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Do we want to conduct a NJ top restaurant poll on this board?

There have been a couple of informal polls on this NJ board in the past with different levels of participation, but not too much structure. For example, see:
- Early 2009: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/588676
- Spring 2010: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/704018

Take a look at what they’ve been doing annually on the Los Angeles board for the last nine years. I like the way they quantify the results and come up with a final list for the year in ranked order. If there’s a good level of interest in doing something similar for NJ, I’d be willing to run it for 2010.

Here’s the link to the LA survey for 2010: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/747594

Here are the links to the LA results in 2009:
- Part 1: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/673604
- Part 2: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/673605

I think one of the key questions for us is whether one state-wide NJ poll would work well, or would we need to break it up into two polls by north/south NJ, or even three polls by north/central/south NJ?

What do you think? Would it be useful? Would you participate?

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  1. If a restaurant piques my interest, I would give it a try. I do not need the recommendation of others to tell me where to go, There's already plenty of information out there for me to make an informed decision on both old and new places, rather than read a poll on a popularity contest for a biased view, or worse yet, a vote from someone who has never been to a place s/he is recommending....but wants to appear hip, cool or knowledgeable and participates for the sake of being printed.

    Would the poll be beneficial....of course it would. Anytime you can be informed on a place that you did not know about previously, it is a positive.....the problem with the New Jersey Board is if you make a recommendation or give your opinion......there are a few posters who will disagree with your opinion, just for the sake of trying to make themselves seem more important. With that attitude, what's the point of wasting your efforts.

    1. I think it's a great idea. In New Jersey, the coverage isn't as good as it is in NYC. Here, with any "Top 10" list there is a risk that is based on solely reputation or, worse, that the restaurants are paid sponsors. I'd participate too.

      1. Wouldn't mean much to me. Feels like an LA thing to do. Plus they confine it to just one county. One big county, yes. Like Jacksonville or Miami is one big county. NJ consists of a string of neighborhoods and townships. Very few cities, in the sense that LA is a city.

        1 Reply
        1. re: GraydonCarter

          The recent revision for NJ CH's or those looking for dining experiences in NJ by searching one state Board, no longer divided by any mapping lines, pulls the best of CH posts together in one spot. The whole point for not dividing this small but highly dense state was ease of use.

          Polling on the other hand will drive the most prudent comment forward and exclude great spots that may have lost their voice by now. Polls tend to be very limited and expire quickly. $-$$$ is a whole 'nother story.

        2. Yes - I think it would be of value and I would participate.

          1. Dividing it would be problematic as there is little agreement as to what constitutes north/central/south NJ. I myself consider anyplace north of Rt. 78 to be north, and anyplace south of Rt 195 to be South. Let the games begin! :-)

            10 Replies
            1. re: equal_Mark

              Nah, too many interpretations of "top". Better to just report on a restaurant that you like, and let the comments flow.

              Secondly, this board for unknown reasons, has a concentration of posts from Newark and south. Bergen County is way under represented. (Largest county in the State).

              1. re: menton1

                I suspect this has something to do with the number of posters from the Bergen County area vs the rest of the state.

                1. re: tommy

                  Sure. Why not? What's the worst thing that could happen? We can all disagree :)

                  1. re: bgut1

                    But maybe we can agree to disagree .... !! I love reading about OP opinions - everyone's got one - if you don't want to read - then pass this by - but I value that others might introduce me to a place unknown to me. Yes, the problem that frustrates me is when people put in their two cents without possibly giving us the full story - such as -- wellllll - i heard about this but haven't tried it ----- or yes, I was there 6 years ago!
                    I agree with Seal - I'll play too! AND - might I add - I border on Bergen - I'm in Rockland - but always willing to travel!

                  2. re: tommy

                    Interpretation of the word "top" can be inane...

                    1. re: menton1

                      and, a poll is only indicative of the respondents.

                      1. re: HillJ

                        We could specify that only recommendations by those who don't respond will be considered...

                        1. re: seal

                          seal, I already trust your reviews :)
                          I don't need a poll of CH's to know which align with mine.

                2. I won't bah humbug it, and I'll probably participate if it gets off the ground, but I think it's unnecessary. 1) The regulars here already know the food scene in their own particular nooks of Jersey pretty well, and new discussions spring up pretty easily. 2) Part of the fun of this board when we're heading to another area of the state or a newbie signs on is tossing out a question and watching those in the know take it and run with it. 3) Polls are static - this board is not (nor is the Jersey restaurant scene). Why try to quantify something that can't be quantified?

                  All that said, I guess it could be an interesting exercise.

                  1. I'm hesitant. I'm not sure we need yet another tread extolling the charms of Elements,The Frog and The Peach,Nicholas,Varka et al.
                    New Jersey has many good restaurants but IMHO so few great ones so as to warrant yet another heated debate of why I shouldn't just hop on the Turnpike and head into Manhattan.
                    Sacrilege to some Jersey residents and really not conducive to a fun discussion but reality never the less.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Duppie

                      "New Jersey has many good restaurants but IMHO so few great ones so as to warrant yet another heated debate of why I shouldn't just hop on the Turnpike and head into Manhattan.
                      Sacrilege to some Jersey residents and really not conducive to a fun discussion but reality never the less."
                      Duppie - That is a thread discussion in itself. BTW, I care to disagree with you.

                      1. re: bgut1

                        Respectfully... I knew you would. and again that's what makes for a lively debate. I'm just not sure if it's warranted once again.
                        Perhaps because I lived and work in Manhattan and was also in the industry, there was always the question in the back of my mind when reading those types of treads of why stress? you can conceivably have your choice of world class restaurants just by buying a train ticket or getting in the car. I am reminded of the BMW commercial that said everyone pro-ports that their product accelerates just like or handles just like or looks just like..... a BMW..... but it just aint.

                    2. Since just the idea of doing a poll has generated so much heat, imagine how much fun we will have doing the actual poll?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: DinnerChick11

                        The Mods are heating up their Espresso machines,grabbing their snugglies and cracking their knuckles just waiting for the games to begin.

                        1. re: DinnerChick11

                          I participated last time and when the poll went cold I really didn't see the point. We review individual places on this board all the time. And the CH search engine retrieves group reviews horribly and indiv. posts much better. When was the last time anyone looked at the past polls highlighted in the OP. Overall participation was very low compared to the number of CH posting here daily.

                        2. I like the idea. PLEASE include South Jersey as Chowhound feedback would help me from heading for Philadelphia whenever possible.

                          1. Why is there a discussion about this in the first place? It's an open forum, no? Someone could just post it and we can play along or not. From the looks of the above back-and-forth (and some bickering), it should be a lively Best-Of thread, or it could run out of gas like so many others.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: aklein

                              Well put aklein - let us simply let the games begin ...

                              1. re: JerzeyShore

                                lol, then why ask if we should discuss, discussing. A poll on polling :)
                                it was silly.

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  I call for a poll on that... whether it was silly or not, that is.

                            2. What does "Top" mean? Price? Value? Quality? Altitude?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: equal_Mark

                                And what categories? BYOB, Fine Dining, Pizza, Italian, Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Diners, Bakeries, Farm Stands ... ?

                                1. re: Heatherb

                                  ......incinerated hot dogs,pork roll breakfast sandwich joints,Brazilian rodizios, buffets.....

                              2. Well, at least the idea sparked interest and opinions! I'll launch it tomorrow. I'm looking forward to hopefully learning about about some great places that fly below the "usual suspects" radar ... including those in Bergen County and southern NJ that are outside my stomping ground.

                                For the most part, I intend to replicate the structure and guidance that the LA poll used. Lets' see how it works for us, and we can always adapt it in the future. And, keeping that in mind, here are my thoughts on some of the questions and issues raised above:

                                - The input and results of the poll itself will be based solely on the votes submitted, and therefore should be comment-free for the most part. Every place that receives a vote will have a spot on the results list. Let the debate rage after the poll finishes.
                                - This may be a distinction without a difference for some, but the idea is not to have a popularity contest, but to get a list of chow-worthy places that you'd be willing to recommend to a chowhound friend or visiting chowhound from out of state.
                                - It is, of course, a snapshot in time. One of the things I like about the LA poll (with its eight years of history) is that you can see how the food scene has evolved over that time.
                                - We'll make it state-wide.
                                - Two categories will be used to gather votes: "over $25" and "$25 and under." This is for the cost of food only (no drinks, no tax, no tips), for a typical dinner.
                                - All food serving establishments and cuisines are eligible, including: diners, BYO, chains, pizza joints, Wawa, food trucks, etc.

                                I hope you'll all participate.