Joe Yonan, editor of the Washington Post‘s Food section, contacted me earlier today to clear up the paper’s position on future reviews of EatWell DC restaurants, which include The Heights, Grillfish, and the Commissary. David Winer, a partner with EatWell DC, had earlier sent a letter to his mailing list, saying that the Post had agreed never to review his restaurants again following critic Tom Sietsema‘s hard, pipe-hitting First Bite commentary on the Commissary, which the Post has since retracted and pulled from its Web site. (The review is still available here.)
Says Yonan: “There is no agreement not to cover any of the Commissary owners’ other businesses.” The only agreement is that Sietsema will not handle any of the Post‘s future coverage of EatWell DC’s restaurants.
So why did Winer think the Post had agreed never to review his places again? I don’t know. But I have a call into him. More as I know it.
UPDATE (2:14 P.M.): Winer called back to say he wasn’t interested in continuing the war of words. Here’s what he would allow: “I never spoke to Joe Yonan, and that’s the fact of the matter.” Winer also said that, from the beginning, he had only one issue with the Post: “My sole problem in all of this is a conflict of interest,” Winer said, “nothing more.”