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Sep 14, 2011 06:34 AM


I am about to take a long driving trip and I had an idea. I don't know if you can pull this off, but you might be able to by hooking up with a map site.

Say I wanted to go from Ann Arbor to Blacksburg by car. I would usually get on Mapquest or Google and map it out. They would give me a turn by turn direction sheet and off we go. What if I could click on a button and the map is also populated with cool and esoteric food places that are must visits for Chowhounds? Most of the food options are the maps are fast food chain places that advertise with the map site, so that uisually isn't what I am looking for,

Similarly, you can do a separate database of food places in airports or close to airports. It gives those of us with long layovers a place to go.

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  1. An excellent idea, I often drive to Montreal from New Jersey and even asked for dining recommendations on the way there but either I posted at the wrong time or there's not much chow worthy along the route because I received few replies. I was able to find some leads on my Yelp app but as much as I like the user friendly ease of yelp, I tend to trust CH reviews more especially if a tangent food destination is not worth the time and fuel.
    I suspect that such a feature would be a programmers nightmare and cost more that CH is prepared to spend but still and good idea.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Duppie

      I assume the GPS coordinates are already in the database so it is a doable thing to put together a mobile app to do what you describe. Clicking on the map item could launch the CH review. However, the review limitations noted by other responders would still be an issue. My last road trip, I used my iPad to search regional boards but you need a driver to make that work.

      1. re: tcamp

        Like rworange I would be satisfied with a working and user friendly CH smart phone app....

    2. The food scene is such a moving target, doubly so for out of the way places on a long road trip. I just think that a static map with links to past reviews would be very chancy when it came to finding good eats (don't sue me for using the phrase Alton!) along the way. Given the low use of the "this is a specific restaurant review" button here on CH any attempt to get hounds to link on to a mapping database is also probably pretty remote. Unfortunately (or may fortunately - depending on how you look at it) the strength of Chowhound as a site is in the "up to minute" specific food/restaurant knowledge that gets imparted here by the "hound on the ground."

      1 Reply
      1. re: Servorg

        Also, people would have to assign stars to reviews, and the people who do that most on Chowhound are usually clueless tourists and, well, shills. The quick review section is even worse than Citysearch. The latter bothers me the most because then people think Chowhounds are unreliable.

        That being said, I use the yelp maps often to see what's in the area. I found a great little sandwich shop that way that I never would have otherwise uncovered ... seriously ... it is in a grocery/bait shop that has housed a number of unsucessful delis in the past. Based on past experience, even though knew there was a deli in the store, I never would have bothered to revisit.

        So besides wishing there was a smart phone app, period ... I wish the feature to follow a road and see what is nearby worked on Chow.

      2. this has been one of my hopes for chowhound for years. but it hasnt borne fruit yet. A key issue to achieve a good travel resource is getting people to input data on the restaurants they discuss on the Chowhound boards into the Restaurant pages database. It doesnt have to be through the "Report on individual restaurant" feature" to come up on a map,

        But Chowhound will not generate a map reference unless the name and address of the restaurant are input. If you go over to the Restaurant page, input an address, or town name on your route and then click on the name of one of the restaruants that appear, a map which can be manipulated and searched will appear. If you click on first the find nearby restaruants and then the search in map feature, you can enlarge, and move around in the map to find restaurants on your route. The only really annoying issue is that if you re-center, and then click on a restaruant, you cant go "back" to the list generated

        Another way to enhance this approach would be for people to tag posts of travel destinations with Interstate Hway numbers. That way, people travelling say through the territory of the PA Board or Midwest on 1-80 could search for this tag on the PA Board restaurant page and get a map/list of restaruants with links to the relevant discussions, But this would require concerted action of the Board participants to get their restaurants up there on Restaurants and add the relevant tags.

        None of this works at all on my bbery, however..

        3 Replies
        1. re: jen kalb

          You have had a lot more patience than I had correctly inputting the exact locations of restaurants. I was just happy when they took, period.

          So, you have more patience than I did with that map. It always screws up and sends me to yelp where the follow feature works.

          Nice idea of including significant routes in reports and the restuarnat record. I'll do that from now on. Hopefully some sort of search will work someday and it will be useful.

          1. re: rworange

            There were some books published a few years ago in the East that suggested restaurants along the interstates, exit by exit, some pretty good places. Actually, the interstate and exit no. would be the most useful info for folks to add to their entries along travel routes.. I have not been good about reporting on my travels between NY and Ohio. so I will try to fill some of that infosomehow. Chowhound being what it is, I would settle for knowing more easily what chowhound-worth spots are along my routes and being able to easily access the discussion links - its easy enuf to use another resource to guide me to the precise destination once I am in the ballpark using gps and bbery.

            1. re: jen kalb

              What I do sometimes when I have too much time on my hands is to include significant chowhound reports in the "reviews around the web" section. I almost always includ my own report there. Its not perfect, but helps sometimes.

        2. Would be interesting to see if chow could work a deal with (groundspeak) to have a or something like that with categories for different types of food / experiences.....