It’s better than staff cuts, we guess…

News came yesterday that Condé Nast is launching a new division, Condé Nast Restaurants, that will see Vogue and GQ eateries opening cash registers overseas. From the Wall Street Journal’s report:

The company is establishing a new division, called Condé Nast Restaurants, that will be based in Hong Kong and run by Stuart Nielsen, a regional director of food and beverages for Intercontinental Hotels Group. The venture was spurred by the success of several licensed venues in Moscow, including the Vogue Café.

Mr. Newhouse said he hopes to open one or two restaurants in 2011 and as many as five per year after that. The company initially is targeting places like Dubai and Hong Kong and early efforts will focus on licensing Vogue and GQ, which have 17 and 15 international editions, respectively. Other cities being considered include Istanbul and Kiev.

Those following the surprisingly busy restaurant-magazine beat will note this comes not long after Rolling Stone announced its first foodie venture. This summer, the rock mag will open an American restaurant and bar with an upscale, bottle-service nightclub, at the Hollywood and Highland Center (the same center in which a new Hard Rock is launching—let the battle of the cheesy rock memorabilia begin!).

How do we feel about all this? Well, we may not be rushing to the Rolling Stone’s bottle service nightclub to mingle with The Hills set, or hurrying for a large helping of its Red Hot Chilli Peppers (sorry!). And, to be honest, the young and idealistic side of me wishes Condé Nast and Rolling Stone would focus their innovations on editorial.

But, if it brings in more money—note though that Maxim’s Maxim Prime steakhouses didn’t last long in Atlanta—then we suppose that can’t be all so bad.

What is slightly tragic is that as it ventures into restaurants, Condé Nast no longer publishes the one magazine that might have provided an eatery worth queuing for: Gourmet.

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Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.