RUMORMONGERING — The Detroit Free Press said farewell to longtime critic Sylvia Rector in January leaving a gaping hole in Detroit's restaurant coverage. While no official announcement has been made by the paper, a tipster tells Eater that Mark Kurlyandchik is taking over the dining section. Kuryandchik has worked as a freelance multimedia journalist for MSNBC, PBS, Al Jazeera America, and as a senior editor at Hour Media. His LinkedIn account and an increasing number of bylines seem to confirm the appointment. [EaterWire]
THE CRITICS — A local restaurant PR exec Justin Near of Near Perfect Media is using social media to call out Downtown Publications critic J. March for what he views as unethical, unbalanced reviews. Near, who represents Bistro 82, Forest, and Bacco Ristorante among others, alleges that the anonymous critic (she writes under a pen name) was involved with several restaurants in the area at the time of her hire. In the statement shared with Eater, Near writes:
"I never expect or ask for perfect reviews — I don't believe they can exist if the writing is informed and objective. What I do expect, and Downtown Publications' readers should demand, are unbiased, insightful, and well-written critiques, not conflicted ramblings of a glorified Yelper who often visits an establishment only once and has repeatedly demonstrated the restaurant etiquette of a dilettante, entitled teenager."
BY THE NUMBERS — Al Ameer in Dearborn feeds 1,200 customers on a typical Friday. On a daily basis the James Beard America's Classics winner serves 600 pounds of shawarma, 3,000 pitas, and 150 gallons of pickled turnips daily. Watch how Al Ameer's pitas are made below. [Freep]
NEWS — Michigan chapter of the conservative National Restaurant Association is predicting modest, but steady 5 percent growth in the industry in 2016 with approximately $15.4 billion in sales. It's estimated that restaurant workers will comprise more than 11 percent of total employed Michiganders in 2016. Forecasts call for the employed restaurant labor force in Michigan to grow by 10 percent over the next 10 years. [DBiz]