and share it.
    You wanna see my Amex statements? I challenge you to find a restaurant or bar that I have ever pressured or walked a tab on. In the cases that I accept an invitation or something is comped, I make a effort to tip out the staff (though I’m sure I’ve missed a few here and there).
    Avoiding restaurants that I feature on my blog would be ludicrous for anyone interested in exceptional dining in Dallas.

  • gavlist

    MediaWhore: Can it really be true? Are all restaurants equally (and legally) entitled to be written about? Are you saying that Doyle doesn’t have the right to write about “whom and what he likes”?

    Bobby Ewing: yeah… sorry. Not into celebrity gossip, and Vanity Fair is not what I choose to read in my spare time. But your point about “command and control” etc. is well taken. It’s not journalism unless it’s validated and fact checked.

    So… wait – are you saying that Doyle doesn’t verify his information before publishing it? How would you even know? Only “credentialed” bloggers check their facts?

  • Beda

    I would add The Brad as one who works the quid pro quo angle. He and Steve may never give negative reviews (as Margie states, and by the way, if they’re getting free food, I wouldn’t call them a consumer advocate), but in exchange for positve, glowing reports, they are invited to all the dinners that at one time (pre-internet) was strictly for the established media (actual journalists). Heck, I’ll gladly write a glowing review on Tuesday for a hamburger today.

  • Beda

    I saw The Brad’s post only after I posted mine. Brad may pay for alot of his meals (as he says), but it seems that I’ve read posts of yours where you are invited to dinners that, as I stated, were at one time for established journalists only. I want to state that I’m not lumping you with Steve’s apparent boorish behavior, only that it appears to me that you get invited to dinners that you don’t pay for and then you write glowing reviews afterward.

  • @Beda, I Do Not Do Criticism. It’s right there on the top of my blog. I take pictures of food and wine, and related events, and share them – that’s it. I spend a small fortune at a number of restaurants that find exceptional, and therefor feature them with some regularity. I avoid the great majority of “Media Dinners,” but do accept invitations to many of the larger charity events, as they provide such great fodder for my “Phoodo-journolism” food photography jones.
    At least Steve tries to put two sentences together – I’m more interested in the pics. Sharing the experience of a space, the food, the drinks, as I experienced them “in-the-moment,” that’s my schtick.

  • RJ

    I really don’t mind someone getting free meals every night. If the chefs really want to do that, then that is their problem.

    However, it doesn’t matter whether the write up after that is a critic or just a blog post. FTC regulation has clearly stated that the author has to disclose whether he/she paid for the product or not.
    From what I’ve read so far in the main story and here, it doesn’t seem that Steve does that at all.

    Did you disclose it in your blog when you get freebies? I’m pretty sure extra tip for the waitress doesn’t count as “paying for the meal”

  • whoa, nelly

    there is no extra tip, in fact rarely does he tip…and on the subject of food bloggers…there is only one that matters. Ruth Bourdain http://ruthbourdain.tumblr.com/

    LIGHTEN UP…Dallas is so b**ch-y. Ya’ll.

  • @Beda – I’m not against the idea of “not doing critism” that Brad favors. I don’t see a whole lot of difference between that and what Steven does. Steven likes to say that he’s a respectful writer. He’s not out to ruin someone’s reputation. He’s trying to encourage people to go out and have fun. What’s so wrong with that? No one has to like him personally. But, there is a ton of information on his site. And like Nancy said, that’s a hard thing to keep up day after day. Love him or hate him… here we are talking about him.

  • DoyleHoHo

    To. If I’m Doyle right now I’m thanking ms Nichols for the freebie. He not only learned a lesson he got more famous. I saw him at Cane Rooso one night and he was totally shit faced. He was blabbering about some chef who was waiting for him. Really big guy too. He’s in maybe his 13th minute of fame.

  • RJ

    There is nothing wrong to write something that you like. However, since when does that excuse you from violating FTC rules?

  • Pilaf

    The Brad does not take money from restaurants. Doyle does. The Brad is motivated by passion for food. Doyle is motivated by personal gain.

  • That’s a big question, RJ.

  • Charles

    I just went back and read a few months worth of sidedish and found numerous infractions that Nancy is accusing Doyle of doing. I am fairly certain D Magazine is a for profit organization. Mother Teresa doesn’t blog.

  • La Paisa

    What happen to the love people? 🙂 None of us would not be reading this blog it wasnt for the love for food. Thats what we all have in common. I believe we should stop “attacking, or critizing” those who share their food experience with the rest.

  • RJ

    I find it’s interesting that neiter Doyle nor TheBrad address the FTC rule issue.

  • JTT

    My customers watched him skip out on a tab with McCallister and asked about us about it. Management, of course, was shocked, we couldn’t come up with a response as he dined and dashed. Our restaurant danced with the devil and we paid for it out of our own pockets. Numerous times.

    I’m not fond of The Brad, but The Brad’s got a legitimate day job. Doyle is unemployed; he’s cashed out all his unemployment checks. Isn’t there a conflict of interest if he can’t pay for all these meals? He’s skipping the tabs. That’s a crime….

    Now if you are a restaurant owner, do you confront him and say: You owe me XXX and risk bad press? In this economy and with a group of people who like him?

    At first, I thought he was someone who supported restaurants. He’s a parasite, who has blackmailed his way through an industry whose profit margins are marginal. He’s not our supporter; he’s a growing tumor that is metastacizing faster than the industry can not just handle, but fathom.

  • RJ

    That group of people who like him will know him for a fraud if you call the police and report him for dine and dash. How is it bad publicity to report a crime?
    In this case restaurants are guilty too as a enabler.

    If I eat at your place and dash without paying, are you going to be afraid of reporting me too? I have people who like me as well you know.

  • JTT

    We all enabled him. The Observer by hiring him, McCallister, Cedars Social, Tesar, Luscher, Jerrier, and all his chef “buddies”, anyone he has ever written about, D Magazine by referencing him and giving him credit for “scoops,” we fed, invited him to
    press meals, and professional writers enabled him by spending time with him, making him feel like he was a “professional,” too.

    We all created Frankendoyle. Now what?

  • Oh JTT, you have really hit the nail here. For the problem, as Kirk pointed out earlier today, is that restaurant owners are scared.
    If you are a restaurant owner and someone who represents themselves as media skips on a bill, you have the right to call the police. Risk bad press for doing the right thing? Don’t assign anyone who does this that much power. You can only take it away by not enabling them. We have a disclaimer in D that says if anyone identifies themselves as a restaurant reviewer and demands or expects a free meal, please call the police. It’s been in the same spot on our restaurant page for 30 years. People pose as critics and try to get free meals. I encourage you to email me. I have a list of other concerned restaurateurs. Thank you for commenting.

    Curmudgeon, I think Don Henley would appreciate your efforts!

    Margie thank you for your comments and using your real name. RJ is right. The interesting and looming question is the law.

    Charles, I welcome the links to the stories where you found infractions. I am prepared to stand up for what is on this blog.

    Also, I feel it fair to point out that many bloggers are unaware of the FTC law and they violate it unknowingly. Perhaps, this will be a wake up call.

    Again, thank you all for engaging in a necessary conversation. It’s obvious that a lot of you pay attention and took time to write thoughtful responses.

  • RJ

    Like I said before, I don’t care whether he got free meals or whether the restaurants willingly give it to him. It doesn’t matter who he works for. It doesn’t matter what his ‘passion for writing’ is. It doesn’t matter whether he posts 10 pictures and write 2 sentences or posts half a picture and 2 pages of words.

    There are only a few facts that I care about:
    a) He has a blog/website that contains posts about the news surrounding Dallas food scene
    b) He may or may not have disclosed about getting freebies in those posts
    c) He may or may not have VIOLATED FTC RULES

    Those facts apply to all blogs/website (including sidedish).
    We can argue until the end of the world on whether sidedish has better quality article or whether Doyle/Brad has it. But one thing that we can’t argue about is that sidedish did not violate the rule of the game.

  • allison

    He sounds like he’s not that far off from a club promoter, just for restaurants. Club promoters promote, promote, promote to get people in the door & then get a cut of said door. Doyle talks up restaurants and/or chefs on his site, but instead of cash, he (apparently assumes he) gets free food & booze and the pleasure of hanging with the cool kids. Am I missing anything?

    You know who was originally a club promoter? Spencer from The Hills. Think about it. He weaseled his way to “celebrity” status by being everywhere & quickly became too big for his britches. But because he was beyond desperate and completely lacking in substance, people got fed up & annoyed and his star fell so fast once the next best thing came around.

    I don’t see much of a different fate for Doyle. Eventually the chefs will tire of him and his antics and we will all forget about him. I’m sure in 5 years NN will have a post on this blog inquiring “what ever happened to…”.

  • Charles
  • slade

    anybody have any thing free for me; i actually need a nice comped saturday dinner on Dec 3rd for 2-3 people; i have 375 friends on FB and will blog the crap out of the good, the bad, & the ugly…LMAO…NN has my contact info…THANKS!

  • Charles, covering an event is way different than eating a free meal and not disclosing it. That is like calling out a baseball reporter for covering a game.

  • Charles

    So special rules? He ate free and assume entered free? He didn’t disclose. There are plenty more but he is a reporter, right? At least you referred to him as such last week. Get your own house clean.

  • Charles


    Are we to assume he paid gor this burger? Shall we call and find out?

  • RJ

    FTC rules only stated that you have to disclose freebies. You don’t have to explicitly say it if you pay for the meal. So in your post about elevation burger, we have to assume sidedish paid for the meal unless you have proof otherwise.

    Look at all NY times restaurant review, they don’t always explicitly write that they pay for the food.

    Look at car review site such as insideline.com by edmunds. They usually state at the bottom of the article that the manufacturer provides the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of gas.

    Look at video game review site such as kotaku.com
    At the end of their review, it usually states such and such company provide them with a review copy of the game.

    On your post about the caesar salad competition, it’s not a restaurant review/endorsement. The author reported about chef A wins or lose the competition. I don’t think they have to disclose anything there.
    Like Nancy said, it would be like ESPN reporter covering game 3 of world series in Dallas and then said “Oh btw, I paid for the hot dogs and ticket”

  • Charles

    I called Elevation. It was comped. I dont agree with the analogy but not my fight. I just think D does a lot more than meets the eye. Best Dr issue is a great example.

  • RJ

    Then Doyle/Brad/Nancy has the $11,000 question that they need to answer

  • MS

    Has Doyle ever disclosed audited site traffic stats for Crave DFW? A friend in PR once contacted Doyle to request a rate card and certified traffic stats and he wouldn’t respond to her. That’s a huge red flag in this business. Sites that aren’t transparent with advertisers about their rates and traffic are only preying on the most gullible of business owners. It’s also an ethical lapse for Crave DFW to run dummy ads for businesses without their consent.

  • Charles, you are missing the point. WTF does Best Docs have to do with this? Example of what?

    Andrew stated “I met with owners David and Fiona Barleggs and they walked me through the process that they claim elevates the hamburger.” He is writing a report on the operation.

  • MS, you are correct. I contacted three of the “advertisers” on his site and two were unaware they were even on the site. They told me they did not place the ads. Again, there is the possibility that the “logos” were placed on the site without the operator knowing the rules, but, in my opinion, if you are going to run a blog as a business it is your responsibility to know the rules of the business.

  • Charles

    So your rules are different. By your definition all anyone need do is get a tour or attend an event and its on for free booze and food with no disclaimers. Clever. I need to be in the blogging and justification business like you. Sounds like you have your morals set for stun.

    I agree with the person that said TMZ. This is nothing more than a witch hunt with the lead Dallas witch.

  • No, Charles, my rules comply with the FTC.

  • Willie Ammes

    Regarding the “Best Doctors” issue, I think Charles is trying to say that the selection of top docs is linked to a quid pro quo system. Perhaps he is insinuating that some restaurants in your magazine and blog receive more extensive coverage if there is a business opportunity.

  • I was off living my life for a couple hours… and drinking some scotch (which I paid for).
    @ RT. Done. My blog is updated with a clear designation of my adventures that happen to have been comped by the establishment or organizer.
    @ JTT, man – I’m just in this to share the love. I’m sorry we’re not in the same page.
    @ Whoa, Nelly… If that was directed at me I’m truly sorry. I have some idea of what my be the case, but regardless – I will endeavor to do better.

  • Oh, RT=RJ.
    As George Costanza would say, “I’m out!”

  • JI

    Hey everybody look! …something about Trader Joe’s…

  • RJ

    That leaves our main topic man of the night which is MIA so far.

  • JTT

    I thought Sheeler did a great job. (Sheeler’s a great asset to Dallas. I love his reporting. In fact, I googled and read all his personality profiles.)

    @Brad, it’s just a matter of taste, and I’d be lucky to have a paying, enthusiastic customer like you support our mission. You keep chefs in business. Unlike Doyle.

    @Nancy, saw on FB that because of Sheeler’s article, he’d got some sort of life-changing opportunity.

    It’s the wild west; maybe the FTC or some sort of food/journalistic organization should issue passes/IDs for these people.

    Restauranteurs: you could start telling these bloggers that you will issue them a Refund/Gift Certificate once you see an article. A VERY successful colleague says this to all sales people: Gimme something for free. When it works, I’ll pay you for more.

  • Penrose

    Where’s big Jack Perkins, the Maple & Motor straight-shooter, always quick with the pithy quip? Ever since Doyle’s days at the Dallas Observer he and Perkins have never missed an opportunity to publicly stroke each other. Where’s Matty Tatty-Not-Natty McCallister, another of Doyle’s Facebook soul brothers and tab dodgers? Where’s Crave DFW advertiser Jay Jerrier? Apart from one bartender, none of Doyle’s good-buddy restaurateur and chef enablers are willing to step up and defend Doyle’s honor. Do two years of sloppy blog blowjobs count for NOTHING in this town?!?!

  • jane

    First John Wiley Price, now Steve Doyle.

    This year just keeps getting better and better.

  • Willie Ames and Charles, the doctors selected for Best Docs are voted on by other doctors.
    Charles, call the restaurants that advertiser in D Magazine and ask them if they receive more favorable coverage. No connection.

  • Joe Paterno

    On the bright side no one at Crave DFW has been accused of canoodling little boys

  • bc

    @Nancy – so, if you write a report, you don’t have to disclose freebies, but if you write a review, you do? Ok, then just claim all of your posts are reports, not reviews. I mean, Andrew compared the free burger directly with Elevation’s competition (better than In N Out, Whataburger, worse than Ava). That seems to be the opinion of someone reviewing their food. I’m not going to give you a pass on that one at all.

    I blogged alongside Steven at the short lived Critics Guide. Only met him once, well after he had finished his one or two articles for Dave Faries. I will say that I paid for every single one of my meals save for a special vegan week piece where I disclosed up front that several of the restaurants declined my payment (after my offering). My point here is that I’m not a professional blogger, and I knew the rules a year ago when I did that story.

    So, I’m not giving any of you a pass. If I figured out the rules without being told 12 months ago when I was doing one article a week for Critic’s Guide and working my real day job, then surely a bunch of people who consider themselves professional food writers/critics could get with the program.

    Nancy should certainly clean up those discrepancies on this blog (and not try to justify them as “reports”) and Steven should stop free-loading and start a legitimate operation if he wants to be taken seriously. Or at least disclose that he’s a huge free-loader if these multiple sources are all speaking the truth.

  • Rob

    @bc – I am asking for personal information but if I have paid for every single burger I have eaten and written a blog piece about, is there any I need to disclose or is it only if I were to receive a free burger

  • Bobby Ewing

    Recapping the discussion so far…

    1. Doyle keeps a sloppy blog, throws his weight around, characterizes his work as “reporter-y” and goes after news in a journalistic fashion yet does not have any rules and regs for his operation such as disclosures about freebies.
    2. The Brad’s personal blog about personal taste adventures now has greater transparency about comped meals.
    3. SideDish adheres to FTC rules about disclosing comped consummables. Like other mainstream media SideDish does not state they paid for meals. At the same time, given the variety of SideDish posts (reviews, explanations, peeks, etc.) and contributors (editors, writers, and guests) they try to remain vigilant about formal rules and ethical practices such as disclosing connections between contributors and the industry or about sponsored posts.
    4. Restaurant owners and chefs are enabling bad behavior when they kowtow to bloggers who don’t adhere to any journalistic standards.

    Thanks everyone…this is a good discussion.

  • bc

    @Rob – I’m not an expert, but I’m fairly certain you only have to disclose when you get the freebies. It’s assumed that when you’re reading a review, that a certain level of anonymity was maintained and that there would be no reason for a skewed review (ie: no free meals, etc). If you’re walking into burger joints and buying burgers and stating your independent opinion, you’re good to go, I believe.

  • Rob

    @bc that’s what I assumed – I buy my own burgers, I eat them and then I write about them whether good or bad – it’s a hobby that I enjoy; I have had a few publicist send me emails offering free burgers but I didn’t feel right taking them up on their offer

  • Monroe

    Penrose, there are two reasons the chefs and restaurateurs are lying behind the log. The first is that they are not Doyle’s friends, whatever he may think. They use him as a source of cheap publicity for their businesses, end of story. They feel no loyalty to him and many don’t even like him. They’ll commiserate with him in private and pat him on the head to soothe his wounded ego, but they’re not going to step out and vouch for an unscrupulous, over-eager blogger. He doesn’t mean that much to them.

    The second reason is that chefs and restaurateurs know that Doyle’s audience and credibility are a tiny fraction of those of Nancy Nichols and D. Whether or not Doyle throws a puff piece about your biz on Crave DFW will never make or break you. But you don’t f- around with D. Love or scorn from D will impact most restaurants’ bottom line. When push comes to shove, food industry peeps are much more afraid of crossing Nancy Nichols than they are of Steven Doyle. This whole thread proves that they’re right in fearing her more.

  • B

    Wow Nancy you have really stirred the pot..
    I was at an event recently and asked a Chef who that Steve was and his response oh he’s a Chef groupy.. Based on what I’m reading he’s not far off base. I keep reading about the same Chefs that don’t have there own restaurant and the same bars.
    I like his blog but It gets redundant.

  • Charles, Andrew Chalk just called Elevation Burger and types this: “I just spoke with Elevation owner/manager david. Neither he or his wife (Fiona) received any such call. He said his manager James would not have known whether I paid for my burger, if he had received a call, and would have asked David or Fiona, and he didn’t. It can therefore be inferred that nobody called Elevation Burger about my visit.”

    BC, I have a call into the FTC to clarify the rules.

    Bobby Ewing, when can you start work?

  • RJ

    Spider sense tingling…

  • Andrew Chalk

    bc: A review is anonymous. In my story on Elevation Burger I stated up front in the second paragraph that I was shown around by the management. Why would I write a report on a burger joint of all things (there are so many in Dallas, after all)? That is in the story, here: http://sidedish.wpengine.com/2011/10/27/elevating-the-burger-at-elevation-burger-in-dallas/

  • B

    RJ I think your spidey senses are spot on..

  • Nancy, I’d love to hear what the FTC has to say on this…

  • Chris

    Vapid, as in Nancy, check out your magazine’s website. Top stories include: how does a Glee star feel about Dallas, the shiny lights in each Dallas building, party pictures, party pictures, and… party pictures. God bless your magazine’s attempts at generating revenue and clicks — it’s actually a very useful tactic to give the masses what they want. But don’t pretend there’s any amount of substance in D Magazine.

    And please, inform me how much “research” it took to create this current blog post. You read SOMEONE ELSE’S article, then started three paragraphs straight with opinion and conjecture. “I don’t “know” Steven Doyle”, “If I’m a restaurant owner”, and “I’m no shrink but..”

  • bc

    @Andrew Chalk – under that same reasoning, I’d say that Crave is passing muster. I don’t see any hard core reviews on the site, just informative blurbs about new restaurants, menus, events, etc. So, you both pass the “report, not review” sniff test that we have newly established in the comments section of a blog (isn’t the future grand!!!).

    I guess I just really don’t have a problem with any of it either way. I am able to discern professional writing from non-professional writing when it comes to food. I welcome both and use my best judgement.

    I don’t hold anyone in higher regard than Nancy (well, I do love some Teresa Gubbins) in the Dallas food arena. But that doesn’t mean there’s not room for other methods/views.

    If the restauranteurs are unhappy with their partnerships with Steven, so be it. But if they’re scared of crossing his path, I’d say they’re way off base with their perception of Steven’s clout.

  • Kirk

    FTC news release is here: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm

    There is a link to the rule on that page.

  • BC, the reviews on sites are only a part of what I see as the problem. The sense of entitlement that develops when one becomes a “official food blogger” is a concern. Not just Doyle, but bloggers who bitch about not getting invites to events or dinners. Perhaps most of this goes on behind the scenes and I have made the mistake of assuming the public knowledge of what goes on in the world behind food blogs in Dallas. For that, I apologize. However, walking bar tabs is against the law. And if someone walks a bar tab and writes about the bar, the writer is basically writing about in-kind trade. And if I am the restaurant who received the glowing review, I am less likely to send the bill to the writer.

    Chris, I am sure my attempt to defend this publication is lost on you. However, I would point you to The ESD Scandal story we wrote, perhaps my investigation of Michael Costa, and our honest dining reviews. We are the city magazine of Dallas which means our mission statement is to serve the reader. And we have many types of readers. Yes, some like party pictures. Others like profiles about interesting people who live in Dallas and other great stories about this city. When you write and edit a blog post I will talk to you about research time, until then, I will say goodbye.

  • Oh, and BC…for the sake of argument, let’s discuss Elevation Burger.

    Theory: I call a bread factory and schedule a tour of the bread factory and write about how the factory makes bread. During the tour, I taste several varieties of bread. In my report I say, this is good bread but I like Mrs Baird’s better and it’s cheaper. Would you have me include the fact that I tasted samples of the bread? Or that my comparison of the two breads doesn’t provide another layer to the story? That to me is a report, not a review.
    I’m not being a smartass, I’m totally serious. Because I don’t see that as a breech of the FTC guidelines or unethical. I could be wrong, I’ve called the FTC and will ask that very question.

  • If you read CraveDFW and is somehow fooled into thinking that is serious journalism, then you are a fool, and deserve to be fooled.

    I am an (inactive) contributor to Crave. It is a blog, a collaborative (and unpaid) effort by multiple contributors (but definitely driven by Doyle). But if these blogs get a lot of visitors, then certainly they’re servicing a demand.

    People should learn to be discriminating readers. If they want to get their news from Perez Hilton rather than New York Times, that’s their call. Is Perez Hilton doing a disservice to mankind or should mankind take some responsibility and become more discriminating readers?

  • bc


    How would one anonymously review a bread factory? I understand your example, but it might not be the best comparison. To be sure, there is a fine line between what articles qualify as: news report or review?

    If we’re now talking about walking in, eating, walking out without paying (especially without express permission each time from the restaurant), and then writing a glowing article about the meal, then yes, I know which side of that fine line we’re discussing.

    I think you are correct that this is behind the scenes stuff that your average blog reader is not privy to. At least I wasn’t aware that this was a nightly occurrence. I would reason that was the case at certain special events, but not every Tuesday night when one wanted a good meal and some booze.

  • Bobby Ewing

    @Donna: Alas, I wish all readers were as vigilant and discriminating. You are obviously an insider who understands (as a former contributor) how Crave works. Many, many others do not. They see people writing about food and think it’s journalism. It’s not.

    I would agree that the average reader knows that Perez Hilton is gossip and the NYTimes is more vigilant about checking sources. However, when it comes to writing about restaurants the proliferation of online resources can create some murky waters when determining how the information/news/reviews/impressions are attained and how they are fact checked.

  • RJ

    I’ve said it before in the comments and I will say it again.
    It doesn’t matter whether you are NY Times with millions of readers or a simple blog with a couple hundred of clicks each day.
    ALL must adhere to the FTC rules regardless of content quality or the author’s intention.

    In this regards, CraveDFW/Doyle has not addressed this $11,000 question.

  • BC, I’m not talking about a review I am trying to show an example of a report. It isn’t anonymous. The appointment is set up ahead of time. That is what Andrew did at Elevation BUrger. That is why I called it a report. He asked them to show him through their operation and they did. Along the way he tasted the product…I call that a report with a layer of informed professional descriptions of the food.

    Donna, oh Donna. See, this is the point I raised earlier. Bloggers do not know the rules. That fact was central to the theme of the original story on Steven Doyle. Here is a perfect example of a veteran blogger who still does not understand the rules.

  • @RJ I agree with your point that all comp’ed food and drink should be disclosed by anyone writing about it. I’ve always followed that practice on my own blog. So yes, these type issues need to be addressed on CraveDFW as well as other publications. I personally think it’s sad when media coverage on entertainment (food/travel) is determined by who’s spending the most advertising dollar/PR dollar. Let’s see, how many articles in travel magazines are written by people who weren’t invited by specific hotels/destinations? Blogs that have real appeal involve real diners/real travelers writing about experiences that are not exclusive to press/media dinners/outings. But you know, some people will read anything.

    @BobbyEwing Hardly an insider here. Never actually met Doyle but was looking for more potential readers for my writing. However,as someone with limited “fun” reading time I quickly realized Crave fell off my regular reading list (I much prefer The Atlantic or The Economist, as it turns out).

  • Steven Doyle has issued a Who We Are on CraveDFW.

    In part:
    “We are not professional writers or journalists, but instead something much more grassroots. Because of this we are not edited with professional care, but perhaps that is the charm of who we are. There are plenty of slick operations in Dallas, and we would be happy to point the way to those should you not know of them.”

    Really? You sell ads with that?

  • Tahini

    Scott and Daniel Vaughn are the only credible and ethical bloggers in this town whose opinion you should take seriously. Their input is well-researched, thorough, and balanced. It is a shame we don’t have more like them in Dallas. That being said, if it’s your intent to find scoops, press releases, special events, chef news, etc., by all means look to Crave. Just call a spade a spade.

  • Beda

    The legitimate press (SideDish included) could make Steve and others of his ilk persona non grata by not promoting him/others with favorable mentions in your publications. That would go a long way in keeping him corralled inside his own website; then maybe the owners/chefs/bartenders would understand that his following/influence is small enough not to negatively impact them if they decide to redefine their relationship with him – get off the defensive with him and put any relationship with him on a professional footing (I use “professional” loosely). It’s pretty sad if there are restaurateurs who are genuinely afraid of Steve.

  • @ Nancy, about now I’d love that pic Elizabeth took of you and I a couple weeks ago… snerk…

  • you and me… uughh…


  • Tahini

    ^That being said, I like The Brad’s blog. Purty pictures.

  • Beda

    I just saw something pretty funny: to the right of this screen, under LOCAL MEDIA, then under Blog Roll, you provide a link to Crave DFW.

  • Beda

    Excuse me, it’s not under LOCAL MEDIA. But you still provide a link.

  • @Nancy, I’m not sure what rules I’m suppose to know other than FTC standards, which I’ve always complied by. And I was barely involved in that game of media dinners before I just got out of it all together. I don’t like the idea of anyone having any expectation of what I should/will write.

  • RJ

    I think the fact that Crave will start to make distinction on which meal is comped is a good start.
    The thing is, why not update your previous articles with it too? TheBrad did it within a few hours.

    And then this: “However, be there no doubt we will not write about anything, free or otherwise, unless we enjoyed the experience.”

    I wonder how many free meals that Crave dislikes and how many non-free meals that Crave likes? That will be an interesting statistics.

  • Brandy

    @Donna- I think she was agreeing with you, not antagonizing you. FTC standards = rules bloggers should know.

  • BB

    If every restaurant and bar owner that Doyle has screwed over by dining and dashing (and let’s face it, he seems to do it a lot) would come forward and call this guy out, Dallas would be a better place and maybe Doyle would move to another city to con others.

    On a side note, he is a huge creep. That “Crave Girl” section is disturbing. The girl on the site now doesn’t look a day over 20, and he’s got to be in his 50s. And I’ve seen a picture on there where you could tell the woman didn’t even know she was being photographed (can’t find it now, but it appeared to be a coug at the ZaZa pool). He’s just a perv with a camera and, as Nancy pointed out, a sense of entitlement.

  • Waiting

    In response to this post by Doyle ““We are not professional writers or journalists, but instead something much more grassroots. Because of this we are not edited with professional care, but perhaps that is the charm of who we are. There are plenty of slick operations in Dallas, and we would be happy to point the way to those should you not know of them.”

    I have a problem with this comment. You lose such credibility when you write poorly or carelessly. Anything published should be reviewed by two sets of eyes before it’s published. It’s hard to take someone seriously when they consistently write like junior high students.

  • Eater

    He comes off way more credible than t hmg e comentors or D Magazine. just read and like Crave.

  • slade

    unless my friend count went down, i still need that meal comped on Dec 3rd…thanks!

  • RJ

    Sounds like Crave will like your talent in writing, judging from the post that they don’t really edit what they write.

  • Sorry I am late to the party. Contrary to to popular belief, I don’t keep up with blogs of any kind. One of my customers came in and told me my name was dropped here with some venom attached. Here is what I have to say:

    1. Penrose you anonymous coward, feel free to go fuck yourself. You may address this insult in person. I’m easy to find.

    2. I have no reason to defend Steve Doyle. Ask him. We know each other well enough, but he has seen my woodshed plenty. He has never received as much as a free soft drink at Maple & Motor and if he ever complained about not getting the scoop on a story, our last conversation would be heated. We’ve never been out together socially. His burger tour didn’t even visit my place. He wrote one piece about me for the Observer. Check the Crave DFW archives and tell me what you find about me and my restaurant.

    3. I don’t believe bloggers are dangerous. 60% of them are just pathetic. Oh So somebody actually sent out a press release once that she had been promoted in a company that consisted of her and her husband.

    4. My main complaint about blogs is the comment sections and their anonymity. It’s opened the world to cowards and pussies.

    So make up a funny name and write something about me. You can tell both your friends how hilarious you are.

  • Cletus Polsecher

    At your suggestion, Jack, I checked the Crave DFW archives and saw that you “won” Doyle’s ballot-stuffing competition for Best Burger in Dallas. Congratulations!

  • sara

    @Jack, you should change your last name to Ass.

  • I meant to put something in there about predictability and snarkiness. You followed directions…except for the funny part.

  • Amy S.

    I’ve met Steven and even contributed to Crave one written item. He seems to be a nice man. However, I think he missed an opportunity in this coverage to really convey what it was that he is trying to accomplish. When the story starts out with a gin and tonic and ends (after many restaurant/bars) with reddened eyes and an attempt to lie about one’s age, you have to wonder if his blog is a business or a lifestyle. I wonder if he might have come off with more credibility, and a better story line, if he had abstained from drinking for the night.

    That being said, I’m a very bad writer with a good editor, yet still my errors wake me up at 3 am. Disclosed.

  • Marvin Lee
  • Penrose

    You’re full of shit, Jackson. One piece about M&M at the Observer? Nothing about M&M in Crave?

  • Read my post again [redacted] I said Steve Doyle wrote one piece about me for the Observer. There is plenty of other stuff about M&M in the Observer.

    I said check the Crave DFW archives. I didn’t say there was nothing. There are mentions, but certainly nothing that rises to your insinuation.

    The point is that I am not tied in any way to Steve Doyle. i owe him nothing. I give him nothing. I certainly don’t fear him.

    I would have no reason to defend him unless someone said or wrote something that was baseless and harmful. Unflattering doesn’t meet that standard. Steve’s a big boy. He basically created the world that he lives in. He can defend it.

    My name’s not Jackson, Pinhead. My invitation stands you coward.

  • Sarah Eveans

    “So make up a funny name and write something about me. You can tell both your friends how hilarious you are.”
    Jack Perkins rules.

  • HotMess

    My Two Cents: The first time I ever considered this issue was a few weeks ago, when I was reading several local blogs and the name “T.Hee Greetings” kept coming up. I figured it was a brand new business considering the buzz. Recently I noticed Cynthia Smoot’s blog where she admitted she was responsible for putting on a “Blogger’s Party” of some sort there. To Cynthia’s credit, this is a great idea and she was open about the fact that her marketing company hosted the event. Sadly, none of the other blogs I read admitted that they’d received a gift bag, free food, etc for attending this event. Instead, the tone seemed to be, “Check out T.Hee Gifts…this great little place I stumbled upon…it ROCKS!” No mention of freebies. Now I read every blog a little differently. Still haven’t visited the gift store either.

  • Brandy

    YES, I knew I should check back today! Thanks Jack! …Go Jack! Go Jack!

  • FoodLover

    These comments are amazingly heated, considering the topic. I read Steven’s blogs because he is a talented writer who shares my love of food; his blogs are accurate and informative. Many traditional news media are undergoing financial difficulty, and their reporters are feeling competition from bloggers. I suppose that explains some of these nasty comments. After decades of reading food critics writing in traditional media, I frankly don’t see any reason to value their inputs more highly than those of food-knowledgeable bloggers like Steven. If you own a restaurant, feed Steven and expect him to pay – give him a bill; don’t be a chickensh-t, stew silently and then slam him in a cowardly anonymous comment. Jack Perkins is the only commenter with whom I’d care to share a meal. The rest of you – get a life and try to enjoy it. You are Texans; act like it. If you don’t enjoy his writing – don’t read it. Life is full of opportunities to get upset about things that really matter.

  • RJ

    Wow apparently there are still people who thinks this is all about attacking what Doyle writes. You got it the other way around.
    This is about what he DOESN’T write, which is disclosing all those freebies that he took, regardless on whether he write pulitzer award level of article or just blogging that THIS SANDWICH ROCKS!

  • FoodLover

    Actually, RJ, I DO get it;, but you apparently still don’t. Only I can decide whether or not a food writer gives accurate recommendations. Frankly, I don’t care whether his bad recommendations are because he is an idiot or because he got a freebie; I could care less if his good recommendations reflect free food or brilliant culinary judgement. All I care about is whether his judgement matches my own regarding good food – can I trust him. I find that the recommendations of many of the professional food critics have misled me in the past. Should I feel better about their ruining my dining because they didn’t take a freebie? In the final analysis, all that matters is whether a food writer’s body of work builds confidence and trust in his recommendations. Steven’s body of work has earned my confidence – period. That’s all that really matters. All the backstabbing and envy that I see reflected in these comments makes me wonder about people who spend their lives obsessing over comments in blogs. I stand by my prior comments. Get a life.

  • BlogGer

    Food Lover… Doyle a talented writer? He admits on his blog he is not a writer. So you value a guy who hits bars all night and eats and drinks for free? I think you should get upset. Or admit to being his mother!!!

  • Penrose

    What were you showing Doyle in your woodshed, Jackson? How to be a thin-skinned asshat? One piece by Doyle in the Observer, you say? Is that the one where Doyle said your breakfast tacos were better than Torchy’s? http://goo.gl/kuyEe Or the one on how Jack Perkins Does it His Way? http://goo.gl/swhTh Or the one where Jack Perkins tells Foodies to Beware? http://goo.gl/arhHG Or the one where Jack Perkins teaches Doyle how he makes the burgers at M&M (SPOILER ALERT: HE FRIES GROUND BEEF ON A FUCKING GRIDDLE)? http://goo.gl/bpcfF

    That’s why you’re full of shit, Jackson. Down in the comments in all of those Steven Doyle stories there’s little Jackie Perkins with his swagger and hissy fits, throwing insults at Borborygmous, Worzel Gummidge, Iris McCallister, Twinwillow, Margie, and more. You’re full of shit because Doyle gave M&M the award for the best burger in Dallas at Crave DFW, which you know because you made your appearance there too. No special treatment there. You’re full of shit because you gave Doyle the one and only exclusive sneak preview of your breakfast tacos before you even opened M&M for breakfast. You really expect anyone to believe those weren’t comped?

    Even if it’s hard for you to get your head around, Jackson, this IS NOT ABOUT YOU. It’s about Steven Doyle. You were just an example of Doyle’s BFFs who played him for easy press, but leave him twisting in the wind now that he’s being called out. All your effort to distance yourself from him here just proves that the people Doyle thinks are his friends aren’t.

  • Yes Pinhead. I’m telling you that nobody eats free at Maple & Motor. I’ve never even comped my mother.

    Listen carefully you cowardly, anonymous prick. You may call me rude. You may call me curmudgeonly. You may call me an ass. You may call for me to stop kicking your ass if we ever meet face to face.

    You can never call me dishonest you gasbag. STEVE DOYLE HAS NEVER BEEN COMPED AT MAPLE & MOTOR. If you can prove otherwise, lets hear it.

    Steve Doyle and I are not friends. If he or anyone else thinks otherwise, they are idiots. Friends come to your house for dinner. They come pick you up when your car is dead. They call you when their heart is broken.

    Steve and I are acquaintances who met when HE called ME to do the three part story you mention in your post above. Idiot. He and I tend to disagree more than we agree.

    Read this carefully. Bloggers are not important to me, or anyone for that matter. I find them to be absolutely insignificant. No restaurateur with any intelligence would sell their integrity to curry the favor of the best of them. They are at best a dalliance and at worst a nuisance.

    They are all better than you – even Margie and Cynthia.

  • RJ

    Did you even read what I write so far? I don’t care whether you or anyone like what Doyle writes.
    I don’t care if he has a million readers like you. It still doesn’t absolve him from violating FTC rules.

  • matt mccallister

    I think you are all a bunch of bitches…every single one of you…. fuck you and fuck off……
    Junge my food and that is it.. other than that fuck you

  • Penrose

    There’s not a hair of difference between you, Jackson, and every other restaurant owner who uses Doyle to promote himself. Deny, shout, and threaten all you want.

  • Penrose

    Junge McCallister’s food, bitches. Matt and Iris play Doyle like a lyre for easy press lovin’, but not one word in his defense.

  • FoodLover

    I had resolved to abstain from further comment, realizing most of these commenters need to hit puberty before they merit attention. However, Perkins’ rational comments and McCallister’s expression of artistic rage inspires me to try once again to shine adult light on the topic of Steven’s culinary blog. Most readers of Steven’s blog are highly intelligent professionals who value someone with culinary taste offering recommendations. We are harsh judges, and our exquisite palates are our final arbiters, not the FTC. We continue to follow Steven’s blogs ONLY because his past advice has proven valid to us; we will quit reading ONLY when his advice proves faulty. It isn’t that we don’t care about FTC rules; it’s just that our palates are far better judges of Steven’s recommendations than the FTC. RJ keeps crying that he only cares about FTC rules. Fine – then quit wasting time making comments here, because the FTC isn’t reading these comments. Google ‘FTC’, find their address and go make your argument to them. There is only one reason for RJ’s continued comments here, and that is anonymous character assassination, which is cowardly. It appears that nearly all these negative comments are being made by people green with envy, either of Steven’s large following or of the chefs who have merited Steven’s praise. I’m sorry for you, but God apparently chose to distribute talent unevenly. Live with it. The rest of us will continue to listen to Steven until the first time that he recommends a chef whose food disappoints us. Permit me to try to interpret and apply McCallister’s interesting comment: “If you like my food, fine; if you don’t, eat elsewhere.” Similarly, if you benefit from Steven’s blog, fine; if you don’t, quit reading it.

  • PenroseismyMan

    Jackson admits to giving Steven free tacos – http://tinyurl.com/6lozk43

  • I wish I was shocked by all this. Nancy, did you ever hear back from FTC?

  • matt mccallister

    @ penrose…..leave my wife out of this…..play Steve? I don’t think so … I normally don’t even comment on blogs nor do I read them… whether you are a good writer or not. If you have any further comments… we can discuss in person and yes come judge my food……you probably will anyway because you have to be just another fucking food writer,/yelper/blogger…get a life….stop trashing others

  • “Even if it’s hard for you to get your head around, Jackson, this IS NOT ABOUT YOU.”

    Then why did you bring me into it?

    Here is how this is going to work. You are going to tell someone who you are. That ratbag is going to tell some one else. That person is going to tell me. You won’t be able to help it. They won’t be able to help it. Ask Twinwillow. Ask DallasDude.

    One day we are going to talk face to face. One of us looks forward to it. One of us dreads it. I know which one I am.

    Enjoy your day Ellsworth.

  • Beda

    Speaking of Twinwillow, he’s been suspiciously quiet; I’ve never known him not to offer his two cents’ worth.

  • Sander

    I make it a policy to not eat at places where the owner threatens people physically. Am I required to disclose that to the FTC?

  • OKay, folks. This is out of hand. The horse is dead. You are off topic. I am closing the comments. If you are getting here for the first time and have a comment you would like to make, email me and I will post it.