When I was a kid, my favorite foods included the 3 staples of life at that age: candy, potato chips and ketchup. Since then, my tastes have evolved quite a bit. Although I don’t consider myself a snob of gastronomy, I do expect the best when I dine out around town. But being completely satisfied isn’t always easy. There are so many elements that come together to make a restaurant great — ambiance, vibe, décor, crowd, service, menu, food, ingredients, plating, chef, staff, location, valet, etc. All of these things have to meld as harmoniously as the ingredients on the plate in order for a restaurant to stand the test of time in a saturated industry that has an estimated impact of $1.7 trillion annually in the U.S., and affects 1 in 10 American workers. Although most are quick to accept the bogus statistic that 90% of start-up restaurants fail within their first year, comprehensive studies have debunked that unsavory urban legend. In fact, recent reports have shown that just a little over 25% don’t make it to their first anniversary; and about 50% don’t stay in business past their 3rd year. Stats and studies aside, I encourage you to go with your gut and wine & dine yourself at a new place you’ve been wanting to check out. The worst thing that can happen is that you won’t come back for seconds…the best thing that can happen is that you will! JORGE ARAUZ, Editor-in-Chief. CELL: 305.401.3232; EMAIL: Editor@BrickellMag.com.