Economist Tyler Cohen Avoids Restaurants Where Patrons Are Smiling

Indian restaurant

Photo: Flickr /williamcho

Economist Tyler Cohen wants consumers to think twice about walking into a restaurant where the patrons are smiling. It’s not that they’re serving bad food per se, it’s just that the food won’t be all that great, he told Business Insider. 

“A lot of restaurants are for socializing,” Cohen said. They’re “patronized by cool people, yuppies. They’re not bad, they’re slightly above average, but they tend to be somewhat expensive.” 

Conversely, “when you look at the really best places, the people who look grim are there for the food. When I see that, I start to wonder, ‘Hey this is a really good place.’ My heart lightens up a bit, I read more reviews.” 

Cohen, whose book, “An Economist Gets Lunch,” came out in April, made headlines for his quirky and often controversial views on dining and shopping for groceries

In his mind, consumers should want to seek out surprising experiences at restaurants, which often translates to eating at ethnic hole-in-the-walls and spending no more than $20 a meal. Pay any more than that, he said, and you’re likely going to get a generic meal at a “corporate” and overdone place. 

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