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?