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The Dallas Morning News Has a New Restaurant Critic

Michalene Busico will replace former dining critic Leslie Brenner

Shutterstock/Philip Lange
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

After nearly a year of searching, the Dallas Morning News has hired a new restaurant critic.

Michalene Busico comes to the paper after stints at the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, along with time at luxury food publication Robb Report, according to the Dallas Morning News. With some key exceptions, Busico’s background is very similar to former Dallas Morning News critic Leslie Brenner, who also worked at the Los Angeles Times and contributed to the New York Times before heading to Dallas.

Unlike Brenner at the beginning of her time at the paper, Busico won’t hide under a veil of anonymity — photos of the critic lead the Morning News’ announcement of her arrival. In her introductory post, Busico also notes that she’s a longtime friend of Brenner, and will not be reviewing any restaurants that Brenner is involved with in her new role at Rebees, Tristan Simon’s restaurant company that just opened Billy Can Can in Victory Park.

Brenner vacated her post in 2017, and since, journalism professor Mark Vamos has been writing restaurant reviews for the paper. Only time will tell whether or not Busico will be as controversial as Brenner, who found herself banned from local restaurants and forced to review a spot dressed in a mummy costume, among other spats with local restaurant owners and journalists.

Busico hasn’t announced yet when her first restaurant review will be published, but there’s officially a new critic in town.