I feel that at this point I MUST make a public and official Thank You to the greatest internet idea and my favorite website. YELP. Yelp has changed my life. Our family is better because of Yelp -- and I can't stop from humming the Beatles song every time I say it.
I love to support small business; I don't like chains and corporations. I've known people who struggle to make their small business feed their family. They have an incredible work ethic. Their food/service/product is WAY better than the over-processed chains but in the past, one went to a chain (especially out of town) because it was safe, you knew what you were going to get and you could be reasonably sure that it would be held to a certain standard. We were all very leery to try unknown places for fear of how really awful it could be (and we've all had more than enough really awful experiences). The only way a non-chain could make it is by person to person word of mouth or possibly curb appeal.
Yelp has changed that FOREVER. As we drive, especially on our road trips, we look at the map and decide where our next stop will be on our route. I pull up Yelp on my iPhone (they have a wonderful free user friendly ap with great maps) and then start reading aloud reviews and we decide, as a family, what new restaurant (usually one $, at the most $$) sounds the most interesting. You can decide how much you want to spend as well as the kind of atmosphere and the type of food or experience.
|Warning - you may never go back to Ruby Tuesday Again|
We ate great food our entire trip (this trip west, Atlanta last winter, DC last summer, and Florida the year before). It was local and authentic and nothing we could have ever gotten back home. We now make it a goal to rarely go to a chain-- we do make an exception for local chains: i.e., Portillos in Chicago or In and Out Burger in CA. We even Yelp our activities and places we stay. Our Yelp comrades give us genuinely good advice. I reciprocate as well, after we leave, I give a little run down of the place and our family's opinion.
Yelping has made traveling so much more fun. No longer do we need to guess, we Yelp. Our experiences are so much better, cheaper, and more complete because of Yelp.
THANK YOU YELP!!