Michael Bauer Marks 25 Years as ‘Chron’ Critic

Mr. Bauer, retaining anonymity in a shoot for <a href=his San Francisco Diet on Grub Street last year." width="400" height="400" style="width:100%;height:auto;" fetchPriority="high" >
Mr. Bauer, retaining anonymity in a shoot for his San Francisco Diet on Grub Street last year. Photo: J. DeRuy/Grub Street

It’s a major milestone for Mr. Bauer this week as he rings in a full quarter century as the Chronicle’s primary food critic — and the only critic of record in this town with any significant influence. We have to hand it to the man: 25 years of dining out almost every night of the week has got to take it toll, even on the most devoted of food fanatics. On any given night when all he wants on earth is a ham sandwich on sourdough, he must endure another plate of pork belly, and/or a three- or four- or eight-course meal at the latest Mission hot spot or wine country destination eatery. And these days he feels like he’s under attack from every corner of the internet no matter what he says!

He writes, a little sadly on his blog, that he almost didn’t mark this occasion because “it only gives detractors a platform and more ammunition for ageist comments about how I, like the newspaper itself, am a relic.” Aw. Stand proud!

We here at Grub Street would never dream of using this milestone as an occasion for disrespect (this isn’t Reidinger we’re talking about). Mr. Bauer may make some confusing choices at times, get a little overly fond of pizza, and we’ll never really see eye-to-eye on the intricacies of the star system. But he remains the only person in San Francisco to have witnessed and documented a quarter century of culinary change here, and to have done so with hardly a break, weekly or semi-weekly, in the city’s newspaper of record. He is an authority to be reckoned with, even though it’s necessarily a subjective job and his opinions will always be cause for debate. He writes with authority, too, and plain language, and a lot of people listen to this man. There’s no disrespecting that. Happy anniversary, sir.

Looking back at my first 25 years at The Chronicle [Between Meals/Scoop]
Earlier: Where Didn’t Michael Bauer Eat This Week?

Michael Bauer Marks 25 Years as ‘Chron’ Critic