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Countdown Bruni: 21 Days Left in King Brunz's Reign

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Morimoto's Frank Bruni signage

Restaurateurs: according to Eater's precise calculations Frank Bruni, King of the New York Dining Universe, will remove his crown and hand over his scepter around August 13. The man, the legend confirms that his last review will appear on or before August 19th. Since it is believed that a critic is done reviewing a restaurant by the time the photographer comes (one week prior), he'll be having his last meal on the Times somewhere between the 10th and the 14th. Three weeks people. Then the posters can be taken down, the pictures pasted in the servers pads removed, the dart board disassembled. But to be fair, there are only a handful of restaurant worrying about the man anyway:

Destined to fill his last four reviews: D-Biggity's DBGB Kitchen & Bar, The Standard Grill, and the highly anticipated 3-4 star Marea. For the fourth, it's a toss up. He could do Sho Shaun Hergatt, a spot that could use a Bruni-boost if it's good. Or he could go out on a final hurrah, by re-reviewing his first ever four star subject—and the most expensive restaurant in town—Masa.

At this point restaurant owners really need to be worried about what's on the horizon. For obvious reasons, three weeks before the great Bruni Torch Pass, the Times has yet to name a successor. Whether or not they've decided or are narrowing it down, a few oft-mentioned contenders to add to our original candidate list.

1) Jennifer Steinhauer, LA Bureau Chief. She's paid her dues at the Times, did a crack up job of covering 9/11, writes about food in Los Angeles, and readers, she is a hard ass. She doesn't care about ripping into restaurateurs and will be a fun read. Problem: She's still filing from LA.

2) Michael Nagrant, Hungry Mag. This is more of a long shot but a few people have dropped his name given he knows his way around food. Also, he just took a vacay from his blog. Problem: chances of them not promoting from within, even on a job such as this, are pretty low.

3) Rachel Donadio, Rome Bureau Chief. Would they go back to the well again? Unclear but Donadio is a solid writer and can crank out copy. She has experience as far as being a critic is concerned as she left a gig as editor of the Book Review to go to Rome. Problem: She's still filing from Rome.

4) William Grimes, former critic. He only makes the list, because he's rumored to be taking over as interim critic and because there is a Facebook group called One Million Strong for the Restoration of William Grimes. Problem: It has 18 members. He also has a new book to promote.

5) Moira Hodgson, former Observer critic. Why not? She's done the job before and needs a new gig. No relocation costs.

6) Christine Muhlke, T Mag's Food Editor. She's well liked, she's paid her dues, she knows food, and she knows how to write. It would be a promotion from within without any relocation costs. Problem: Too well known in the food world.

7) Or perhaps it will just be someone at the Times that isn't entrenched in the industry: Dan Saltzstein, Glen Collins, etc.
Don't forget the other big contenders here.
· BruniBetting: So, Who'll Replace King Brunz? [~E~]

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