In my last post, I bemoaned my lack of influence on the Chicago eating public. What is interesting, generally, that the Chicago eating public refuses to be influenced.
HungryHoward brought to attention today, a story on NPR (click here to listen). Susan Stamberg told of The Grocery, the small, 13-table restaurant in Brooklyn that Zagat named as one of the city's best. Apparently, the restaurant scored a food rating of 28. And, as anticipated, things at the restaurant haven't been the same, with the exception of the quality of food/service. It was discussed on the listserv if something comparable could happen in Chicago, and someone throught of La Quebrada as Chicago restaurant for similar notoriety.
What is interesting, however, is that La Quebrada has had its 15 minutes of fame. Having received a pretty glowing review in the Chicago Tribune, it has never seen itself packed to the brim. The only true phenomenon of neighborhood eating that has ever truly gone big is Arun's (and this happened many, many ages ago). No other place reviewed in the Trib, the Reader, Chowhound, etc., has really benefit all that much from the publicity. OK, yes a lot of places benefit in small and big ways from mentions in any media source, even something as humble as this blog. Still, what's become famous?
I have always wondered if Chicago is just not a food town, that the vast amount of people really do not care about cool places. Today, I got to thinking maybe the answer lies more with the food media. No, this is not another rant (per se), but I think part of the problem is that no food writer in Chicago really holds a following. All the major media spread their pieces out too much, so there can be no clear champion. For what I have in mind, I clearly point to Jonathan Gold in LA. He has tons of street cred, but he is also hugely respected in foodie circles. He has stature. We need stature.