Patty Unterman, who once had Michael Bauer’s job at the Chronicle before becoming the critic at the Examiner, has been abruptly removed from her position, and will be replaced by East Bay Express critic Jesse Hirsch. She tells Eater that she’s relieved and it’s “actually liberating” for her to be able to focus on her travel writing now, but we all know there must be a little bit of soreness there. And how will we hear about random noodle shops in the Sunset now?
Unterman has been at the paper through multiple ownership shuffles over the last twenty years, and she’s the author of the popular San Francisco Food Lover’s Guide, now in its fourth edition. For over three decades she’s owned Hayes Street Grill in Hayes Valley — something which made her a bit of an oddity as a newspaper food critic, being a restaurant owner herself, and many have called this out as a conflict of interest over the years.
But her taste in food has long been respected by many, and her penchant for seeking out unsung little Asian spots in every corner of the city will be missed. Fans can still find her seeking out the odd little spot, and writing about it, on her website Unterman on Food.
Hirsch tells Grub Street that for his part, he’ll “definitely be reviewing places that aren’t the ‘It’ restaurants of the moment.”
Patty’s last review, for Gajalee in the Mission, will appear on Friday.
Update: She tells the Scoop that the paper “probably couldn’t afford me” anymore, and she’s fine with that. [Scoop]