By day, Chris Stang (left) and Andrew Steinthal work in the music industry, holding down high-pressure marketing and PR jobs at Atlantic Records and Warner Music’s Independent Label Group, respectively. But when they check out of the office, they log in to Immaculate Infatuation, a website of “restaurant reviews that don’t suck,” which they’ve been updating since 2009. Amid a sea of breathless food blogs, Immaculate is one to bookmark, if only because the writers eschew annoying culinary jargon like “speckled” and “toothsome.” (“What does toothsome even mean?” Stang asks.) Instead, they fill their reviews with humor, attitude, and a never-ending supply of pop culture references and food-focused interviews with bands like Metric and Passion Pit. BlackBook recently caught up with the duo to discuss the site’s origins, the key to its success, and their favorite New York hangouts.
On starting the blog: Stang: I honestly can’t remember who had the idea first, but once we came up with it, the sky suddenly turned black and there was lightning everywhere. Like in Ghostbusters.
On the perks of running a food blog: Stang: We don’t take free meals, but we’ve met a bunch of amazing people. Fans of our website, and a lot of great restaurant people and well-known chefs. The best part is all the cool people that reach out to us and are like, ‘hey, we use this thing all the time and we love it.’ People trust us a lot. They take our opinion and act based on that, which is crazy.
On their bosses’ reactions: Stang: They love it. It’s amazing how well our companies have taken to it. It says a lot about the people we work with. They’ve been really supportive of it and embraced it.
On making time for writing: Stang: We both have really demanding full time jobs. There’s no way we could do both during the day. We do it late at night or really early in the morning. Steinthal: I do it on my Blackberry on the way to work.
On their day jobs: Steinthal: I run the PR department, which is me and interns at Warner Music’s Independent Label Group and Stang’s the director of marketing at Atlantic. So he deals with big artists and I work with independent artists that are not necessarily putting out big hits all the time, but have been around for a while and have really good business and don’t necessarily need a major label.
On advertising and Immaculate’s success: Stang: We want to do advertising, but advertising that is right for our audience. We’re starting to get the traffic up to a level where we can have a conversation with real brands about making an impact. We’re sort of at that point where we’ve gone from a blog to a real website that has earning potential so we ask ourselves, how do we deal with all this?
Next big buzz bands: Steinthal: I can’t stop listening to The Naked and Famous song “Young Blood.” They’re like Passion Pit on steroids. I also like Delorean, the Glitch Mob, Wiz Khalifa, and the Lonely Forest, whom I also happen to work with.
What’s better, a great show or a great meal? Stang: It’s gotta be the show, because a great show is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. If you’re an excellent restaurant you have to serve the same exact meal every single night. You have to deliver consistency and excellence.
Favorite eats: Steinthal: Momofuku Ssäm and Noodle are ultimate go-to’s. Can’t get enough pork buns in my life. Love Marlow & Sons in Williamsburg – that place has an amazing vibe. Torrisi is unique and incredible. Fette Sau for BBQ.