As TOC reported yesterday, Eater Chicago isn’t happening. Opinions on the site’s failure to launch are trickling into the blogosphere, and they’re wildly varied. In one corner, Mike Gebert of Sky Full of Bacon says it’s not worth mourning:
I can’t say that I find this a huge loss, because I can’t say that I find the concept all that interesting. It’s not like it’s been that tough to keep track of new openings (hey, I hear that Publican place is worth checking out). If someone were to do real digging into the workings of the industry, that might be fascinating— I’m convinced there’s no end of rich material there— but such depth is unlikely to come out in a format aimed at producing ten newsy little blog items a day.
On the other side of the table, there’s New York food blog (and our corporate sibling) Grub Street — they take on Gebert head on:
… we also think Sky Full of Bacon is ignoring the power of more “hype-ridden” blogs to drive readers to food-focused endeavors such as his own. Come on, man — all boats rise with the tide, or all bacon bits rise with the fondue or whatever.
And where do we stand? Like we said yesterday, we’re really sad not to see Eater Chicago going live. And for some reason this surprises people — we woke up this morning to a handful of congratulatory emails, mostly along the theme of “more traffic for you!” But the truth is that a lack of Eater is something to be lamented.
In his break of the closing, David Tamarkin said “if Eater was going to come here then you knew we had enough restaurant drama to sustain their ten posts a day.” But the tragedy here isn’t that Chicago’s failed to pass some bloggery standard — far from it. We’re willing to put hard money on the idea that Eater Chicago’s not opening their doors not because there isn’t enough to talk about (we average nine posts a day over here, and that’s with spending half our day attending to the listings), but because in the face of a shrinking economy the suits at Eater weren’t confident about launching a new product into an untested market.
In his post on the matter, Gebert goes on to give a very nice shout-out to yours truly, saying he gets enough gossipy food info from us, thanks. And that might be enough for him, but Grub Street is right: The more opinions there are floating around, the more news there will be. Eater Chicago would add its own very particular (very loud) voice to the cacophany of opinions already being thrown out there by Gebert, by us, by the other writers spending time and energy caring out loud about Chicago restaurants. We are entirely sorry that Eater didn’t think Chicago was worth taking a risk on. We think they’re entirely wrong.