Traditionally, when people searched for a new restaurant, they bought a copy of Zagat’s or some other fancy food guide. But in just a few short years, online maps have come a long way and now also offer local information on businesses, shops, and restaurants. Sites like Google Maps allow users to create their own maps of favorite establishments that they can save or share with friends and family. There are hundreds of food maps online, although a few noteworthy ideas have risen to the top.
On the west coast, what could be better than eating an authentic Mexican taco from a truck? With generous portions, tons of options, and Mom’s homemade guacamole, you can’t go wrong. You just can’t get that level of deliciousness in a restaurant, Californians say. However, these trucks can be difficult to locate, especially if you are out of town. Thus Yumtacos was born.
Creator Joshua Lurie-Terrell from Sacramento, California said that he had been keeping a list of the best taco trucks for quite some time. “As soon as my friends found out I had this list, people called me all the time,” he admits. From there, transferring the data to a Google map was no problem. Once the site was up, people were able to add their own taco truck sightings. Yum Tacos is primarily focused on California, though authentic Mexican taco trucks have been drawn from as far away as Baltimore, Maryland.
Another site, Chinesefoodmap, is based on mapping the locations of Chinese restaurants for Chinese immigrants. Web users will also have access to reviews, menus, driving directions, and other local information. Creator Brian Hui first created this Chinese-only site and focused on Chinese food establishments in Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay. However, the site has grown across the country to metropolitan areas such as Houston, Seattle, and Atlanta, and inevitably an English version appeared as well.
Google Maps users have created a series of restaurant “mashups” based on the Google template. One of the most notable sites is Menurequest, which has more than 5,000 links in New York, San Diego, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Napa Valley, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington DC. Users can visit the restaurant’s website, read reviews, get driving directions, and make reservations online through this amazing map. These are just a few of the food maps available to culinary curators. Perhaps your own town has a site designed just for hungry locals like you.