Food Network host and restaurateur Guy Fieri (Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
Guy Fieri fired back at New York Times food critic Pete Wells on Thursday, a day after the paper published a scathing review of Fieri's new restaurant in Times Square.
"I wholeheartedly disagree with The New York Times' review of Guy's American Kitchen & Bar," Fieri said in a statement provided to Yahoo News. "My philosophy on life is what drives my attitude towards food. As a kid, I used to make four-course sushi meals for my parents and our family friends. I got hooked on food because I saw the way people reacted; the atmosphere around a family dinner, dining out with friends and family—it was contagious.
"At my restaurants, we always try to live by a very simple notion: that food brings people together," Fieri continued. "I've learned that not everyone agrees with my style. The Times' critic, Pete Wells, clearly did not enjoy his experience. I normally do not respond to reviews or critics, however, given the tone of Pete's piece, it's clear to me that he went into my restaurant with his mind already made up. That's unfortunate. I take comments from patrons, fans and visitors very seriously, and if there is ever a problem with our service, I'll fix it."
Wells' review took the form of an open letter to Fieri, the host of Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."
"Have you eaten at your new restaurant in Times Square?" Wells' review begins. "Did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu, where adjectives and nouns spin in a crazy vortex? When you saw the burger described as 'Guy's Pat LaFrieda custom blend, all-natural Creekstone Farm Black Angus beef patty, LTOP (lettuce, tomato, onion + pickle), SMC (super-melty-cheese) and a slathering of Donkey Sauce on garlic-buttered brioche,' did your mind touch the void for a minute?"
The biting review quickly jumped to the top spot on the Times' "Most Viewed" and "Most E-Mailed" lists—and racked up hundreds of thousands of page views.
Fieri, though, said he's unfazed by the critical skewering.
"We've only been open a short while, but I've seen countless people come to my restaurant—families, fans, tourists, and yes, even New Yorkers—looking to get away for an hour or two, and they've had a great experience and a meal that they enjoyed," he added. "Like the hundreds of diners, drive-ins and dives I've featured on my show, I've incorporated my passion and love for food into my restaurants. I'm proud of the food we put out, and always will be."
It's worth noting that Wells' scorching didn't stop the Times ad sales staff from hosting a 150-person party at Fieri's restaurant on Wednesday night. According to paper, the party was planned two months in advance.
Marilyn Hagerty, whose earnest review of a new Olive Garden for the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald went viral earlier this year, says she's not sure she agrees with Wells' approach.
"I don't do negative reviews," Hagerty, 85, wrote in an email to Yahoo News. "I do mention the good and the bad. If it's all negative I wonder, 'What is the point?'"
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