Blog Post #12,008

The one where Arthur Etchells says goodbye.


Illustration by Hawk Krall

After 10 years of Foobooz (six while an employee of Philadelphia magazine), I’ve decided to move on from my creation. But rather than feeling any fear or trepidation about leaving my baby behind, I’m excited for the future. I’ve been extremely lucky to work with the journalists at Philadelphia magazine and especially my co-conspirator, Jason Sheehan. Sorry we never did that podcast, that would have been legendary.

Foobooz started as a hobby. I began the site because I couldn’t find anywhere to send my hockey playing friends for a summer full of craft beer events. So I decided to create the site myself. The experiment became a passion and then an obsession. By the time my full-time employer figured out they were paying me for a full time job, just not the one in my job description, Foobooz was four years old.

After a short stint on my own, Philadelphia magazine’s Tom McGrath approached me with the wild idea of buying Foobooz and bringing me on full time. After some back-and-forth negotiations where Phillymag’s president David Lipson played good cop and COO Rick Wechter played the bad cop (rightfully scoffing at my hockey stick projections for revenue) I was brought on board.

I was reunited with my original co-conspirator Kirsten Henri; the immensely talented writer who had years earlier given Foobooz legitimacy by joining me to write haiku reviews, land scoops, drink absinthe in the afternoon and, on occasion, dabble in hyperbole and self-promotion. Since then I’ve gotten to work with a cast of writers, freelancers, marketers and interns that have made my life and Foobooz richer. Special shoutouts to Tim Haas, Philadelphia magazine’s jack of all trades and Victor Fiorillo, whose zest for getting to the bottom of a story has always left me in awe.

I’ve also gotten to witness Philadelphia’s restaurant scene boom thanks to passionate and intelligent people of every stripe. But what I loved most about all of them is their true Philly attitude. Whether born here or a recent arrival, each has been passionate, proud and relentlessly intolerant of insincerity.

I want to thank my family: my mother who, as anyone who has met her will tell me, is “the best.” I know, she raised me. She tells me that even as I move on, she is still Momma Foobooz. To my father, who warned me that when a hobby becomes a job, it might lose the fun. It was one of the few times in his life that he was wrong. Thank you for letting me be me, even when you knew better. And to my wife, Michelle who has been my loving partner on this carb-filled ride, thank you for the faith to support me in what comes next.

And finally, for the readers of Foobooz, I owe the most to you. Thank you for making Foobooz your obsession. For coming every day. For coming back multiple times a day. For excusing my disdain for commas and for celebrating rare beers, great fried chicken, leopard patterned pizzas and opulent burgers with me.

It’s been a great feast and, rest assured, I’ll still be around.