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Those of us tasked with producing a dining guide can get pretty overwhelmed. There are obviously more eateries out there than we'll ever be able to sample.

As a recent debate with our local competitor brought to light, we struggle over how to be inclusive and comprehensive, yet selective and informative. The Gazette would say that "Lots of fans" — as reads the entirety of a Louie's Pizza write-up — qualifies as a "critical" evaluation. In our Bites publication (see here), we've offered at least a little more on each featured restaurant.

There's no science to this, of course. We're just taking our best shot at providing the most utilitarian guide to dining out in our area, at this particular time. And we think that means researching each eatery dutifully, and culling our criticisms to focus on highlights and redeeming qualities.

We all want to see our independent dining scene evolve and hopefully, one day, rival those of the best cities in the world. Some diamonds, stars and hour-long waits on Saturday nights suggest that certain individual flavors here already do stand up to the bests anywhere.

It's our pleasure to help report on this scene, to shine light on deserving plates and people and to be honest in our weekly criticisms, offering insights to improvement.

With Bites, we know we've bitten off almost more than we can chew, hoping to get you enthusiastically working your own jaw muscles around town. We wish you happy, hungry hunting.

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