RICHMOND, Va. — Yelp recently named Richmond one of the Top Food Destinations in the United States. The Yelp team said Richmond landed in the 7th spot (just behind Las Vegas and just ahead of Pittsburgh) based on new restaurants, Yelp ratings, reviews, cuisine diversity, and percentage of food photos.
We wanted to know what exactly that meant and had some other questions for Yelp about its food ranking systems. So we sent our questions to Yelp’s Richmond Community Manager Lauri Thompson. Here’s what we learned.
Q: From your data, what is it – specifically – about Richmond that makes it a top food destination?
People are excited about supporting local businesses right now. There’s a wide selection of diverse, locally owned restaurants in every pocket of the city and they dish out some serious high quality food! The success of the dining scene has also opened the door for other types of businesses to flourish, which, to me, is really what takes Richmond into the “destination” category.
New boutiques, transportation options, and countless events have popped up around the booming food scene.
It’s a wonderful place for folks to come visit because there is always something going on and 90 percent of the time, fresh, local food is involved! Plus, the access to this amazing cuisine is unreal. You get award winning food without having to fuss with too much traffic or paying exorbitant prices.
Q: You mentioned some Richmond restaurants (Sedona Taphouse, Billy Jack’s Shack and Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint) in your press release, but which other restaurants helped contribute to our high ranking?
There are almost too many incredible local restaurants to list, but, objectively speaking, in 2018, the top three restaurants on Yelp were Abuelita’s, Stella’s, and Salt & Forge.
Topping the list as 2018’s most photographed businesses in RVA?
None other than Lunch or Supper, Perly’s, and Secret Sandwich Society.
Q: When New York and Chicago don’t make a list of top food destinations, what does that say about the list?
This list doesn’t mean a city has the most award-winning restaurants. Yelpers love all kinds of restaurants — from white tablecloth to food trucks and hot dog carts. Being named a foodie city is powered by the people, not a small group of restaurant critics, so it’s really representative of places consumers are loving right now.
Q: Some in the restaurant industry get heartburn over Yelp in that unfair reviews can torpedo their business. What is Yelp’s response to that?
Yelp is a platform for two-way communication between consumers and business owners. Yelp encourages users to share their truthful, firsthand experiences online, and we also provide business owners with a free suite of tools that allows them to – among other things – publicly and privately respond to reviews (we have some tips for responding to critical reviews on our blog here).