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Great Ideas: Restaurant Map/Interactive App

I came up with what I think is a pretty great idea earlier in the day, and I really hope it doesn’t already exist– then I’d probably feel a little silly.

While sitting at dinner (at a restaurant I’d never been to before) with friends earlier tonight, it struck me that while there are a ton of great places to eat around the city, I will probably never visit a bunch unless I’ve heard about it from word of mouth or in an advertisement.

Sure, there will always be the super popular ones that are listed in travel books, or have a ton of advertising in magazines, newspapers, and online, but what about the smaller “mom & pop” places- the ones that have great menus but are little more than a hole in the wall you’ve passed by hundreds of times and never thought to go there for dinner?

Since I’ve just started thinking about this “great idea” today, I haven’t done much research yet, but I think it would be pretty cool to have either an interactive phone/tablet app or a printed out wall map listing out the top 10-20 restaurants from different neighborhoods around the city. With either format, you can cross off ones you’ve visited, or in the case of the app version, make notes about what you liked, and if it’s worth visiting again.

The app might be a little more user friendly, as it would be easily accessible on a device most people already carry, but I like the idea of having a map because it reminds me of my Disney days. Back then my roommates and I had maps from each of the parks on a wall in our living room, just so we could mark off attractions and rides we’d been on.

Having that visual reminder of things we could do for free and wanted to experience during our internships helped figure out what to do on those days off work. When we first hung up the maps I thought it’d be a pretty easy task to accomplish, since we were there for over six months, but there were things each of us missed.

With this idea of a map that also serves as kind of a bucket list for foodies, it might help spread the word of some great Mexican or Italian restaurant that has been struggling and help gain them new business. At the same time, the map would help those of us who are a little directionally challenged at times figure out where different things are in the city. For each neighborhood, I envision a landmark or attraction that is pretty recognizable, and then the restaurants worth checking out.

Some initial research (mainly from UrbanSpoon) gave me results of over hundreds of restaurants just in St. Louis City proper (Central West End, Tower Grove, South Grand, Dogtown, The Hill, Downtown, etc.) and I’m sure some of them are fast food places or chains (which I wouldn’t include on the map), so this little project could turn out to be a big pain if it goes anywhere further than my rambling on about it.

I don’t know how much demand there is for something like this, or how well received it would be, but I figure it’s something I can work on a little bit at a time and add to as I try different places to eat around the city. I know websites exist with places listed out and ratings, but to have a comprehensive guide (even if it’s just my personal guide assembled from suggestions of friends) would really help solve the dilemma of choosing a place to eat where you haven’t been a million times before.

Maybe this idea is just a waste of time, but what do you think? Does anyone else think something like this could come in handy?

I’m going to consider this my new pet project and am open to suggestions of places to check out or add to the map/list. Also, if you know of a map like the one I’ve described that already exists for St. Louis, please let me know. 🙂

Responses (3)

  1. […] my reasoning for using this handy program is to track places I’ve eaten, so I can add them to my restaurant mapping guide I mentioned a while back. So far, I’ve visited a few places, but have mostly put off further […]

  2. […] My “great restaurant mapping” idea has kind of been pushed to the back burner, so I’m revisiting that project and plan to make it more than a half-finished spreadsheet without any data. […]

  3. […] you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may recall me mentioning an idea I had last summer that consisted of creating a map of restaurants in St. Louis by […]

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