The ritual merry-go-round of restaurant and bar openings continued in 2023, with chefs seeing their dreams come into full bloom or abruptly end. The most-read stories of the year regularly capture this heartache with diners cheering and mourning on the sidelines.
But these last two years, a new wrinkle entered the fray, and judging by my DMs and texts, not everyone was happy. With five of the top 10 most-read stories of 2024 (see the full list below), The Bear remains a force of nature regardless of the numerous critiques which some coming from folks who have never watched the show, are too emotionally invested in their work to watch, or those who just don’t like FX’s portrayal of Chicago’s dining scene.
I’m here to tell you that I’ve listened to your input. There have been some particularly nuanced criticisms of the show and they have helped boost our coverage. But I won’t hide this in a tomato can, Eater Chicago will write about The Bear in 2024. I know — where was the spoiler warning?
I did some number crunching, and stories about The Bear represented 4.9 percent of Eater Chicago’s in 2023. The total excludes map updates and round-ups. That means the number of stories Eater Chicago published about the TV show represents an even smaller percentage of the publication’s overall work for 2023. Translation: The lady doth protests too much, methinks.
Chicagoans cringe when they see journalists from publications outside of the city write about their hometown. The thought was to outnumber these hot takes, to flood the zone (a journalism term borrowed from football jargon) with folks who actually know the city before out-of-town stupid could gestate and manifest as the definitive word.
Take it from an expert: I’ve peered into Jeremy Allen White’s baby blues firsthand. Yes, it changed my life, but I was able to walk away on my own power. Most folks haven’t been caught locking glances through that magnificent tractor beam.
The critics will survive. No one’s holding them hostage in a bearhug.
Read on for Eater Chicago’s 10 most-read stories of 2023.
1. Kroger Sells Mariano’s Brand, Leaving the Fate of the Grocery Store’s Name in Peril
2. After ‘The Bear’ Mauled Pequod’s Pizza, a Chicagoan Demands Answers
3. In ‘The Bear,’ the World’s Greatest Restaurant Resides in Chicago
4. The Founder of Mr. Beef, the Legendary Chicago Italian Beef Stand, Has Died
5. Inside Kyuramen, the Japanese Chain’s First Chicago Location
6. Rick Bayless Rips ‘The Bear’ for Glorifying the Ugliness of Restaurants
7. Peeved Chicago Diners Create Spreadsheet Tracking Restaurant Service Fees
8. Taylor Swift Music, Banned at a Chicago Bar, Is Embraced With a Drag Brunch at Another
9. Investors Claim Maple & Ash Owners Spent PPP Funds on a $2 Million Private Jet
10. How ‘The Bear’ Leaned on Chicago Restaurant Legend Donnie Madia and One Off Hospitality