The Feedbag reports that former New York Times restaurant critic William Grimes will temporarily replace current critic Frank Bruni when he retires at the end of the summer. According to The Feedbag, Grimes "is said to be lined up to hold down the fort until the new critic comes aboard in January." This fall, Frank Bruni will make his first public, post critic debut at the Food Network Wine & Food Festival, appearing on a panel with Anthony Bourdain and promoting his new memoir Born Round.
William Grimes (right) also has a new book being released this fall about the history of New York restaurants. Bookstores everywhere will presumably be more plentiful with a more current copy of Grimes' mugshot when this happens. Regardless, Grimes's identity is no longer a kept secret. When the news broke a few months ago that Frank Bruni was leaving the newspaper, we asked Grimes if he had any interest in returning to the old beat. We also alerted him to the Facebook group founded by blogger Gurgling Cod demanding his reinstatement, the plainly titled "One Million Strong for the Restoration of William Grimes." His response:
I was not aware of any movement to agitate for my return as restaurant critic. In any case, it would be obnoxious of me to think out loud how I might respond to an invitation to return, since the possibility is precisely zero. When I stepped down from the job, that was it. Time to turn the page. My heartfelt thanks for the vote of confidence, though.
So there you have it—Grimes' overall reluctance would seem to encompass interim critic gigs as well. He wrote in today to say "I have not been contacted by anyone to fill in temporarily, so I do not know what to say about those rumors." In the meantime, that Facebook group is looking for 999,986 new members. More on William Grimes's new book here.