Starting today, the Oregonian's restaurant reviews will be accompanied by star ratings. According to restaurant critic Michael Russell, the change coincides with the newspaper's previously announced move to a "compact format," which will see restaurant reviews appearing in the re-packaged, compact A&E section starting tomorrow. Under the new rating, restaurants will be graded from zero to four stars, with zero representing "not recommended" and four starts signifying "extraordinary."
"This is something that I wanted to do for some time, mostly, because I've felt hemmed in by the letter grade system," Russell tells Eater. "Anything lower than a B- seems to cause a bit of a panic here in Portland." (Indeed, grades lower than a "C" were a rarity; save for recent examples like the "Ds" for Ahi Sushi and Southland Whiskey Kitchen.) The move comes amidst an ongoing debate about the merit of star rating systems — most famously, the Los Angeles Times stopped issuing stars in 2012. Russell promises an in-depth explanation of the grade-to-star swap will publish later this afternoon; stay tuned.
· The Oregonian Goes from Letter Grades to Stars [OregonLive]
· All Previous Oregonian Coverage [Eater PDX]