Since Times dining editor Pete Wells has made it clear that “$25 and Under” will go on, we wonder who might write it. When Dana Bowen left the beat two years ago, Meehan, with whom she was alternating, took over full-time. Times writers may get first dibs, but we suspect the outer-borough beat is far too grueling for any of the “Dining” section’s current staffers and freelancers. The possible exception is Oliver Schwaner-Albright, who writes with great gusto about downscale foods. But our guess is that someone will be brought in from the outside. So who might that someone be? We make some uneducated guesses.
The dean of the beat, obviously, is Robert Sietsema; given the economic stability of The Village Voice these days, a jump makes sense. Gourmet.com’s Francis Lam, an omnivore with a gift for sparse and skillful prose, could do it; likewise the Daily News’ Rachel Wharton, an established food writer who is still young and hungry enough to want to spend her every night in search of the next great kebab. Among the bloggers, Midtown Lunch’s Zach Brooks and Gothamist’s Joe DiStefano get around the most, but neither have the requisite journalism chops the job requires. We don’t envy Pete Wells his task: Peter Meehans don’t grow on trees.