Restaurant reviews weigh-in on dining choices


Walking into a restaurant for the first time brings a variety of smells, emotions and tastes. Almost immediately, regret settles in as the thought races like a broken record: “I should have checked reviews first.”

The cafe was trashy, the food was gross and the service was awful.

Some students avoid this situation by looking up reviews of restaurants; others take their chances.

Yelp, Urbanspoon, Google and FourSquare have given students an opportunity to check out diners and bistros without actually going in. Despite the technology, some students do not use reviews, while others won’t go to a restaurant without looking it up first.

Lucy Barney, a sophomore from Arizona, said the reason she doesn’t use restaurant reviews is because she believes the food is coming from a professional.

“If it’s a built restaurant, if it’s established, it’s got to be at least semi-decent,” Barney said.

Students rate professors, products, movies and services, but some students do not review food because of how quick the experience at a restaurant is.

Harry Williamson, an international relations major from Highland, said he doesn’t review food because he doesn’t have to deal with the product for a long time.

“I will have a CD for a long time; but food, you eat it and even if it wasn’t that good, it’s out in a couple of days,”  Williamson said.

Circumstance can often dictate whether people choose to look up the restaurant before they go.

Jordan Oldroyd, a mechanical engineering major, said he only uses restaurant reviews for when he is out of town. Even then, Oldroyd said he uses Google as a way to locate a restaurant.

“I use Google Maps to find restaurants when I’m out of town, and if there are reviews, I’ll check them out,” Oldroyd said. “If I’m not out of town, I never use reviews.”

While some students do not use reviews, others find it extremely helpful.

Alex Theobald, a philosophy major from California, said he uses restaurant reviews to find restaurants that both he, and hopefully his date, have never been to before.

“It puts us both in an environment where it is a new experience,” Theobald said.

Theobald said that one of the reasons he likes taking his dates to new places is because he is in search of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

“They have better food, and I like to see if they have a little bit of style,” he said.

Theobald said he recognizes that the people who review restaurants are biased, and he uses this knowledge to evaluate whether the restaurant is a hit.

“They are either really good, or really bad, so I just take that with a grain of salt,” Theobald said.

Katie King, an elementary education major from Logan, said she doesn’t use online or print reviewers, but she considers word-of-mouth a review. Although word-of-mouth isn’t published, she said she considers it just as important, if not more so.

“If people at work tell me about a restaurant, I’ll go,” King said. “One of my co-workers recommended a Japanese restaurant, and I loved it.”

Aubin Dubois, a psychology major from Sandy, said the reason she uses restaurant reviews is to avoid bad restaurants.

“I’m afraid to step out of my comfort zone; I’m afraid of bad experiences,” Dubois said.

She said the way to find good restaurants is to figure out what other people think.

“If someone gives a bad review, I won’t go there,” Dubois said. “I went to this Thai restaurant in California after looking up a review, and I definitely didn’t regret that decision.”

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