Time Out Drops a Star


Eagle-eyed Time Out readers might have noticed that the magazine’s ratings system lost a star last month. Now restaurants, movies, books, and anything else normally assigned a rating are graded on a five-star scale, as opposed to the old six-star system. TONY food editor Gabriella Gershenson said the new system — in place in all Time Out editions — is “more recognizable and easier to comprehend.” (New York also rates restaurants based on five stars.) All the archived reviews reflect the new system, which means section editors had to evaluate each restaurant and figure out how a restaurant that scored four out of six stars might do on a five-star scale. (Our conclusion after some haphazard searching through Time Out Chicago’s archives: For the most part, the restaurants’ star ratings didn’t change.) TONY restaurant critic Jay Cheshes sees five stars as ultimately better for restaurants. “A three-star rating becomes a bit less of a slap in the face,” he explains. “If a restaurant is good, generally speaking, it’s going to get four stars … and only a very rare spot will walk away with five.”