NYT In Defense of Chain Restaurants

Mallfood2The New York Times offers a long and generous restaurant review of Manhattan suburban chain restaurants, undoubtedly a friendly shout out to the restaurants' large advertising departments, that has left some East Coast intellectuals aghast. The choice quote for me was from this Ezra Klein piece.

I'm pretty much your consummate coastal elite (I biked back from the farmer's market today with a baguette and artisan cheese fastened to my rack), but even I wouldn't go so far as to mount an expedition to chain restaurants as if I were visiting rural Mangolia and chewing on caterpillars. So congrats New York Times -- you've outdone yourselves on this one.

Matthew Yglesias offers a bit of a push back, in defense of elitists as not so obnoxious as to never darken the doors of Chili's or the like.

This whole interchange has got me thinking about the elitist tag that often gets thrown in with locavore/sustainability conversation. Technically, I don't know if you can be an elitist and live in Spokane, which gives me some comfort. But it's a good reminder to me about how, from the very beginning, we said we would not presume that what we are doing is somehow better than the way others do consumption, nor do we expect that others should try to do it the way we do it. We went into this year not to save the world, but more to save ourselves. I guess that opens us up to the "selfish" tag, but somehow I'd rather be selfish than elitist.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this whole elitist question?