About 53


Story is a powerful thing. It’s one of the most primal ways that we individual human beings can share idea, and emotion, and experience. It’s an act of creation, and communication. It’s creating an “us” from an “I”.

Food is one of the oldest forms of storytelling. A carefully crafted meal can evoke emotions, set us in a place, engender conversation. So can a random assortment of stuff we cobbled together from the fridge at the last minute. So can a fast-food burger if you’re with the right person at the right time.

Food is story.

It shapes our memories and families, and defines our cultures. It strengthens the bonds of friendship, and creates and fortifies community. It can mean love, it can be kindness, it can be the best kinds of irresponsibility.

53 Magazine seeks to share a meal with you. To tell the stories of family, community and culture through the food that accompanies them, drives them, or merely serves as their decorative backdrop.

We are big believers here at 53. We believe in storytelling and its ability to show us windows into other lives. We also believe in food and its power to strongly connect us to past memories and to make connections in the present. We hope that food and story, together, will show us the unique, and beautiful, and commonplace experiences that connect all of us despite the different lives we all lead.

We are also big believers in paying for quality, which is why we pay for any stories not written by the site’s editors.

This isn’t a restaurant review website (though we will certainly talk in our columns about the meals we’ve enjoyed—or not enjoyed—at restaurants). It is not a daily-recipe site, though we’ll absolutely share recipes with you. 53 Magazine is a motley collection of writers and cooks and readers and eaters with an insatiable curiosity and need to devour the next story.

These are our stories. Eat up.

About the Editors:


Viki Gonia

Fuck yeah I love food. I live for it as much as I live because of it. I have lists in my journal of the stories I repeatedly tell that are rooted by food. My most treasured family memories, from when I was a child to the years I’ve spent as a parent, smell like red sauce and cheese and bacon, cinnamon and brown butter, they feel like the warm ooze of greasy jam dripping down my thumb and wrist. They are filled with sizzles and simmers, slow bubbling and full boils. And laughter, and shouts, and family and friends and togetherness. Because that’s what food does—it brings us together (or, at least, I think that’s what it should do).

I’m a mother, a writer and photographer, and an amateur, wanna-be chef. I make a lot of biscuits and they never turn out the same but they’re almost always edible. I’m an expert at macaroni and cheese and crock-pot pulled pork. My children tell stories about my food. I feel like that’s a great accomplishment, that their childhood memories are rooted in the meals I made for them.

If you’d like to find me elsewhere, please visit my personal website at VikiGonia.com or my photo portfolio at SpiritStandingStill.com.


Eric Atienza

I’m an eater, a drinker, a reader, and a writer – probably not in that order.

I’m a person who is endlessly exploring his many parts. The part of me from the west side of Cleveland holds kielbasa and pierogis as some of the most comforting of comfort foods. The part of me that is the child of two Filipino immigrants loves sour and salty and sweet and fatty flavors all rolled into one, and uses rice as a cure for an upset stomach. There’s a part of me that loves Top Chef, and house-made everything, and local sourcing, and Michelin starred restaurants and celebrity chefs, but there’s also a part of me that loves cheap beer, and street food, and dollar pizza, and hot dogs burned just right. I like being a bunch of opposites because life is better with variety even if – and especially because – variety can be a little messy sometimes.

As a cook my only goal has ever been to be good enough that my friends would look forward to eating at my table. As a writer I’ve only ever wanted to create something I would be happy reading. As a kid I only ever wanted to be able to eat cake for breakfast. One out of three ain’t bad.

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