Here’s Why Ina Garten’s Not Up on the Latest Restaurants
Ina is the queen of kitchens and the go-to goddess of everything food, so it makes sense that friends and acquaintances often check in with her for opinions on the latest and greatest in New York restaurants. Unfortunately, they are barking up the wrong tree, we learned in an opinion piece in this Sunday’s New York Times.
The piece, by former Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni, describes how his taste in restaurants has changed as he ages. He compares his evolving taste in restaurants to the way other tastes change over the years, going from wanting what’s cool to what’s sophisticated, to now, a source of familiarity. He uses other well-known folks in the over-50 crowed to support his point, including Ina. She tells Bruni that she and Jeffrey “Go to the same restaurant over and over again until we just can’t do it anymore.” And then, she explains, they find another one and repeat the process — sticking to the same spot for as long as two years.
When other people try to draw on her expertise for advice about where to eat, she says, “Haven’t a clue!” But if they do try a hot new restaurant and like it, they might start eating there for two years — until long past when it’s hot and new.
In part, the article explains, restaurateurs find that older diners like to be regulars — they like to be recognized, acknowledged, and valued. Though it’s hard to imagine a restaurant not valuing Ina and Jeffrey coming in for diner.
But the real lesson here — besides that, based on the reasoning and preferences laid out here, I seem to have been over 50 since the day I turned 18 — is that if you ever see Ina out in a restaurant, you can be pretty sure that you’ll find her there again another day and so you could bring a copy of her book to get signed next time.