Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Cycle of Food Hype

If you observe food writing in this town for long enough, you begin to notice certain patterns that make for an almost predictable cycle. For instance, assume that someone opens a new concept restaurant, say a high-end French-German fusion restaurant specializing in a frogs leg schnitzel. Here's what you can expect from the beginning of the 24 hour food-news cycle:

Day 1: EaterLA does a "Plywood" posting, reporting the concept and idea for this coming restaurant, gets location wrong and misspells name of proprietor.

Day 5: First Yelp review goes up of "soft opening," which turns out to be owner handing out some samples on the street.

Day 15: Restaurant opens.

Day 16: Yelp reviews start to rave about the place.

Day 22: J. Gold does a fly-by review for the LA Weekly praising the "delivery of a peasant food with an intensity usually reserved for Weimar-era German cinema."

Days 23-25: Three hundred LA food bloggers post about the restaurant.

Day 26: Reservations are now only available at 4:00 and 11:30.

Day 45: Backlash begins, the first Yelp posts go up calling the place overrated and overhyped. Others agree that they are "so over" this place.

Day 55: Grub Street reports on planned expansion with new location in Hollywood and roving food truck.

Day 172: Irene Virbala reviews in LAT and gives one and one-half stars.

Day 225: Restaurant closes.

Day 335: Squid Ink reports on concept and idea for a coming restaurant by same proprietor for casual schnitzel-on-a-stick stand in same location as former restaurant.

Repeat ad nauseum....


Banana Wonder said...

Ha ha haaaa! My favorite part is: "peasant food with an intensity usually reserved for Weimar German Cinema" (now I have to look that up!). made it even easier to leave LA now. Portland, here I come!

Geoff said...

Very acutely observed. There's also the variant that goes like this:

Day 1: EaterLA does a "Plywood" posting

Day 65: EaterLA does an update, with a sob story from the owner about why the opening is taking longer than expected.

Day 75: EaterLA update about how the tables and chairs are now set up.

Day 85: EaterLA update about another delay due to last minute hitches with inspections.

. . .

You get the idea.

Also, I'd suggest the following addition to your Day 16:

Day 16: Chowhounders pounce, cataloging every opening jitter.