When Critics Raze Easy Targets, Everybody Wins

Surely, by now you've heard about Pete Wells' review of Guy Fieri's new restaurant Guy's American Kitchen & Bar. The New York Times review gained significant attention for its intensely critical (I can't read 'scathing' one more time) take on the casual restaurant that serves up burgers, sandwiches and marshmallows that apparently taste like fish.

This morning Fiery appeared on the Today Show to defend his businesses, and accused Wells of having an agenda while evaluating the restaurant. Wells probably did.

It's disheartening to watch small restaurant businesses struggle, while pouring their hearts, souls and savings into a genuine love and appreciation of food. Meanwhile, restaurants backed with big money take the stamp of celebrity and effortlessly turn it into a bustling dining room, regardless of the quality of their food.

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I've been toying with reviewing Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill and will admit before even stepping foot in the massive ode to Americana I fantasized that I'd pen something similarly nasty. In the end I decided the fried bologna sandwich at Maple and Motor was more interesting. That even if the ingredients are almost identical, Jack Perkins' sandwich simply had more soul.

Regardless of whom you side with, Wells and Fieri obviously both come out winners. Fieri gets even more time on national television to talk about his businesses and will surely draw the support of his legions of fans. At the same time Wells gets to bask in having written what will likely be one of the most widely read restaurant reviews ever.

Come to think of it, maybe I should give Toby Keith a call. I hear Miracle Whip smells like boot sweat these days.

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