What’s the deal with RZ restaurant reviews?

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A 9-inch wood-fired "The Works" pizza from Mountain Fire Pizza in Gorham, N.H. I got no kickbacks or free food here or anywhere else. I review above-average places because that's what people prefer. I'm not interested in reviewing mediocre restaurants. (PHOTO BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK)
A 9-inch wood-fired “The Works” pizza from Mountain Fire Pizza in Gorham, N.H. I got no kickbacks or free food here or anywhere else. I review above-average places because that’s what people prefer. I’m not interested in reviewing mediocre restaurants. (PHOTO BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK)

A few people have mentioned to me that my restaurant reviews always seem to be glowing. Am I getting kickbacks? Or do I have no sense of taste, and so all of my reviews make everywhere I eat sound spectacular?

First off, I don’t get kickbacks. Even if I were that unethical, writing advertorial is a slippery slope; write glowing reviews of horrible food, and then no one will take your reviews seriously, and then you lose credibility for anything you write. When I write a review, I write exactly what I feel.

But the key here is that I don’t write about mediocre places. This isn’t about reviewing restaurants; it’s about letting traveling motorcyclists know about really great places to ride to and enjoy a great meal. I try out plenty of places that I never write about. Mediocre places aren’t what motorcyclists are after. If we want “average” or “just okay,” we know how to find a fast-food joint where we know what to expect. Now, if I eat somewhere and have a truly horrible experience, I might write about it in the name of warning motorcyclists off about the place. But for the most part I’m only interested in telling motorcyclists about the truly fine places to eat.

As a matter of personal opinion, I’m also less interested in whether the restaurant staff kisses my butt than I am in the quality of the food. If the food is good, plentiful, or a great value—preferably all three—I don’t care much if the waitress has a bad attitude; she just won’t get a 20 percent tip.

For me, it’s about really great food, and about letting other motorcyclists know about about the places that serve it. You might not always agree with me when I tell you how great a place is, but you can rest assured knowing that what I wrote was exactly what I meant.

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