For the longest time, we’ve had this problem.
Because of the lag time in the production of Philadelphia magazine–because of the schedules we keep and the choices we make–we here at Foobooz have often found ourselves in a bind regarding writing about new restaurants that haven’t yet been reviewed in print. And the bind has simply been that, in many ways, we haven’t been able to write about them. Not as much as we’d like, anyway. Often not in the ways we’d like, either.
Why? Because while our critic, Trey Popp, has often had his say a month or so before the print issue in which any given review will run actually hits the stands--has put his criticisms down on paper, checked his facts and crafted his opinions--we haven't been able to write anything about his reviews until weeks later. The issue that's on the stands right now, for example? In which Trey rips into Jason Cichonski's The Gaslight and falls hard for Petruce et al? We've had those reviews in our hands since mid-April. We've known about the issues at the Gaslight's bar and the incredible feasts to be had with Petruce's family-style entrees, about the long-ago possibility that the Petruce brothers might've opened a pizza joint rather than the restaurant they did. We've had Trey's expert dissection of the menus, wine lists and cocktails sitting and waiting for a publication date that always seemed too far away and, while we've been waiting, we haven't really been able to say anything about them online because, well, the reviews run in the magazine, right? And we've never wanted to give too much away before the magazines are actually out there in the world every month.
But in the care we've taken in separating what we do here at Foobooz with what we do in the pages of Philadelphia magazine, we've deliberately been exempting ourselves from conversations about restaurants in the moments when those conversations are most vital--those first few weeks of a restaurant's life span which, like it or not, have become the most important few weeks of its life.
And starting tomorrow, that is all going to change.
Starting tomorrow, we're going to be running Trey Popp's reviews on Foobooz first--ahead of when they'll run in Philadelphia magazine. Yes, they will still be subject to the same editing and fact-checking that they always have been. Yes, Trey will still be eating the same number of meals, running up the same bills and taking the same amount of time he always has to offer his opinions on the meals he has eaten. All we're really doing is cutting out the amount of time that we've always had to spend sitting on our hands and waiting.
Is this going to affect the magazine at all? No. Every issue of Philadelphia magazine will still feature Trey's reviews and all the other content of the Taste section. While there are those who would argue that the downfall of modern criticism is the fact that, in our digital age, everyone gets to be a critic, I have never believed that the force of someone's considered opinions ought to be given more weight just because they're printed on dead trees. Trey has been a dependable, trustworthy and authoritative voice for my entire run here at Philly mag, and the only difference that tomorrow will bring is that, now, he'll get to be dependable, trustworthy and authoritative sooner.
Well, that's not the only difference, actually. Tomorrow's review? It's really going to be something special. So keep an eye out for it.
And welcome to the new world.
All of Trey Popp's reviews, all in one place [Philly mag]