RedEye dining contributor Michael Nagrant will no longer review restaurants for the paper and is launching an independent site. Nagrant, in a blog post, wrote that the Tronc-owned RedEye would no longer publish its own reviews — all criticism would come from critics employed at its corporate sibling, the Tribune. Nagrant could have continued writing features for RedEye, but instead is creating a new home for his reviews at MichaelNagrant.com. He will continue to write features for RedEye.
Nagrant hasn’t reviewed a restaurant since December, though RedEye did publish one of his features last week. Though he was initially comfortable with the arrangement without writing reviews, he pivoted. Having an independent voice where he could write freely without an editor appealed to him. For example, he was discouraged to include any references about his wife and children. Adulting was a no-no.
“I wrote for a publication geared toward millennials (because, as you know, marriage is for sucker untrustworthy old people), so I referred to my wife as my ‘friend’ or my ‘date’ in pieces,” Nagrant wrote in a post.
That caused confusion. At one point, a reader asked him if he was divorced. Encouraged by the successes of Michael Gebert at Fooditor, Titus Pullo at Smokin’ Chokin and Chowing with the King, and the fundraising campaign by the ex-DNAinfo members who formed Block Club, Nagrant is forging his own path. Besides restaurant reviews, Nagrant has threatened to share his views on boy bands and the Blackhawks. He’ll have that leeway now that he’s in charge of his own publication.
The site officially launches this afternoon. Check out the rest of Nagrant’s essay in which has addresses the challenges his faces. Before freelancing for RedEye, Nagrant was the critic for the Sun-Times.
As for RedEye, they’ll continue to publish reviews from Tribune critic Phil Vettel and the restaurant of the paper’s staff.