From the very beginning of Eat It and Like It, I knew that I could not (and had no desire to) do restaurant reviews.
It's not good for business. I am more than willing to go around the South, pointing out wonderful food, telling the great stories about the people behind that food. But restaurant reviews? Not a chance!
You'd be surprised at how hard it is to find people willing to put their name on a bad review. Savannah can be a small town, we all know that. Not many people are interested in potential bad juju that can come from saying something negative about a place you frequent.
Online reviews from places like Urbanspoon or Trip Advisor many, many times come from tourists - tourists who read reviews from other tourists and make decisions on where to dine based on that. We've always thought there was room for reviews from locals.
Locals know when there is a new chef. Locals know the new spots and the old reliables. They know changes in management and seasonal fare. With all of that as a backdrop, we created the Eat Squad.
The Eat Squad, very simply, is a group of people who live here in Savannah (and one in Atlanta) who review restaurants all over the area. These passionate foodies have been providing reviews at Eat It and Like It.com for a while now, on average once a week.
But when the good people at the Savannah Morning News expressed an interest in having our reviews published, we took the idea to our panel and they jumped on the opportunity. These are not employees of Eat It and Like It. They were very carefully selected to be a cross-section of our community. They pay for their own meals, they write their own opinions. They've already been here, there and everywhere. Some places you know, others you may not have known about.
The goal here is accountability for our very valuable dining dollar. Those that are doing great things get rewarded. Those that are not? Well, they won't. It's very simple.
Our policy for reviews is also very simple. Every restaurant gets two visits before a review is written. When a member of our Eat Squad visits, they will leave behind a calling card, letting the restaurant know they've been there. The reviews will appear regularly online on our website and every two weeks here in DO.
There are no agendas; there is no method to our madness. Personally, I'd like to see every single review be fantastic, but we all know that isn't going to happen, right? Feathers are going to be ruffled, we understand that. However, if at the end of the day, the bar starts to get raised a little bit, then guess what? We all win.
You can learn more about the Eat Squad, who they are and what they do when they aren't eating right now at eatitandlikeit.com.