UPDATE #2, 11/15 4:40PM: The New York Times has officially announced that Pete Wells will be the paper's new restaurant critic, effective January 2012. The memo says, in part:
Pete Wells will be our new restaurant critic. No one could be better prepared or respected for his superb writing, intimate knowledge of food and restaurants and deep commitment to our dining franchise. Pete has been Dining Editor since 2006. He has stepped in as acting critic himself -- writing a half-dozen well-received columns in the interim between the Bruni and Sifton eras....
We knew we were on the right track when more than one of the dozens of applicants around the country opened their queries by saying, 'Pete should be the critic, but I'm available if you don't pick him.'
Pete Wells himself has made it official as well, tweeting, "[tap, tap] Is this thing on? Various sources reporting I have a new job. This one looks official." He then points to the announcement above. He has also changed his Twitter photo from a picture of him to a shot of oysters.
UPDATE 11/15: Dylan Byers at Politico reports that an internal New York Times announcement names Pete Wells as the new Times restaurant critic, which Byers' originally reported the likelihood of last week (see below). In an already-lost effort to pursue some semblance of anonymity for Wells, the Times' dining editor since 2006, the paper has already scrubbed his photo from its site. Susan Edgerley, assistant managing editor, will become dining editor.
PREVIOUS: Dylan Byers at Politico reports that several sources have named Pete Wells, the New York Times dining editor, as the paper's next restaurant critic. In response to an email from Politico, Wells replied, "We all want to know! But we're not going to say anything until we have an announcement to make, whenever that is."
The paper's previous restaurant critic, Sam Sifton, recently left the position after two years to become the Times' National Editor.
Wells is even less anonymous than Sifton, with his mug proudly displayed on his Twitter account and in previous New York Times pieces. He has been the dining editor since 2006, has received five James Beard Journalism Awards and is no stranger in dropping some "stone cold goose eggs."