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Michelin and Zagat Put Their NYC Restaurant Guides On Hold Until At Least Next Year

Neither company plans to publish a 2021 guide for New York City restaurants this year due to the coronavirus pandemic

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High End New York City Restaurants Offer Take Out And Delivery Options As Coronavirus Pandemic Devastates Restaurant Industry
Operations manager Emma Krauthaim hands a customer a takeout bag from Contra, which received a one-star rating from the Michelin Guide in 2017
Photo by Gary He/Getty Images

Neither the Michelin Guide and Zagat will be publishing restaurant guides for New York City this year, according to a new report from the New York Times. The guides from both companies, which are traditionally published in November, are officially on hold until at least next year, even though Michelin has plans to move forward with its ratings in other countries.

“We’ve postponed the New York guide until there’s a recovery,” Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, said in an interview with the Times. “Ratings are not appropriate when so many restaurants are closed.”

Even so, Michelin inspectors have been back in the field for months now. Inspectors quietly returned to New York City restaurants in August — at a time when only 8 percent of the country’s starred restaurants had reopened for service — and continue to dine out, even in a changed landscape where there’s more emphasis on takeout, outdoor dining, and reduced-capacity indoor service. There are plans to issue a Michelin guide for the city’s restaurants as soon as it feels appropriate to do so, according to the Times, which will likely come sometime next year.

Michelin still has plans to move forward with its 2021 guides in other countries, however, despite a surge of coronavirus cases in Europe and elsewhere. The company is set to publish its guide for France on January 18, the Times reports, while its guides to Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo were released earlier this year.

The Infatuation, which owns Zagat, has also suspended its New York City guide to restaurants for 2021. The annual, crowd-sourced guide is on hold in-part because there has not been enough restaurant foot-traffic from the public during the pandemic.

The move by Michelin and Zagat is mirrored by other food publications across the city as they inch away from offering ratings and stars, at least during the coronavirus pandemic. Critics at the Times, Grub Street, and Eater have resumed their visits to restaurants, but their reviews have skewed toward highlighting successful restaurants and offering commentary on the current state of the hospitality industry. Unlike just eight months ago, the starred and numeric ratings that could make or break restaurants are now nowhere to be found. In June, the Infatuation took that effort one step further, announcing that it would permanently end its use of numeric ratings, even after the pandemic subsides.