The answer is no. I know this because I headed up to Times Square and, for several hours, stood outside of Fieri’s restaurant, which could best be described in an elevator pitch as what might happen if Ruby Tuesday did sex with an unkempt Ed Hardy store. My goal was to read some of my favorite excerpts from Pete Wells' piece to patrons leaving the restaurant and ask them what they thought. Turns out, the majority of people leaving Guy Fieri's do NOT want to stop and talk to a random guy on the street in Times Square asking if he could read them something. Neither of the two couples who did stop (one from the Midwest, one from the South) wanted to reveal anything beyond their first names. And they definitely didn’t know who Pete Wells was.
"So that old fat Yankees pitcher reviews restaurants now?" said "John."
"No, sir," I said. "You're thinking of David Wells. This is Pete Wells."
"Oh," he said a little glumly, and I felt like I'd let us all down.
Having closely read all his reviews, you start to pick up on some Pete Wells-ian themes. For one, he fits in the internet vernacular like he's fluent in a language he only begrudgingly speaks ("My one-sentence review of Lilia for the too-long-didn't-read crowd: Missy Robbins is cooking pasta again."). Platt puts it in a different way, "Like many of us, he spends lots of time complaining about the adverse power of the internet. But he's also been very good at exploiting that power with the places he chooses to review."
Second, he does have a bit of populist in him. Monitoring the restaurants he's chosen as Critics' Picks, the simple concepts done remarkably well, succeed. Uncle Boons, Parm, Mighty Quinn's, Mission Chinese, RedFarm, Dirt Candy, etc. Needlessly expensive places draw his ire. Note his language in the first line of his Hakkasan review: "At first, a hostile takeover did not appear to be the best solution to the problems of Hakkasan, the multimillion-dollar exercise in Orientalism one block off Times Square." Or his pointed observation about the wealthy families eating "comfort food for millionaires" at Crown on the UES: "Before it was reduced to handing out reservations on OpenTable, that restaurant operated as something close to a private club. Crown is more like a public dining room for locals who've given the cook the night off. Before 8 p.m., families eat wordlessly, girls ballerina-straight, boys slumped in their blazers, parents plodding their way through a cozy Burgundy."