Post #1000

On June 3rd 2007, out of frustration with poor dining options, I wrote the very first post on Eat Salem. I was inspired by a dinner at India Palace. Read about it here, scroll down to read the first review. It was fun, a learning experience and a beginning. I never thought about where this blog would be in four years.

Now in 2011, the restaurant scene in Salem is much better. Look around, we have good/great restaurants all over town. It's not an easy place to be in the restaurant business with competition from chains and furloughed state workers having less money in their pockets. It seems like the good ones are thriving and that's great.

It was always my hope that an honest public discussion about Salem restaurants would have a positive effect on the community. Eat Salem was created to be a space where these discussions could happen. Yeah, I know there are sites like Yelp and Urban Spoon but we are like the local store managed and written by your friends and neighbors. All of the money generated from the local ads on the site pay for people to write reviews which in turn ends up in the pockets of Salem restaurants.

As the years have gone by, Eat Salem has grown in the number of readers visiting the site. This last week it averaged almost 700 unique visitors daily. Close to 90% of these visitors are from Oregon or Washington. With an audience like that, I have wondered if this site has had an effect on the dining scene in town. What do you think? Has information on this site guided your dining experience? Have you discovered more restaurants through the reviews of our contributors?

18 comments:

KandN said...

Your blog DEFINITELY had an effect on N's and my dining. Pre-eatsalem, we ate at 2-4 area restaurants on a regular basis. (Thankfully, only one of that small group belongs to a chain.)
What a rut! Now when we choose, our list of tasty candidates is long.

Anonymous said...

I have def noticed more customers because of he blog. Thanks for doing what you do, and keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

Where are those tacos from in your picture mid-post? They look really good.

KandN said...

Anon, Salem Man will probably be on later to tell me if I'm right, though I'm pretty sure they're from one of his visits to Salvador's Bakery.

Salem Man said...

Yup, Salvador's. I'm trying to guess what the 2-4 pre Eat Salem restaurants were. 1. Marco Polo 2. Applebee's(the chain) 3. Thompson's 4. Amadeus

Rebekah said...

Definitely! I'm much more focused on supporting local dining options whenever possible.

KandN said...

:>) Close . . .
Okay, here goes:
La Hacienda
Grand China
Marco Polo
Thompson's
(Oops, and)Sassy Onion.

Anonymous said...

This site, which I've been reading since 2007, is a wealth of wonderful information. Hours, locations, openings/closings, specials and deals.. so much is here at our fingertips, even for restaurants that dont have their own website to inform us. This blog often reports updates before even our local paper does. Reading other's experiences is invaluable... it's had us trying a restaurant here or there that we otherwise never would have. Often with wonderful results. We've branched out a lot over the years, and now friends and family ask for my recommendations when looking for a new spot. 

Salem's food scene has improved greatly and I dont think that this site has nothing to do with that. I love the Restaurant of the Year poll... you guys know how opposed I am to the Statesman's Best of the Mid-Valley, because its so lopsided, untrue and easy to rig (for people willing to put in the time *coughOrchardHeights*) and it absolutely makes my blood boil. I refuse to participate in a poll that produces such incorrect results. The winners of this blog's polls, however: that's the real deal. One vote from each person. People who actually eat out at restaurants, spend their own money, not an advertising stint, not multiple votes from staff or friends of the owners.

Love this community and all the great contributors.

-guitar4me

KandN said...

Guitar4me, I'm still hoping you'll join our growing list of contributors. :) Drop us a line: salemrestaurantreview@gmail.com

lavachickie said...

I've direct people to EatSalem.com many times, and I know many of those became dedicated readers. Some have come back to discuss local issues, stating that this blog helped them realize (they "knew" but "never really thought about it") how difficult the restaurant business is, how they can help support it, and what it means to their own health and that of their community (fiscal and physical) when they do support local, sustainable, eateries.

Yes, EatSalem.com matters!

Thank you Gino, and everyone else who has worked to make it happen.

gstatty said...

I would say that eatsalem has definitely informed my decision-making process about going out to eat in Salem. I check the site once a day when at work. I know I wouldn't have discovered favorites like Word of Mouth cafe, Jonathan's, Andaluz, Smile BBQ or a lot of the other restaurants featured in the reader/contributor reviews. I used to think of Salem--when I first moved to the area--as sort of a culinary sinkhole with a lack of quality choices for different kinds of cuisine. After coming to this site over the years it seems like Salem restaurants are in a much better position than they used to be and there are more options for different kinds of food. The passion for good food is definitely here. It probably already was, but I think that this community and website specifically has really fostered support for local restaurants that provide unique food outside of the run-of-the-mill restaurant chains.

Chuck Bradley said...

I'm not even going to try to follow guitar4me's excellent post. He pretty much said it all. I stop in at eatsalem at least daily. I will say I enjoy the actual reviews and the resultant reader comments. It's interesting to know what real people thought during actual restaurant experiences. Judging from the ebb and flow of reader comment volume, it looks like I'm not alone in this.

Les said...

I know it has really helped me realize that there are a lot more places to eat than I had ever thought.. I grew up (1960's) in the restaurant business, in Albany, so know how important word of mouth can be to the small non-chain locations.. Have found several places to get yakitori that I have really enjoyed.. Kind of a funny side note, back some years ago, the Brooks Market used to cook their Yakatori, "made-to-order"..was always really good, hot, and fresh..but eventually changed over the more traditional quick-mart method, of premade in the glass case.. Oh Well.... Also, it's been fun to post some of my own comments, on restaurants I have tried..

Chuck Bradley said...

OK Les. I'm cryin' foul here! You can't set the hook like that, then not tell us the names of the places where you've found enjoyable Yakitori. It's just not right! ;~D

Les said...

Chuck..I have tried several places but, so far, the one that stands out too me has been Teriyaki Bento To Go on Cherry Ave.. Have had both the chicken and beef, and of the two, my favorite was the beef..but, just by a little.. Have been waiting for a chance to stop in again..

Chuck Bradley said...

Thanks Les. I'll try it. I've had their Udon Chicken and it was delicious.

Amecameca said...

Eat Salem has made a good contribution to upgrading the Salem food culture overall. That being said, you are still a little biased toward mainstream, dominant-culture food. For me the most interesting food in Salem is in the places that cater to our large Latino minority population (think Los Temos, Plaza Morelia, La Concentida, El Pollo Feliz, taco trucks around town). The second most interesting food is in out-of-the-way blue collar places that a lot of people drive by and never try (think Josey's, Off Center Cafe). For these places you have to go to Urbanspoon or Yelp. You could improve your site by being a little more willing to risk a visit to these non-mainstream places.

Anonymous said...

I think it's made a huge impact. Before stumbling on this blog I just ate at whatever food chain was convenient. In the two years I've been coming here I have, not only been enjoying far better food, I've also been supporting far more locally owned restaurants. I even recommend the site constantly to business partners travelling here on from other states.