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Independent Dining Publication Houston Food Finder Will ‘Likely’ Call It Quits

Publisher Phaedra Cook tells Eater that the business just isn’t profitable

Houston Food Finder publisher Phaedra Cook
Chuck Cook/GoFundMe

After more than three years of covering Houston’s food scene, independent dining publication Houston Food Finder will officially cease publishing in the coming weeks.

Publisher Phaedra Cook announced the news in a post to Houston Food Finder on Friday morning, noting that without a major influx of cash, Houston Food Finder will fold over the next two weeks. Cook tells Eater that the publication will wind down in the coming days, after it publishes a few more stories and podcast episodes.

“Since its inception in November 2016, Houston Food Finder has not found sufficient support in the business community to be profitable,” Cook said. “The biggest ongoing problem is that it cannot even afford to pay me for my full-time work. Over the past three years, I’ve incurred a great deal of debt, and it’s unfortunately not a situation that can go on forever.”

Cook has long been open about Houston Food Finder’s financial struggles, and was almost forced to shutter the publication in 2019. A fan of the publication started a GoFundMe, which raised more than $5,000 to help pay writers and keep the lights on at Houston Food Finder. According to Cook, the crowdfunding platform “rejected” a number of contributions made to the fundraiser, some of which the publication had to pay back. Patreon and a virtual “tip jar” on Facebook also raised some funds, but it was ultimately not enough.

According to Cook, Houston Food Finder could make a comeback if it finds the financial support that it needs. “While I am leaving the door open for some kind of good circumstance, it is likely Houston Food Finder will publish its last few stories and podcast episodes over the next two weeks and then close,” Cook said.

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