Food & Drink

How The Food Lens Guided Boston's Restaurant Scene as the Coronavirus Hit

On the latest episode of "The Dish I Miss," Molly Ford and Catherine Smart from The Food Lens talk about how the website and its podcast shifted gears after the pandemic hit, from a local guide to dining in Boston to what's open for takeout and delivery

The cover art for the Food Lens podcast, which shows the two hosts, Molly Ford and Catherine smart eating food with their headphones on.
The Food Lens

The Food Lens, a digital guide to restaurants and bars in Boston, was founded in 2017 by Molly Ford and Sarah Jesup, Boston University classmates who traveled the world together compiling Google Docs of their favorite places.

"The Boston food scene, it's kind of like the little sister to New York, like we don't get enough love and attention here for how many amazing chefs and restaurants are in Boston and how much the food scene has changed," Ford said.

But that food scene is changing drastically now that the coronavirus pandemic forced restaurants to close its dining rooms for three months. The website had to adapt as well, as the hosts of The Food Lens' podcast told us for our own podcast on food amid the coronavirus crisis, "The Dish I Miss."

During the shutdown, The Food Lens immediately went from writing about the best places to go out to eat and drink in Boston to reporting on what's open for takeout and delivery, as well as interviewing chefs and restaurant insiders about how the virus changed their lives.

Meanwhile, there were changes at "The Food Lens Podcast," hosted by Ford and Catherine Smart, a former Boston Globe food writer, current cast member on Christopher Kimball's "Milk Street TV" and co-founder and CEO of the food startup Not Just Co. The show had started with candid interviews with restaurant industry insiders, but when the pandemic hit, the hosts ended up feeling helpless.

"This is an industry that we care deeply about, that has provided us with a livelihood, like we just felt so helpless," Smart said.

The podcast is in its fourth season and continues to interview food industry insiders, now about the restaurant scene opening back up.

To listen to the full conversation about The Food Lens' journey, the dishes and restaurants they've missed the most during quarantine and their take on the future of the restaurant industry in Boston, click play on the episode above or on the podcast platform of your choice.

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