“The Tribune review was a huge deal,” a gauge to see “how you compared to the greats and where things aligned,” says Flamm, 35, a “Top Chef” champion who is poised to open his maiden restaurant April 20. Named after his grandmothers and more than two years in the making, Rose Mary will showcase Croatian and Italian dishes in Fulton Market.
“I would have loved to get a Phil Vettel review under my belt,” says the chef, imagining a splash on the front page of the Tribune’s Dining section.
“It’s sad to see Phil and Steve go,” says Sarah Grueneberg, the James Beard award-winning chef at Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio in the West Loop. “They were such great champions of our food scene, and people have been following them for decades.”
To Karrie Leung, founder of PR and marketing agency KLPR, the loss of local reviews has an outsize impact: From a national perspective, it “removes Chicago from that playing field,” she says. “When you lose critics, people you know and trust, that’s a hard pill to swallow.”
Who raves or rants about restaurants in town might seem like small potatoes amid an ongoing pandemic. Yet as diners continue to look to restaurants for comfort and the city is opening up, in-depth reviewing feels paramount. Vettel, a former president of the restaurant awards committee of the James Beard Foundation, goes so far as to say that without a strong voice and…