Make New American Great Again
By Laura Hayes
Washington City Paper, August 11, 2016
Labels are annoying. Who can forget the head-scratching “It’s complicated” on Facebook? Not to mention the overplayed refrain that was seemingly everywhere in 2015: “I’m just not into labels.” Labeling restaurants, like relationships, can be tough too. A Yelp query reveals that 744 restaurants in the D.C. metro area are labeled as “American (New).” Yelp is pretty generous in defining the metro area—stretching it all the way to Baltimore—but the point stands: In the restaurant industry, the term New American gets sprinkled around as liberally as salt.
Because diners are so often making decisions on where to eat based on Yelp, OpenTable, and Google searches, the lingo matters. Especially terminology as prevalent as “New American.” Where did it come from? How is it defined? Is it meaningful commentary on cuisine or just a generic catchphrase? More