Guy Fieri’s New York Restaurant Failed So Hard That His PR Firm Urged Him to Apologize to the Public

Guy Fieri
Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar was not a success for the celebrity chef. | Dylan Rives/Getty Images

Guy Fieri’s New York restaurant, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, has recently closed. With an opening so bad that Fieri’s PR team wanted him to apologize to the public, it’s easy to imagine why the venture was so short-lived. Read on to learn about the history of Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, and how it received one of the worst restaurant reviews ever written.

1. The beginning

Fieri opened Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar in New York City back in 2012. This was by no means Fieri’s first attempt at opening a restaurant (he had previously successfully opened several locations of Johnny Garlic’s, a California pasta grill), but this was his first time taking a stab at a New York restaurant.

Next: This famous chef warned Fieri about opening in New York

2. He had been warned

Emeril Lagasse gives a cooking demo on stage at Goya Foods' Grand Tasting Village
Emeril Lagasse warned him about New York restaurants. | Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

Prior to opening Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, chef Emeril Lagasse warned Fieri about the competitive nature of New York dining. “His main concern was that Fieri didn’t have a trusted team, like Bobby Flay and Mario Batali,” says The Daily Meal. Despite his colleague’s warning, he went ahead with the restaurant.

Next: Forbes called the NYT review the restaurant received the most scathing review in the history of the Times. 

3. The most scathing review in the history of the New York Times

Guy Fieri at the 2016 Food Network & Cooking Channel
The review caught a lot of attention. | Dylan Rives/Stringer/Getty Images

Upon opening Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar, Fieri received some horrific reviews, particularly from New York Times writer Pete Wells. Forbes writer Larry Olmsted called the review “the single most scathing I can recall in my 30+ years of reading the Times.”

“I loved reading it, not because I have anything against Fieri, but because it was very well written and hilarious,” said Olmsted.

Next: The review itself is pretty funny. 

4. The review

Guy Fieri Meet & Greet at Mount Airy Casino Resort
It actually was pretty funny to read — if you weren’t Guy Fieri. | Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

The New York Times infamous review put Wells on the map in terms of food critique (Fieri’s fame helped with that). Olmsted is right, though uncharitable and unapologetic, it’s pretty funny. It’s posed as a letter to Fieri himself, asking such questions as “What exactly about a small salad with four or five miniature croutons makes Guy’s Famous Big Bite Caesar (a) big (b) famous or (c) Guy’s, in any meaningful sense?” and “Is this how you roll in Flavor Town?

Next: Fieri’s PR team wanted him to make an embarrassing move. 

5. Fieri’s PR team

Guy Fieri Meet & Greet at Mount Airy Casino Resort
His team wanted him to apologize for the food. | Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, Fieri was upset over the reviews (it wasn’t just Wells who didn’t like the food). According to The Daily Meal, his PR team wanted him to apologize for the poor quality of the food and even shut down until all the issues could be resolved. He didn’t. Instead, he argued that everyone reviewed him too close to the restaurant’s opening.

Next: Here’s what other chefs thought

6. Other chefs weighed in

Chef Sandra Lee speaks onstage
Chef Sandra Lee stuck by Guy Fieri. | Thos Robinson/Getty Images

Though some Food Network chefs defended Fieri after the infamous review went live, others declined to comment or stayed neutral, the general consensus seemed to be “I’m just  glad it wasn’t me.”

“I’m not going to lie, I was like thank God it’s not me. They were going right down the line and ripping,” said chef Paul Malvone.

Next: After five years, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar is closed.  

7. Today, the restaurant’s closed

Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar Welcome Event
The restaurant closed at the end of 2017. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

After five years of being in business, and after one of the rockiest starts in restaurant history, Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar closed on December 31, 2017.

“There were both very high highs and very low lows for Guy’s throughout the years — most famously when Fieri took home the top prize at the 2013 Food & Wine festival burger bash and most infamously when Times critic Pete Wells positively skewered the restaurant in an unprecedently scathing zero-star review,” said Eater New York. Fieri has not given a reason for the restaurant’s closing, only that he is proud to have served the people who came there to eat.

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