Admit it: There are times in your life when you’ve eaten at a restaurant because you were told, or heard on the radio, or read somewhere, that it had the “best” something in the state. Or America. Or the world.
You’ve done it, I’ve done it, everyone has. Quite a few times in my life, in fact, as I’ve lived around the country as a journalist, I’ve eaten “the best pizza in Florida” or “the best barbecue in North Carolina” and sometimes, yes, it’s been great, and other times, I was like “Meh. What’s all the fuss about.”
But what I never ever considered was what effect a restaurant being named the “best of” something had on it, financially and emotionally.
The best writing makes you think of things in a way you never had before, and I must tip my hat to e-migo and friend of the blog Luke for pointing me to this devastatingly awesome story by Kevin Alexander, who a year ago in an article for Thrillist.com anointed a small Portland hamburger restaurant named Stanich’s as having the best hamburger in America.
You would think that would be a hugely exciting development for Stanich’s, a locally famous, family-owned joint outside of town. But this one small article and honor ended up destroying the restaurant, and the man who runs it now, Steve Stanich.
Really in-depth story by Alexander here, talking to critics who must weigh the desire to highlight terrific food to others, and the fear that the publicity may be ruinous.
Read this story, it’s really gripping. And then go eat somewhere great no one’s heard of, and keep it that way.
**Next up today, it’s now become very clear that the man behind the killing of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was the Crown Prince himself, Mohammad bin Salman. The New York Times has done a pretty fantastic video presentation here showing exactly how the murder was planned, carried out, and who is to blame.
This is really, really great stuff.
**And finally today, a few words about William Goldman, whose death we learned about on Friday. A fantastic author, Goldman wrote the screenplays for some of the greatest movies of all time, including “All the President’s Men,” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
Oh, and a little book called “The Princess Bride,” which was turned into one of the greatest, funniest and warmest movies ever.
Goldman was a storyteller, and could tug at heartstrings like few others. And if you don’t think after hearing he died that I went down a YouTube rabbit hole watching “The Princess Bride” clips, well then you don’t know me too well.
Here’s a great tribute to Goldman by his friend Mike Lupica, and of course, above, one of many, many incredible scenes from “The Princess Bride.”