Life Outside the Food Internet

If you’re reading this post you probably got here via Twitter. If you follow me on Twitter, it’s more than likely because you’re interested in Chicago-related restaurant discussion. We’re fortunate here in Chicago to have a vibrant community of smart and engaged folks who love to chat about food on Twitter, and the result is that there’s a ton of information constantly streaming about the local restaurant scene.

But I think what we forget sometimes, or maybe it’s just hard to quantify, is that there is another (probably larger) part of the population that is completely removed from this discussion. Believe it or not, there are actually people out there who are capable to going to a restaurant and not dissecting it on social media, or posting #tons of #pictures of their #food on #Instagram.

This occurs to me every so often when I find myself at an otherwise very good and very busy restaurant that no one I know ever talks about. It happened this past weekend at Taxim. Taxim got a bunch of buzz when they first opened in 2009, but hardly anyone on Food Twitter ever really talks about it anymore. The last LTH Forum mention was almost a year ago. The place does have about 260 Yelp reviews which, for a 5 year old restaurant, breaks down to only about 1 review a week. And yet my meal there this weekend was fantastic. One of my most enjoyable of probably the last six months. Most interestingly, the place was packed. Who are these people?

I’m sure there are many other examples of this around town. Coco Pazzo (245 Yelp reviews, open since 1992) is another that I can think of off the top of my head. That place is usually busy, the food is always good, and nobody I know goes there (or if they do they don’t talk about it). Porkchop has become a joke among a few of us for being the perfect representation of restaurants in this category. I mean, who ever goes to Porkchop? Well, apparently enough people for them to be opening two other locations. In fact, they have 20 more Yelp reviews than Taxim and they’ve only been open since 2011.

I’m not sure what the point of all of this is other than it’s a good reminder to not ignore restaurants just because they don’t happen to be the flavor of the month. Or if they don’t come up on people’s lists of recommendations, year-end lists, or lists of 18 places to get a wonut. A good restaurant is a good restaurant, and those of us who tend to obsess over this stuff are more likely to be the exception than the norm.


 

Just for reference, here are the top ten most reviewed Chicago restaurants on Yelp. Not a bad list, actually.

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