In 2009, Chris Stang and Andrew Steinthal started a dining blog after meeting on set of Total Request Live. The two were both music executives—Stang was the VP of Marketing at Atlantic Records and Steinthal was VP of Public Relations at Warner Bros. Records—and they would visit handfuls of New York restaurants every week and write about their experiences, all while maintaining their full-time gigs.
In 2014, the duo went all-in, going out on their own with no safety net or salary to work full-time on The Infatuation. In the years since, the site has become an essential no-frills, no BS resource for diners looking on the lowdown for the perfect place to eat nationwide.
“The whole thing was up and down and up and down the whole time,” Stang tells GQ. “But I got to do exactly what I loved—and that really paid off when we sold the company in 2021 to JP Morgan Chase to accelerate their investment in dining.”
So what does a guy who’s made a career on reviewing restaurants eat in a day? And what has Stang learned about keeping his body functional along the way? We recently caught up with the new dad to ask him about his top New York restaurants, what he’s scratched from his diet, and what we can expect from the restaurant industry moving forward.
For Real-Life Diet, GQ talks to athletes, celebrities, and other high performers about their diet, exercise routines, and pursuit of wellness. Keep in mind that what works for them might not necessarily be healthy for you.
GQ: Are you a morning person?
Chris Stang: Well, I’ll caveat this by saying it’s all changed recently—I had my first child in May. I wake up about 5:30 and I usually have somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes before the kid is awake. I’m usually in a scramble to just get some coffee on and have a little time with my son in the morning before my day starts.
What time does your work day start?
I moved from New York City where I’d been for 20 years to Los Angeles in early 2021, but I work New York hours here. When I was on the East Coast, I would use the mornings for some workout time and whatever other things I needed to do before the day got started. Here, I have 6:30 or 7 a.m. meetings pretty frequently. So, I work on average from 7:00 until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and that’s when I take the time to get in some exercise of some sort.
What kind of exercise are you doing these days?
I’m doing a lot of Pilates. I live close to the water, so surfing has become a hobby—even if it’s one that I’m terrible at. It’s definitely good for my mental health and rejuvenation, just floating around in the water.
And you’re also a big runner, right? I know that your work at Infatuation is actually what got you started with that, yes?
Exactly. I’d always tried to stay active through college, but when I started my career in the music business I got lazy with movement. I was up all hours of the night for my “day” job, and then I was working on this food blog on the side, so it was a lot of eating and late nights. I found that I had no choice but to get up early and do something active, otherwise I knew I was never going to feel right or be healthy.