The other day Jesse "Hophead" Hughey said something about the role of those special edition $150 beers--something along the lines of "they generate publicity and motivate interest in beer."
True enough. Basketball needed Michael Jordan and golf Tiger Woods...well, until recently. Indeed, every market needs its characters who draw attention to the important trends, interesting places and such.
Maybe it was forgetfulness on our part or maybe it was a fault of the recession, but few current "personalities" came to mind. The decade, however, was fully stocked.
Anyway, the people who called attention to the dining scene...
Top personalities of 2009:
1. Blog commenters
Blogs are a forum and these are the people who give it life, the ones who stand in support or opposition, the ones who make their thoughts known. They create identities--Twinwillow, curmudgeon, The Big Guy, luniz--and stay in character. No other person or group created as much interest in dining this year.
2. Brian Luscher
He has what we consider a great media presence (he's unassuming and willing to drop F-bombs). But we slotted The Grape's chef-owner here for the flurry of publicity surrounding the 'best burger' announcement in Texas Monthly.
3. Tre Wilcox
For a guy who accomplished very little in 2009 (restaurant-wise) until hired in its waning months to head up Loft 610, we read a lot about the former Abacus chef turned television contestant. That he managed to keep his name in the press show a goodly amount of diligence.
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Top personalities of the 00s:
1. Mr. Dallas
Nobody defined nightlife in this city like DMN's Mr. Dallas. He's the one who coined such beautifully descriptive terms as "scissors girls," "shirt guys," and "torso boys." He could suss out a crowd with one glance then write about them with a rare mix of poison and panache.
2. Monica Greene
If you heard a gruff voice in Ciudad or Monica's belt out "let's do tequila shots," it was restaurateur Monica Greene. What we appreciate, though, was that unsuccessful bid for mayor back in the mid-00s.
3. Al Biernat
No, he's not flashy. Biernat earned a reputation for his memory (visit Al Biernat's more than once and he'd have your face--if not your name--down). That's not why we chose to list him, though. No, the steakhouse owner earned the spot for his efforts through the 00s to keep the restaurant's name in print, whether it be the dining section, the gossip columns or the business page.