Last week, I explained why rfave is invaluable for people who are traveling or who are new to town. Here are three ways rfave is useful even if you already know your town really well:
- “Once in a while” services. You’ve lived in your town for a while, and you know a good doctor, dentist, etc. But every once in a while, you need a new professional in your life. Maybe your water heater conks and you need a good HVAC installer. Maybe you’re about to have a kid and need to find a pediatrician. Or the SATs are coming up and you’d like to give your teen some test prep. You could close your eyes and point at a listing in the phone book, you could ask all your friends for suggestions, or you can just come to rfave and see what’s recommended near you, for you.
- “I don’t get out there very often.” Salt Lake City has lots of outlying suburbs that I’m unfamiliar with. Mainly, those suburbs are full of chain stores or dodgy-looking teriyaki joints, which is why I remain unfamiliar with them. But I’m totally going to try the Philadelphian’s cheesesteak, because I just logged on to rfave and saw it recommended there. None of my friends have ever mentioned this place. I follow a bunch of foodie blogs here, and I haven’t heard of it. Thanks, rfave, for the tip!
- “Where should we go?” “I dunno. Where do you want to go?” We’ve all been there. You want to go out to eat, but you’re in a rut. You always haunt the same four or five restaurants, but when you try to think of another place to go, you can’t. This happened to us two weeks ago. It was late on a Friday afternoon, we were hungry, and starting to get that glazed look that leads straight to Rut-town. Then I looked at rfave, saw that a friend had recommended Red Rock Brewery, and I realized it was the perfect break from our regular choices. And rfave really shines here, because it only offers you a few options off the top. You’re not seeing every single brewpub or every single Thai joint in your city. You’re just seeing the best ones for you. When you’re tired and hungry on a Friday night, that really helps you make a choice—and you know it’ll be a good choice!
- The new place. You might be dialed in to the scene in your town, but maybe there’s a new place you haven’t heard about yet. Rfave is a good way to learn about those new places. We plan to implement email messages that alert you when folks who are similar to you start raving about a new place. For now, you’ll just have to check in on the site every so often.
If you mean “local recommendations,” then yes, Yelp already does this. Yelp has lots and lots of local recommendations.
But are they useful local recommendations? Well, let’s take hamburgers as our example. When I searched Yelp for the best hamburger in Salt Lake City, Iceberg Drive Inn was one of the top results.
For the non-SLC-based crowd, let me tell you about Iceberg. At the Iceberg, you’re going to get a pre-formed patty, shredded iceberg lettuce and a pallid tomato. It’s cheap, tasteless, and if you’re 16, yes, that probably is one of the best hamburgers in Salt Lake.
In my opinion, the best burger in Salt Lake City is at a bar called Fiddler’s Elbow. There, the burger is hand-formed, full of garlic, beefy, juicy and delicious.
Fiddler’s Elbow is #55 on Yelp’s list.
To me, a local, this isn’t a big deal. I already have an idea of what’s good in SLC, so if Yelp’s listings are a little off, it’s no big deal.
But to a newcomer or an out-of-towner, it’s a very big deal. If you’re looking for a good burger and end up with something you could’ve bought at Mickey D’s, that’s a very bad experience.
Of course, if you’re an out-of-towner, you could wade through all the reviews for all the restaurants Yelp lists, try to determine whether you can trust a reviewer named “Steve S.” more than the grumpy “Jasmine B.,” and make your pick from there. I’ve done that. It took me half an hour. And I still wasn’t sure if I’d made the right pick.
So yes, Yelp already does local recommendations. It tells you every single place you could possibly get a hamburger in Salt Lake.
Rfave just gives you the ones you need.
Bonus question: Why is rfave useful to me in my hometown, since I already know my favorite things here?
We’ll answer that question next week.