No, this is not a joke. The nine-year-old restaurant review company known as The Infatuation has acquired Zagat, the thirty-nine-year-old restaurant crowdsourcing platform. It's a crazy time in the restaurant review industry, so it's important to understand how this is going to work. Let's break it down.

WTF does The Infatuation do?

The Infatuation is a restaurant review platform, run by a small group of highly-trained writers and editors in the food industry. Their articles are written in the editorial tone you would expect from a well-educated foodie, supplemented by serious honesty and a touch of humor. When the team picks a restaurant to review, they dine anonymously, pay for everything themselves, and provide a lengthy review including comments on everything from the lighting to the silverware.

The easiest way to verify a restaurant's quality is to check out the numerical rating. Each restaurant is rated on a 10 point scale: 10 unanimously being the last meal you should eat before you die, and 1 being a dining experience that will definitively induce a painful, terrible death. The ratings are also color-coded; the darker the shade of green, the more worthwhile the restaurant. Once you get into the yellow shades—mid 6's—stay away. (It is not a coincidence that the shade begins to resemble a puke-yellow-green color). 

Undeniably, the best part of The Infatuation is their situational restaurant guides—compilations of restaurants based on location and type of dining experience you're seeking out. The Instagram photo above, for example, is advertising their Upper East Side Hit List guide. Other notable guides include their NYC Brunch Hit List, The Best Walk-In Only Restaurants for Date Night (in NYC), 14 LA Bars Where You Can Dance, Where To Go When You Don't Want To Make A Big Deal About Your Birthday, But You Actually Kind Of Do (in Chicago), and the list goes on forever, but you get the point: they are creative AF.

How is Zagat different?

Zagat's key difference is crowdsourcing. Zagat was founded in 1979 by Tim and Nina Zagat who wanted to compile restaurant reviews written by their friends and provide them to the public. The heart and soul of Zagat is in their paper-back maroon-colored Zagat Survey books, which, at the height of their popularity, included opinions of over 250,000 individuals, and reviewed restaurants, hotels, movies, golf courses, and everything in between. When Google acquired Zagat back in September 2011, the company began to spiral away from its user-generated reviews and handheld guides, transforming into an online restaurant review platform.

So, how is this going to work?

The Infatuation and Zagat will work together, combining The Infatuation's powerful social media platform and millennial reader population with Zagat's reputation and experience to create the most influential, trusted restaurant review service in the world. The Infatuation will continue to publish editorial-focused, situational guides and honest reviews while bringing the Zagat brand back to its roots of crowdsourced user surveys. The two leadership teams have entered into a harmonious partnership in many ways, though The Infatuation serves as head honcho of the dynamic duo as they now have legal and financial rights to the Zagat brand. In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, March 6, Chris Stang, The Infatuation's CEO, explained that "the two brands will operate separately, but the acquisition will help both companies grow." Stang believes that Zagat's user-generated platform will help the company reach more people more quickly, allowing both brands to expand around the world.

Overall, this acquisition is an extremely exciting event in foodie history. Finding a great restaurant for any occasion, whether it be your grandma's 90th birthday or a first date, will never be a problem so long as The Infatuation exists, and Zagat is the best platform for opinionated foodies, like Spoon readers, to provide our feedback on dining experiences. They're no Gigi and Zayn, but this partnership is pretty darn close to a match made in heaven.