Empire Strikes Back: Can Detroit Restaurants Survive One Bad Review?

Free Press food critic Mark Kurlyandchik talks his viral restaurant review of Empire Kitchen & Cocktails and the role of a critic in Detroit’s changing dining scene.

Mark Kurlyandchik

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A new Detroit restaurant had a viral moment yesterday as Empire Kitchen & Cocktails endured a scathing review from Detroit Free Press restaurant critic Mark Kurlyandchik.

Critical restaurant reviews have been rare in Detroit as the restaurant scene rebounds, so online commenters were quick to call out Kurlyandchik on his review.

WDET’s Ryan Patrick Hooper speaks with Kurlyandchik about his writing and the role of a food critic in a city like Detroit.

According to Kurlyandchik, his goal is not to be highly critical of a restaurant for no reason.

“I don’t want to be a shock and awe critic,” he says. “I think it’s more helpful, usually, to point people to the good places around town and if you read my writing regularly you’ll see that is the bulk of it.”


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