The Chowhound debate rages on and on and on
The restaurant industry hasn’t yet seen its own version of Tavi Gevinson, the wunderkind blogger turned authority on giant bow hats, but Maclean’s is reporting on foodies’ next best thing: Chowhound. The forum site and its ilk are getting as much play these days as old-school restaurant critics. “Ontario is in the top 10 boards in terms of busiest on the site,” Chowhound head moderator and Torontonian Jacquilynne Schlesier tells the weekly. There are 63 restaurant boards identified by region, most in the U.S.
The appeal of Chowhound is its open format, though the site has been accused of censoring unfavourable reviews in the past. Restaurateurs are frustrated with Chowhound because they can’t explain themselves if someone writes a bad review, many of which are written during a restaurant’s opening week, when staffers are still fine-tuning everything (the “first!” mentality still reigns supreme on the Internet). It’s ironic that Chowhound’s posting guidelines say that the site is strictly for regular diners and not a place for restaurant-customer interaction, but in our experience, such exchanges can certainly be enlightening.