Beware Of What You Read

Just to clarify – from time to time, I do post on other sites.  However, it seems that a handful of dedicated followers insist on using my blogger name and my avatar (you know … the one I have used for years and sits on the facebook page).  Sometimes these posts are harmless; other times, these posts are pretty freaking obnoxious.

Ladies and gents – I am not going to pick fights with people on chat boards or comment threads.  If I engage in conversations with someone, I will try to register using accounts I own.  Bottom line is – I only have absolute control over what goes on this site.  Elsewhere, well … that’s another matter. If you see something that seems like it came from me, you can always use my contact form to double check.  Be well!

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    Cliff Bostock, co-author of Creative Loafing’s “Omnivore” food blog, published a post last week recalling the groundbreaking restaurant criticism that Bill Cutler did for Brown’s Guide Magazine back in the 70s and 80s. Cliff pointed out that in the judgment of most food professionals who have been around long enough to remember, Bill was the first serious dining critic in Atlanta. He said, “It is hard to overstate how important he was to moving dining criticism out of the dark ages in our City.” I would add that the same comment holds true for all of Georgia.

    Cutler was to dining out in Georgia what Rush Limbaugh is to American politics. No one was neutral about what he had to say. I remember walking into a St. Simons Island restaurant three years after an unfavorable Bill Cutler review. The still-angry owner met me at the door quoting the review verbatim. He refused to serve me and was not all that interested in buying advertising. Cutler was regarded as a one-man, bomb-throwing terrorist organization by the Brown’s Guide advertising department. A restaurant owner once wrote me, ” We have been avid subscribers to Brown’s Guide since its inception, and we think your Restaurant Guide must be hurting your advertising department.” Nothing made Bill happier, with the possible exception of sweetbreads.

    It’s a different world on the Internet. “Restaurant Finders” are everywhere and restaurant bloggers abound, reviewing and commenting on restaurants. Indeed, I have 21 “Restaurant Finders” bookmarked, and there are 13 Atlanta and Georgia food bloggers included in the blogroll of this food blog. Restaurant patrons write their own comments. Opinions are less influenced by reviews than by a restaurant’s website and recommendations on Facebook and Twitter.

    The approach we are taking here at BG is to include EVERY Georgia restaurant in the Georgia Restaurants category, including chains and franchises, and make sure they are “searchable” by type of food, travel region, county and city. There are already over 750 restaurants on the site (as contrasted to 150 or so in a typical issue of the magazine), and we are adding more every week. Each restaurant has a brief introduction, usually taken from its website, contact information, and a link to its website, when it has one – and most do. Every Georgia restaurant can expand its profile free. You can learn a LOT about a restaurant by carefully studying its website to find out what it says about itself.

    The next step is to add a readers’ comments section to each restaurant, so patrons can put in their own reviews and experiences. And, then, we’ll see where it goes from there.

    Is there another Bill Cutler out there educating his pallet and honing his blogging skills, just waiting to move Georgia restaurant reviewing and criticism into new territory like Bill did in the 70s? Let’s hope so.

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