In Review

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Review Guidelines

In the interest of fairness, accountability, and transparency, The Frederick News-Post and 72 Hours have adopted a set of guidelines governing our food reviews. Those standards are listed below:

  • Reviews are conducted anonymously to the furthest extent possible. If our food reviewer is recognized by a chef or owner, or suspects that she received special treatment based on her identity, it is noted in the review. The goal is for our critic to experience the restaurant as an ordinary patron would.
  • Our critic visits each restaurant at least twice before writing a review — and up to four times if scheduling allows — with the understanding that food, service and atmosphere can differ dramatically from meal to meal. She is generally accompanied by one to three guests, allowing her to experience a greater variety of dishes.
  • The full cost of every meal is paid in full by our reviewer and reimbursed by The Frederick News-Post. We never accept free meals or gift certificates.
  • Our reviewer samples the full range of the menu, from appetizers to desserts. All guests are required to order different dishes. Dishes are occasionally ordered more than once to assess consistency.
  • Our reviewer orders alcoholic beverages if relevant to the dining experience. A restaurant that advertises its wine program, for example, will be assessed on its wine program. The same principle applies to craft cocktails or beer. If alcohol is not a strong focus of the restaurant, it is not ordered.
  • In fairness to new restaurants, our reviewer generally waits at least one month to review an establishment after it opens. However, on the occasions when a new restaurant attracts greater-than-average attention from the community, a review may be conducted sooner. In those cases, efforts are made to reassess the restaurant after it receives more time to organize.
  • National chains are not eligible for review.