Reviewing The Review
As a city and regional magazine, one of Spree’s main charges is to provide service to its readership—whether it’s telling you about the area’s best fish fry, newest exercise trend, top-rated physician, or best place to go for a hike.
Spree never listed grades or numbers beside its restaurant reviews until we began running Budget Crunch, our cheap eats review, in 2011. The response to this column has been great, and we often hear from readers who are excited about a small mom and pop restaurant they’ve discovered in our pages.
At this point, it’s widely recognized that Buffalo’s restaurant climate is changing, rapidly. Dozens of new restaurants opened in 2014, while very few closed. Innovation and high-quality ingredients are easier to find in local kitchens these days, and as diners, our choices are growing at a rate we can hardly quantify.
In consideration of all of these facts, beginning in 2015, every restaurant review in Buffalo Spree will be accompanied by a rating. Currently, we offer three types of reviews:
Budget Crunch, which examines quick service eateries where the average meal price for an adult is under $13.
No Jacket Required reviews casual restaurants where the average meal price for an adult is under $22 and, in most instances, it is likely that guests are seated at a table and taken care of by a server, though how the guest is dressed or whether or not the food is served on disposable plates is unimportant.
The Review surveys establishments offering an upper casual to fine dining experience, where the average meal price for an adult is over $23. In this review, all points of the experience are evaluated, from the coat check to the wine list.
Since each of these reviews provides information about very different kinds of experiences, they will take similar, but not identical, criteria into account when rendering a rating. For example, we won’t need to rate the wine list or cocktail abilities of an establishment featured in a Budget Crunch review.
We expect there to be a few growing pains as we begin to implement this concept in our review process, but we are confident it will render a clear, more accurate depiction of a regional restaurant scene bursting at the seams with excitement, adventure, and new opportunity.
Christa Glennie Sychew, Spree’s senior editor and food editor.