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Reporter seeks sources on restaurant research

Hello Chowhounds,

I'm wondering how people research where they go out to eat. Do you stick a Zagats in your purse or pocket and go wandering randomly around your neighborhood? Do you research avidly online (which sites?) read certain restaurant critics?

Would love to see whose influential, who's easy to use. etc. Whether anyone makes use of mobile devices? Need to see postings early this week if possible. Will credit Chowhound and author in the story if I'm able to use the commentary.

Many thanks.

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  1. I walk through a neighbourhood that I've not been to. Go in to restaurants, read menus to figure where they're coming from, look at stuff people are eating, maybe grab something to try. It's like a treasure hunt.

    1. Word of mouth mostly. We have a radio show for three hours everyday where people call in and talk about restaurants they have been to in the city. Good source of what is going on and where. This board is a pretty good barometer for what is good. And then as teaandtoast said just wander around and read menus.

      1. i've been a professional in the industry in boston for many years. i either know the folks involved in a project or trust the palate of the guy who sent me.

        i'll admit i've had mixed success with recommendations from my local board. a few places that continue to get raves i thought were very underwhelming. but a few good surprises too, now in my rotation.

        1. I definitely look online. I live in Columbia, MO and use www.midmodiningguide.com. Word of mouth works well too. If I'm walking around a busy area, I always take time to glance at the menus in the windows, for future reference.

          1. Zagats has never been reliable in my experience. Too often their picks are over-hyped and underwhelming. I use Chowhound and a couple local online resources. And word of mouth.