Urbanspoon and Yelp

 

We’ve been eating out a lot while snow birding.

To choose a place we use a variety of sources. Usually we pick up the local free magazine and look at the ads. We will also search web sites to pick up recommendations and look at menus.  We also rely on the reviews written by customers. They might tell you what dishes to order and which to avoid. You get a sense of the price range and helpful tips like when is the best time to go and where to park.urbanspoon-1

While in Sarasota I spent a whole evening reviewing the restaurants we had visited. We almost always have good experiences but we are fairly easy to please as we don’t have many diet restrictions. We are not vegetarians or vegans. We don’t need gluten free food. We don’t avoid foods like cheese or tomatoes or nuts. Put it in front of us and we’ll eat it. Given a choice Dave would not pick beets, asparagus, or salmon and I would not pick eggplant, snails, and okra. But both of us would eat them if we had to.

Here in Athens Georgia, we’ve had a lot of good food. We found Grit, a vegetarian restaurant nearby,  and we’ve gone there twice. It had lots of good reviews on Yelp. Customers said to order the Golden Bowl which had tofu and lots of vegetables.

Last night we wanted to be carnivores so we looked for BBQ. Dave found Harry’s Pig Shop. It was the best BBQ we’ve had since we left Little Rock. I had a “gasp” hot dog wrapped in bacon and fried then smothered in slaw and baked beans. I thought I was in heaven.

But Friday night we finally had a disaster. We read about a pizza place that had good reviews. It was nearby. Now Friday nights are always busy so we expected to wait. We had to park up the road because there was a tiny parking lot and it was full. We got a big table right away, but both the table and benches were sopping wet and the wait person had to dry them off. They were out of the beer special (it was about 6:30pm so still relatively early in the evening). We settled on our pizza. Our waitress said it would be about 25 minutes.

We waited. 20, 30, 40 minutes went by.

Several times we were told that “It shouldn’t be long now,” or “Just a few more minutes.” After an hour, we finally got the manager to our table. He said one of the ovens was broken and it would be another 10-12 minutes.

We walked out.

My review went up on Urbanspoon.

Restaurant owners and managers read these, of course. It is a problem for them when they get a bad review because they can’t get rid of it. All they can do is ignore it or respond.

But customers have to be wary of reviews. Some of them can be written by the owner or their friends.  If you really care, beware. As with buying a car or a computer, it’s best to check multiple sources.  But, in the end, a purchase always is a leap of faith.