[Note: Conflict-of-interest disclaimer below.]
Heavy Table, helmed by longtime food writer James Norton, looks sharp, reads sharp and covers dining, drinking, cooking and even policy with depth and flair. The six-month-old site was obviously created by people who know cuisine and the Internet.
Even though Heavy Table’s monthly traffic has reached six figures, a new website — no matter how assured — can use promotional help. That’s what the vita.mn linkage will do. Each week, a Heavy Table story, photographs and blurbs will appear in the weekly’s pages.
Meanwhile, vita.mn gains some depth to help cover the bases. The publication won’t lose Strib restaurant writer Rick Nelson’s writing. He’s an HT fan, by the way, who recently praised the site for vacuuming up “local online food and dining chatter better than a Dyson upright,” while noting Norton’s savvy is the “real strength.”
(James was let go, reluctantly, by City Pages in a late-2008 budget cut. He also wrote for Minnesota Monthly in the pre-Dara era.)
To help pay the bills, Heavy Table on rare occasions publishes sponsored content, discussing a place, item or event because someone paid them to. According to the site’s ethics policy, reviews are off-limits, such content is labeled and “all claims or statements made are either colorful and subjective or verifiable as factual.” Apply your cynicism accordingly, but sponsored items won’t appear in vita.mn.
Now, my own disclaimer: I’m a volunteer board member of the nonprofit Kingfield Farmer’s Market, which regularly attempts to wheedle coverage out of Nelson and Heavy Table. A Heavy Table staffer also responded to our begging and judged a bake-off this year. For obvious reasons, I don’t pitch either organization, but everyone knows everybody, so apply your cynicism accordingly.