Guy Fieri continues to defend his restaurant -- and reputation -- against New York Times critic Pete Wells.
Wells' review of Guy's American Kitchen & Bar might be the most brutal food-related takedown in the Times' history, with the critic painting the three-story, 500-seat Times Square venue as, basically, the world's worst place to eat.
"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," Fieri says in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "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."
In a live interview on the Today show Thursday morning that was staged inside the venue -- once slammed by Fieri foe Anthony Bourdain as a "hell-dome" -- Fieri called the review "ridiculous" and accused Wells of harboring an agenda.
"To me it's impossible to have a dining experience and have every single thing wrong -- unless you come in with a different agenda and you want to sensationalize something and you want to blow it out of the water. It's a great way to make a name for yourself -- go after a celebrity chef that's not a New Yorker," he said, his voice rising with agitation.
In his statement to THR, the affable, spiky-haired host of Food Network's Diners, Drive-Thrus and Dives takes a more diplomatic tone.
In full, below:
I wholeheartedly disagree with The New York Times’ Review of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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