Best New Restaurant

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Best New Restaurant TV Poster Image
Restaurants work hard to triumph in reality competition.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The virtues of hard work, dedication, and pleasing customers are praised. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Many, if not most, contestants got where they are through years of work and are very proud of their jobs. Teens and tweens could find worse role models than these hard-working chefs, waiters, managers, and other food pros. 

Violence

Cuts and burns are always a possibility in the kitchen. 

Sex
Language

Contestants frequently curse under pressure. "F--k" is bleeped.

Consumerism

Restaurant names and logos are flashed on-screen. Final showdown takes place in Tom Colicchio's restaurant and gets an article in a food magazine.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Diners drink wine with diner; alcohol is an ingredient in dishes. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Best New Restaurant is a competition show that puts restaurants through stress tests to see which performs best. Contestants under pressure, which include restaurant owners, wait staff, and chefs, sometimes break down and curse at each other but for the most part act professionally. Expect to see alcohol consumed with meals and as an ingredient in dishes, but no one acts drunk. Hosts and contestants plug their restaurants (but that's kind of the point). Watching contestants react under stress could be hard for very young or sensitive viewers, but overall, this is a another fun peek into behind-the-scenes restaurant action. 

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What's the story?

Hosted by Tom Colicchio, hour-long series BEST NEW RESTAURANT pits 16 fledgling eateries against each other in a competition that will net the winner $100,000 and a feature in Bon Appétit magazine. On each episode, Colicchio first visits each restaurant on its home turf and challenges it to service a full house in two hours flat. Next, a diner with a hidden camera visits and captures footage of any mistakes. Finally, each restaurant competes head-to-head at a dinner in NYC; the winner of that round goes on to compete in the semi-finals for the money and bragging rights. 

Is it any good?

In marked contrast to the show for which Colicchio is best known (Top Chef), Best New Restaurant keeps the focus on food and service, not conflict among the contestants. Turns out it's quite a pleasure watching talented professionals working hard. They're under stress but not given tasks that seem impossible (looking at you, Project Runway). At all times, the importance of making guests happy and of upholding professional standards is stressed. Who knew chefs were supposed to taste each dish before it goes out of the kitchen? Colicchio and the makers of Best New Restaurant knew -- and now you do too. 

The moderate-tension environment also means that chefs snap at each other or servers only infrequently and pretty mildly. Thus this show is fine to watch with teens, tweens, and even interested grade schoolers. The only problem? Watching may make you hungry. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes a restaurant the "best." What combination of food, ambiance, and service makes one restaurant better than another? Do you agree with the decisions the judges make on Best New Restaurant

  • Cooking shows are a constant in the reality genre. Why? What dramatic possibilities do they offer? Why are there not as many reality shows set in, say, an office? 

  • Pay attention to the music Best New Restaurant plays. What type of music evokes what emotion? 

TV details

For kids who love restaurant reality

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