Compiled by Harold Higgins of the NorCal Unit
Quickly finding local restaurants while on the move in an Airstream can be a frustrating task. Food from the chain restaurants has predictable quality, but boredom sets in after a few meals. Some of the best traveling experiences are found at small restaurants serving genuine regional foods. Sometimes they are cute or quirky. They are just about always a memorable experience.
This page gives you direction to local restaurants by linking to several popular reviewers. Many of the sites have easy to use search functions and maps. It has been my experience that foods recommended by the reviewers are usually the best. Every item on the menu may not meet the same standard.
My criteria includes:
Click on anywhere on the reviewer's blurp to go directly to that site. Enjoy the Airstream life. Have fun.
-- Harold H., WBCCI #1874, Northern California Unit Web Dude
This site directs you to great regional meals along highways, in small towns and city neighborhoods. On the web site they describe it as "non-franchised, sleeves-up food made by cooks, bakers, pitmasters and sandwich-makers who are America's culinary folks artists." I have found the site reliable when I stick to the two or three foods recommended by the reviewer. Always check the date of the review because some are years old and the cook or ownership of the restaurant could have changed since the last review.
Zagat utilizes a sophisticated method of survey to review restaurants. It was acquired by Google in 2011 so it works nicely with Google Maps. Zagat has been around since 1979. The Newhouse Syndicate has called Zagat "the most up-to-date, comprehensive and reliable guides ever published."
This is the big free-for-all of review sites. It is great for checking out a restaurant's reputation. Some of its commentators may be at opposite opinion with what has been written by reviewers from Roadfood or Open Table. It is also good for identifying a place that may have sloppy service, since that appears to me to be the most common comment.
Trip Advisor is similar to Yelp because all the reviewers are self selected. I look for trends where a lot of reviewers have similarly good experiences. It has good map capability.
A great web site for finding restaurants in urban areas, and the close in neighborhoods. Great mapping and locating service. Some popular guides include "unique" places to eat in the city as well as places to avoid.
This is a restaurant on-line reservation site. However, patrons have the ability to weigh-in with their opinions on the restaurants. The site is handy for surveying the high-end restaurants in a location. If you see something you like you can make a table reservation on-line. It includes location maps. It is most useful near larger cities.
This is the web site for Guy Fieri's fun and sometimes wacky visits to America's classic "greasy spoon" restaurants. The web site is very busy and promotional for Guy's show. The link I am providing you here goes straight to the "find a restaurant" part of the Food Network web site that includes most of the Food channel's reviewers.
This is a blog site from fans of Guy Fieri who try to follow up on the restaurants where he has done shows. Sometimes there are raucous opinions expressed about the restaurants. It can be interesting and funny.
Another TV personality, Andrew Zimmern, reviews a lot of unusual foods from both little joints to world-class restaurants. I think of his TV shows as mostly global, but I have found he does a lot of work in the United States. His site is a little harder to use because it does not offer a map. Go to the home page and enter a city in the upper right corner of the page and do a search. It is not very useful in small towns.
Just in case you want to park your Airstream in front of a particular restaurant chain, here are Wikipedia links to just about every eating spot imaginable. Most have a link that takes you to the corporate website where you can determine if it has a local franchise.
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