It has happened to the best of us.
You come home from work on a Tuesday evening. Your fridge is empty for anything except cottage cheese and a couple of lettuce leaves. Your stomach has been growing all day for a good burger--or was it pasta?--and you determine that Eating Out is in store. Perhaps that little pizza joint around the corner. Do they still offer chicken parm? Do they deliver? You reach for the kitchen drawer where you’ve stuffed every local take-out menu, but by the time you find the menu you’re searching for, the restaurant has already closed.
The take-out menu mess is what also confronted Midtown residents Matthew Caylor and Manda Shafer. However, instead of eating dinner in, they founded MidtownEats.com, a searchable online database that includes up-to-date news and menus of 45 of Midtown’s hottest restaurants.
MidtownEats.com functions in several ways. First, hungry patrons can search for restaurants’ uploaded menus by name, address, or opening hours. Secondly, the database groups eateries into 21 categories regarding the restaurant’s meal offerings (such as “breakfast,” “burgers,” or “country chicken”), restaurant location (such as “Broad Street Market”), or restaurant qualities (“outdoor seating,” “BYOB,” or “delivery”). This allows a curious user to discover new restaurants within the neighborhood that may fit a particular evening’s craving. Each restaurant profile features their menu, a photograph, and their location, in addition to users’ ratings, comments, and critiques. Users are encouraged to submit restaurants, menus, and even volunteer to increase the community’s growth.
Helping locals discover their neighborhood--and helping the neighborhood businesses to discover the locals--is what MidtownEats.com is all about. “In addition to running [the website], we also work together through Creative Midtown to help local businesses promote themselves and develop their web presence,” Matt Caylor explains.
And why not? This spring saw the expansion of Midtown's food scene with multiple new restaurants, such as Second Street's Flow Buffet Cafe, who joined a the already-thriving community of some of Harrisburg's best bakeries, ethnic restaurants, cafes, and bars. According to the April 2010 issue of TheBurg, Midtown's revival in local business is a one reason to be hopeful about small-business development.
With the help of MidtownEats.com, supporting the neighborhood has never been so delicious--or so simple.
For searches, photos, reviews, and critiques:
To submit menus, restaurants ideas, or updates:
Matthew Caylor and Manda Shafer