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The Problem with "Top in FLA" Threads

Why are there so many threads for top restaurants in Florida?

I suspect most readers, like me, when looking for top or best threads, are interested in finding the top or best restaurants within our local region (i.e., places that can be reached by car in 2 hours or less). Very few would be willing to drive the 5+ hours from Jacksonville to Miami just to dine at the best xxx restaurant in Florida.

Might I suggest that the regions covered in threads be narrowed down a little bit? "Best Chinese restaurant in Orlando" is so much more useful than "Best Chinese restaurant in Florida."

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  1. I drove from Stuart Florida to Miami just for dinner and once drove to another state to have dinner.

    1. There are many examples of both state-wide and regional or city-wide "best" lists, which some time ago I compiled here ->

      Unofficial Compilation of "Best" / "Top" Lists

      I find that they each have their virtues.


      1 Reply
      1. true i wont be driving to miami any time soon or jax

        1. all 'best' threads are subjective anyway! But I agree Florida is the size of England pretty much so it's not really possible to say what's best because it's more than highly unlikely that anybody has eaten in every single restaurant in one state or country.

          1. I think that both types of lists have their merits. As a Floridian, I tend to travel quite a bit in Florida so it's nice to have those places to go. however, I would agree that best in a geographic area are more useful. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the posts where someone does NOT name a geographic area in the subject line do not get too many replies. I sometimes can't be bothered to open it,since I don't know if it's in my specific area.

            1. I agree, this state is just too big to have a best of that is state wide. I am not driving 2 hours, let alone 1 hour, to eat out even if it is the best. Economically, it just isn't worth it.

              Even the southeast, southwest, etc. divided up in quadrants or more would be be best suited for this board.

              1. So many people do not realize that from Pensacola to South Miami is almost 1000 miles. So I agree that the "Best in the State" is a bit of a stretch. There is such a difference between the north and the south sides of the state. I do travel for food, but keep distance in mind when looking for dinner or a killer brunch. I do have to drive home or back to the hotel as the case may be.

                1. I think most of the "Top/Best in Florida" threads are started by people from Miami and elsewhere around Dade/Broward/Palm Beach, and they only want to hear recommendations from Miami and South Florida. My experience growing up down there is that people think everything revolves around them, and civilization stops north of West Palm Beach (aside from the occasional trip to Disney World).


                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                    As long as there is still Spring Training there we acknowledge Jupiter. Man that Pujols can hit.
                    When I was a kid, my family (Michigan) went on a three-week tour of the state. This was pre-internet, and we had no idea what was what from town to town. I think these threads are good primers for those who do tend to move around. Of course, Florida is a big state, with much to see. If someone from Tallahasse wants to do something in Naples, and wanted to know what is great along the way, they might get some good suggestions just by looking first.

                    1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                      I live in Miami, Voodoo Lou, and you have an excellent point!

                      1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                        You mean there really is civilization up there?


                        The root of this issue is that chowhound should have our board separated. Having one board for FLA is not the best nor is it efficient... either split it into South/Central/North or South/The Rest...

                        I motion...

                        1. re: dmo305

                          I motion we split it into counties! JK. Although even south Fl is a mighty large area and when people post on best ........... in south Fl they usually mean Miami. Miami to N WPB is about 100 miles and west of Ft Lauderdale goes a long way these days.

                        2. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                          The Miami-centric nature of the boards (and those from Miami) can be a problem. My complaint is that folks from Miami often post questions and updates without specifying Miami in the title of the thread, So there's an awful lot of stuff that I end up clicking on that is about Miami. Truth be told, it would be great if Miami had its own board. That would save the rest of us from a lot of unnecessary reading and clicking. You listening chowhound?

                          1. re: andy huse

                            I so agree. I find it incredibly frusterating when the city is not mentioned in the title. I live on the Treasure Coast (Fort Pierce) and while I will absolutely drive out of my way for a good meal, I cannot take the time to look at every thread to figure out where the writer is mentioning. It is one of my few gripes about this great board.

                        3. I agree. I would like it if those lists were divided into North, Central, and South Florida. Very few people (even Chowhounds) drive two hours, let alone to another state, to have dinner (unless on vacation, of course).

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: starbucksbrew

                            We will very often drive well over an hour for good chow- we are in Central FL. We did it when we lived in NJ as well, everything is a drive... Was easier to do before we had dogs, but we will still plan our day accordingly!

                            I love to cruise the lists in the event we are visiting or looking for adventure. I speak to people from all over the state and I've actually asked about places I've seen mentioned here.

                            1. re: Boccone Dolce

                              I am all over the state, all the time. I would definitely prefer to keep the board together. It would be a complete hassle to have to read a different board for each section of the state. It would be helpful if people indicated what cities they are posting about but usually it is easy enough to figure out anyway. I agree that there are challenges to compiling "Top in Florida" threads but that doesn't seem to me to be a reason to divide the board according to region.

                          2. I wouldn't count on there being a separate "Miami" board or separate regional Florida boards any time soon. Consider that the "Southwest" board includes AZ, NM, UT, WY, CO and NV and be thankful we're not lumped into the "South" group that includes VA, WV, NC, SC, GA, MS, AL, AR, LA, KY and TN. Though maybe everything north of Palm Beach could lobby to be included in the "South" board, as that seems to be about where the "South" ends and "South Florida" (a different critter entirely) begins.

                            Incidentally, it is just as inconvenient for those looking for information on South Florida to have to filter through geographically unidentified threads on other parts of the state as vice versa. It's simply good protocol to be specific in the post title as to where in the state you're talking about.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Frodnesor

                              completely agree with you, most irritating to open a thread entitled Bachelorette Party Recs to find it is in Tallahasee, or not bothering to open a thread because the title is ambiguous and miss the chance to be helpful.
                              I also think N of Palm Beach County could really be part of the South and have South Fl as it's own board. Or maybe a board could be called Orlando and Southern Fl then Naples/Sarasota and the Keys etc would all be included in one board.

                            2. I am honored that you took the time to create a new thread about my TOP FLA threads. Not sure I am in agreement that the threads are a problem. The threads were designed for those of us Floridians who do travel the state, and for the tens of thousands of tourists who do likewise. However, the number one reason I designed these threads was to build a sense of community throughout the large geography that is the Sunshine State aka the "Florida Board". I have had great dialog with many chowhounds from Orlando to Tampa, up and down the Gold Coast and all the way down the Keys...One in particular I would like to mention was the late great Bob Mervine (RIP). His knowledge, as is many on this board, goes way beyond their present place of residence.

                              Should one mention where their favorite "Top FLA" post is located, absolutely! It is common courtesy to do so. Have I been guilty of not doing so, absolutely!

                              The fact is, these threads are the ULTIMATE AUTHORITY worldwide on their respective cuisines here in the great state of FLA.

                              Feel free to start your own local edition, after all it is Independence Day! :-)

                              1. I just realized that the subtitle to our Florida board is Miami, South Beach and Jacksonville which is a very odd delineation of the state. Perhaps it could say South Fl, Orlando and N Florida. Just a thought. I am not sure why it has to say Miami and South Beach which is in Miami anyway.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: smartie

                                  Well, actually, South Beach is *not* Miami (it's Miami Beach, which is a different municipality) but your point is well taken - that subtitle is pretty goofy).

                                2. This is all the more reason for CHOW to fix the problems and institute more features and the ability to filter information from posts. I want area codes for posts and type of restaurants.
                                  You can also ignore posts that are too general or ask the same ol' same ol', without searching.