As someone who does a fair amount of writing about food and drink, food media and restaurant culture, it's imperative I have as open a mind as possible. It's easy to do when reading press releases and links to reviews: the main job of PR reps is to sell the sizzle.
Occasionally I receive media advisories from the city health department announcing shutdowns of restaurants throughout the city. As a blogger, they make nice quick posts, especially if the restaurant is well-known. Sometimes I can't help but let those advisories affect my desire to visit the restaurants in question.
I live in a neighborhood in Chicago that once was well-known for its hearty Lithuanian population. One of the oldest and most popular restaurants in my neck of the woods is a breakfast place that specializes in Lithuanian food - kugelis, dumplings, cold soups, heavy gravies, amazing pancakes. A few years ago they were shut down for multiple health code violations (I won't go into detail here, but a few did make me gag when I read about them). The restaurant's owner paid the fine, corrected the violations and sent her kitchen staff to the city-sponsored food handling and sanitation course. they've had only minor violations since.
Still I pass by on Sundays and hesitate on whether or not to eat there, the shock of seeing one of my favorite breakfast places closed for health code violations still as fresh in my head as when I read about it in the local papers years ago. I know the owner well enough to know she wouldn't take shortcuts to maintain compliance with health code. A part of me feels as though the shut down was a personal betrayal. Which is asinine, I know. Before the shut down, I used to frequent this place nearly every Sunday.
Has anyone had similar accounts and remedies to overcome what is evidently a mental block on my part?