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Michelin prepares New York Restaurant Guide

Michelin is targeting New York City for the release of its first-ever eating and lodging guide in North America. The Michelin Guide to New York City, featuring reviews of 500 restaurants and 50 hotels, will hit bookstores and the Web this coming November.

Michelin "inspectors" began fanning out across New York's five boroughs last fall, sampling eateries while seeking to remain inconspicuous. They are now making full restaurant inspections with the cooperation of store managers.

Restaurants will be judge for comfort--defined as furnishings, service, cleanliness and upkeep--as well as for the food. Michelin's notoriously demanding and controversial star system will be used.

The reviews are constantly being revised, keeping restaurants on their toes, or trapped in a continuous state of anxiety, depending on one's view. In 1966, one Paris chef shot himself in the head after Michelin downgraded his restaurant.

"We are delighted to launch our first Michelin Guide for North America, in response to a strong demand from our readers in recent years to whom our European guides provide an invaluable tool," said Edouard Michelin, CEO of the Michelin Group.

The Michelin Guide, now in its 105th year, already has 12 editions covering 20 European nations.

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