When John Mariani Speaks, Glenn Hunter Listens

As I reported the other day, Glenn Hunter, executive editor of D CEO, was in New Orleans for the annual CRMA meeting and awards ceremony. Before D CEO won the award for best ancillary publication, Glenn attended a seminar and listened to Esquire’s food writer, John Mariani, talk about restaurant trends. Several of you asked me to ask Glenn for more of Mariani’s speculations. Thanks Glenn for reporting back and congrats to you and Kristiana. Heeere’s Johnny:

–all restaurants these days are down at least 20%/30%
–the days of the $10M-$15M restaurants are over
–the steakhouse phenomenon has been “overdone” for 10 years
–the exultation among food critics of “prole” food (storefront/takeout joints on Top 10 lists, etc.) has helped put the kibosh on fine dining, he said, which is lamentable, because “we need three-star dining.”.
–Asked about “underrated” restaurant cities, he mentioned “Dallas, but not as much these days as Houston”; Portland; Seattle; Washington D.C.
–For critics to go anonymously to restaurants is “a farce after you’ve done it two or three times,” because they know you anyway by then
–He urged city mags to do more food coverage, because it’s “more popular than fall fashion,” for example. Great new restaurants should be written about as features, he said–put them on the cover!
–Finally, I guess some bloggers’ skepticism of Mariani is mutual. He said, with tongue in cheek: “I think they should rewrite the First Amendment to say, ‘Freedom of the press, except for bloggers!’  He decried the “vicious, unchecked” facts out there that have the potential to put restaurants out of business. Not that all the commenters are ignoramuses, he said, but comments often lead to an atmosphere of viciousness and ignorance.

Funny, he mentioned Dallas is underrated. One would think he would know a lot about the food scene of a city  he referred to as underrated. Mariani asked Hunter to e-mail him for a list of new restaurants in Dallas. IJS.

PLUS!!! Mariani was mean to Leslie Brenner (scroll way down) and nice to John Tesar (note Fishtail review) and we will not stand for that. Poor taste, Mariani. We’re watching for you. Ropes?

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