With nearly 6,000 posts in more than two years, it's hard to believe my time with Eater ends today. After a few weeks of anxious behind-the-scenes blogging, the site launched in October of 2010 and it's incredible to see how Eater Chicago has grown and become part of the local culinary world. Each day, we have written about the openings and closings, the successes and failures, the excitement and the drama (oy, the drama!)—and through it all, have become a trusted source in the Chicago food world.
A friend who owns a few restaurants here recently remarked that if someone who wasn't intimately involved in our food community read the rash of negative comments on the site lately, they would think Chicago had an incredibly disjointed and hateful food scene. After covering restaurants extensively, passionately and exhaustively for the last few years (even before starting with Eater), I can say first hand this town is filled with people who truly have each other's backs. Say what you will (and I'm sure some of you won't hold back), but I know more people who would rather applaud the successes any day before taking someone down. That's what I tried to achieve here. Despite sometimes writing about the failures (that is news after all), I would always rather write about the great things happening in Chicago's food world, simply because I love it. Chicago claims some of the most innovative and talented people anywhere in the world and it's been a pleasure working with and getting to know so many of you.
Over the last two years, we have had the privilege of breaking many stories and I could never have done that on my own. I have to thank Samantha Lande, Jeffy Mai, Joe Campagna and Kiki Luthringshausen, who have been a fantastic editorial support team. Add in Tim Hiatt, Jason Little and Barry Brecheisen, talented photographers who have shot countless rooms and people, and Simon Brubaker who recently came aboard as a stellar videographer. And even though they are in New York (and now also Austin), my daily work would have been much harder without the advice and assistance from Raphael, Amanda, Jackie, Paula, Greg and Lock. Thank you all so much for everything.
While I'm moving on to a new adventure at Abe's Market, I will always be one of the biggest champions of Chicago's restaurants and bars. I hope that all of you who felt comfortable enough talking around me before realizing what you were saying could possibly be turned into news, will now just keep on talking. Moving forward I'll simply be listening as a friend and fan.
Lastly, Eater wouldn't be Eater without the readers. You have all helped grow the site to what it is today. Thanks for reading, tweeting, liking and sharing. It's been a great run and I can't wait to see where it goes.
-- Ari Bendersky