City Paper recently solicited your feedback on the types of food content you most crave. The results revealed that a somewhat shocking 63 percent of you would be excited to see us publish formal restaurant reviews. But does D.C. really need someone assessing the sear on the scallops or the pacing of a parade of small plates at restaurants that are already heavily covered by others?
Maybe. But, in true alt-weekly fashion, we’re zigging where others zag. City Paper is hiring a freelance carry-out food critic to evaluate and celebrate the District’s rich and historic carry-out culture.
While the featured restaurants can have a couple of seats for eating meals while they’re piping hot, we’re referring to businesses that focus exclusively on takeout. Think Greek Deli, KoChix, Yum’s, Open Crumb, Johnny’s Carryout, and Fish in the Neighborhood. Ghost or virtual restaurants run out of commissaries and food incubators, like The Kitchen Jerk in Mess Hall, also count.
The carry-out critic should be curious about both cooking techniques and the stories behind the people who run the restaurants they feature. While there’s room for constructive criticism, the chief goal is to point readers to spots that are worth seeking out. They should also alert readers about signature dishes and under-the-radar items that are must tries, and write with an authoritative but fun voice.
City Paper hopes to run one or two reviews per month for a rate of $300 per 800-word review. Meal costs of up to $50 will be reimbursed. You don’t need to strive for anonymity, but you shouldn’t announce who you are when you arrive or schedule an interview until after you’ve dined to prevent special treatment.
To apply, send me (LHayes@washingtoncitypaper.com) a short statement about why you’re a good fit for the job, a short description of your current favorite carry-out restaurant, and a writing sample. The writing sample doesn’t have to have been published anywhere. It can be the best damn email or diary entry you’ve ever written. We’re just trying to get a sense of your voice and style because they will be a big part of the job.
We are an equal opportunity employer and encourage members of historically underrepresented groups—including but certainly not exclusive to people of color, people with disabilities, and those who identify as queer—to apply for this freelance position.