Last week, WW wrote about the legal troubles behind the closure of Portland burger bar Stanich's ("A National Treasure," WW, Nov. 28, 2018.) Thrillist food critic Kevin Alexander had penned a viral mea culpa for killing the restaurant by naming it the best burger in America. But he left a few things out—like the fact that Steve Stanich was arrested in 2014 for choking his wife in front of their teenage son and then accrued multiple probation violations afterward. Here's what national journalists and food critics had to say about our report.
Matt Pearce, Los Angeles Times correspondent, via Twitter: "The toughest alt-weekly in the land shines a bit more light on the burger bar that the Thrillist thought it accidentally shut down."
Molly Osberg, for Jezebel: "Men believe each other; they depend on each other's narratives to bolster their own. But somewhere out of focus in Alexander's story of the rise and fall of Steve Stanich, there was an unnamed woman with a terrifying story that just didn't fit into a thematically cohesive tale about guilt and power. These women are almost always there, if you're willing to look."
Pete Wells, New York Times restaurant critic, via Twitter: "I understand why the Thrillist mea culpa inspired think pieces, but let's give credit to the local press (Willamette Week) for digging deeper."
Joe Brown, Popular Science editor-in-chief, via Twitter: "The follow-up Willamette Week did on Thrillist's 'how I killed the best burger in America' story, is a perfect example of why we all need to support our local news outlets."
Nick Zukin, Portland chef, via Twitter: "If a restaurant says it closes for personal reasons, is Willamette Week going to blast the details of the owners' health problems and divorce from now on? Mark Zusman and Matthew Singer should apologize and edit their article on Stanich's."
Helen Rosner, for The New Yorker: "The stakes, in food journalism, have changed rapidly in recent years—a once-cushy beat that was largely divorced from hard-news concerns is now being recognized as a battleground for issues of sexual assault, immigration, labor issues, and financial fraud. With this comes a responsibility among writers to see restaurants more holistically, not only as places that put food on a plate but as complex social organisms."
Laura Hayes, Washington City Paper food editor, via Twitter: "There's more to the story than one rave review. Kudos to fellow alt-weekly Willamette Week for taking a closer look."
Kevin Alexander, in an editor's note on his original Thrillist piece: "Following the publication of this story, additional reporting in Willamette Week has revealed details of Steve Stanich's legal issues, including a history of domestic abuse, all of which is vital to the story of what happened to Stanich's restaurant. We missed a very important part of the story, and we deeply regret and apologize for our error."