At Localeur, our mission is to help you experience local. Whether you’re a traveler or a local, we want to help you find the best locally-owned, quality, interesting places. As we grow, we’re excited to experiment with new ways to fulfill this mission. Our latest product, which we’re incredibly excited to announce, is called CrowdRecs.
A CrowdRec is a new type of recommendation list on Localeur that allows any local to weigh in and share their favorite local places to it, after which, the local community votes up (or down) the places they like (or don’t like). These places are then awarded points for the votes they receive and ranked accordingly in real-time for anyone to see.
It’s important to note that only locals can contribute or vote on CrowdRecs. We ensure you’re a local with a quick, one-time verification of your home city via Facebook. Once you verify your city, you won’t ever have to do so again. This verification maintains the Localeur authenticity in quality locally-informed content, while opening up the platform to a more diverse, yet knowledgeable set of locals.
So now you might be thinking, “what’s a CrowdRec look like?” Well, it’s somewhat similar to the Localeur recs you’ve seen before, except with some added controls for other locals to add and vote on places.
An example of a CrowdRec might be, “What are the best al pastor tacos in Austin?” As a local, I can confirm that I live in Austin with one click, then add Mellizoz Tacos to the list (a Localeur office favorite) by typing it into the place suggestion field. Once I’ve added Mellizoz to the CrowdRec, other locals can vote it up the list if they agree or vote it down if they don’t. Currently, we award one point for a local’s vote, and 10 points for a Localeur’s vote (we’ll continue testing this formula).
Some things to note:
- We’re beta-launching this only in Austin on our desktop and mobile site currently. More cities will be added shortly, and we also plan on extending this functionality to our iOS app (and yes, Android next year). We hope you bear with us as we continually learn, refine and update this system. We have some incredible things planned for the future.
- You can only vote on a place once. We want a diverse set of places and votes from as many locals as possible for this system to truly have the community vibe we want. That said, we encourage local businesses to share the CrowdRecs that they’re featured in on social networks to have their fans and supporters vote for them on these lists if they wish to improve their ranking. Sure beats asking for reviews.
We hope you take a minute to jump in and try out CrowdRecs. Who knows, you may find a new place you’ll love while continuing to support your favorite spots. After using it, we hope you’ll take a minute to send us feedback on how we can improve this service for you as a local or as a business owner. As always, thank you so much for your continued support.
See it here: CrowdRecs on Localeur
Co-Founder, Head of Product
I don’t support local businesses because I co-founded a company called Localeur. I co-founded a company called Localeur because I support and love local businesses. I remember those days sitting in Sneak Attack - my former sneaker boutique in Downtown Austin - waiting for new customers to come by and, hopefully, fall in love with my business. I remember vividly what it felt like to feel like you’d put a lot of love and passion into a brick-and-mortar business only to rely so heavily on so few repeat customers. I decided I could do something about that, and Localeur would be the way.
So I still buy CDs from Waterloo Records. I order all my books online from Book People's website then pick them up in-store. I spread the word about local bars and restaurants like Whisler’s, Holy Mountain and Apothecary Cafe & Wine Bar to almost everyone I know. I tell people to shop at Service Menswear and Sunroom, and I take people to JuiceLand whenever I get the chance.
To me, supporting local businesses is like finding a new friend. You don’t have to like all of them just like you don’t have to befriend every person you meet, but when you do find someone (or some place) you like, it’s up to you to invest in it, protect it, make it your own and create special moments and memories together. Most importantly, it’s up to you to make sure the friendship remains in tact by continuing to not only support the business / the friendship yourself, but also by introducing this business / this friend to other people in your network.
Often times, friends of mine who I introduce to one another end up becoming even better friends with that new person than I was with them in the first place. And I’m OK with that. To me, it’s like helping a friend fall in love with a new local business. I may be a patron of a bar or restaurant one day a week or month, but that friend may make it their daily hangout spot.
Localeur is just one way I strive to repeat this cycle and evangelize the businesses I support by treating them less like boxes that contain products and more like friends who have emotions and stories to tell.
Everything we do here starts by thinking about two things: authenticity and credibility. We fundamentally believe that the only way we can fulfill our mission of helping you experience local wherever you go is if you can trust the recommendations on Localeur. That’s why every Localeur is a local to ensure they can be regular patrons of the businesses they support. We’ve come to believe getting reviews from tourists or editorials from travel writers simply doesn’t cut it for authenticity and credibility in local recommendations on where to eat, drink or play.
That’s why it’s not surprising SF Weekly seems to agree with us that the current leader for local information on places to eat or drink or hangout - Yelp - is not to be trusted. Recently, a court ruled Yelp has the right to manipulate business listings showing ratings and reviews - something millions of people thought they could trust - for the purpose of making millions and millions more from advertisers who pay them. Those who don’t pay up, well good luck. In short, this is a major blow to mom-and-pops and locally-owned businesses that simply can’t survive in a world where Yelp can manipulate what people say about them and how others find out about them.
SF Weekly ended their writeup with this truth, “Yelp is not a public service, as much as we treat it as such sometimes. It is not just like getting a recommendation from a friend, as much as it positions itself that way. We have no rational reason to believe that the company will be 100 percent fair about business ratings and placement just because it seems like the right thing to do.
Take your Yelp reviews with a grain of salt from now on, as you should have been doing all along.”
We may be based in Austin, but thanks to our Localeurs we know a little somethin’ somethin’ about San Francisco. For example, on September 13th, Brit + Co - one of the most fun, innovative startups in the country - will be bringing together more than 100 makers and brands for a can’t-miss festival. Check it out, shop handmade goods AND make some on your own!
Be sure to register for free here and read on for Brit + Co’s top 10 reasons to join Re:Make 2014!
1. 10 Amazing Make Stations: Get ready for one serious DIY party. You’ll be able to try your hand at dozens of DIY projects throughout the day. We’re talking wall art, totes, greeting cards and more!
2. Artisan Market: Get ready to shop ‘til you drop! There’ll be more than 90 artisans selling their one-of-a-kind pieces at Fort Mason. Get a head start on your holiday shopping and connect with cool makers from across the country.
3. Paint By Number Mural: We have a 15 foot black and white mural that is waiting just for Y-O-U! Come help us color in the original design.
4. Not one, not two, but 4 photo booths!! Need we say more?
5. Insta-Prints: But wait, there’s more! Snap those fabulous photo booth pics and print them out with our Instaprinter on the spot. #remake2014
6. Yoobi School Bus: Go back to school for a day and get your DIY on inside the Yoobi school bus! Oh, and did we mention that Yoobi is also bringing a giant TWISTER board?! Score.
7. Kandee Johnson: YouTube star Kandee Johnson will be there. Yep, believe it. Kandee will be dishing out beauty tips and signing autographs. Check out her YouTube videos now and prepare to be amazed.
8. Lowe’s Living Room: Take a step into Lowe’s living room of the future where you can meet Iris, your home’s new best friend! With Iris, you’ll be able to monitor your house, adjust the temperature and lock or unlock doors directly from your smartphone.
9. Food Trucks FTW: Who doesn’t love food trucks? How about a giant game of corn hole? We’ve got both!
10. The Cocktail Lounge: Yes, there will be cocktails. Join us for DJ-spinning jams and custom Re:Make cocktails featuring our favorite IZZE sodas.
Alright, who’s pumped for Re:Make?! Don’t forget to spread the word and register for free here. We can’t wait to see you at Fort Mason!
We’ve always believed that quality is more important than quantity. A lot of apps and sites tout their millions of reviews and checkins, but we know that finding authentic, local recommendations is about more than data. You deserve to experience cities in a way that gives you the feeling of tapping into a wellspring of local knowledge. We’re excited to now offer Localeur in a dozen cities around the country, including Seattle and Washington, D.C.
We know you’ve enjoyed getting to know our Localeurs across the country, so this week we’re gonna keep it goin’ with two New York (counting Brooklyn) locals, Marni Wandner and Will Griggs.
Marni: There is so much going on in NYC. From restaurant openings to secret concerts, there is always too much going on to keep track of. What are your go to websites, magazines, etc for keeping your finger on the pulse of the city?
Will: For food I think Eater does an amazing job of keeping tabs on new openings, news, etc in the restaurant world. For music you can’t beat Brooklyn Vegan for on-sale info, listings and recommendations.
Marni: If you had to eat one NYC dish every day for the rest of your life what would it be?
Will: The chicken wings from Pok Pok NY.
If you want to know how to spend a night on the Bowery, ask Will.
Marni: What’s your favorite dive bar? Favorite cocktail bar? (OK that’s technically two questions…)
Will: Dive: Nancy Whiskey Pub (though it’s so hard to choose just one!) Cocktails: Weather Up (on Vanderbilt Ave). Fantastic outdoor space!
Marni: We’re incredibly fortunate to live in NYC, but what’s your favorite place to visit when you’re not here?
Will: I’m completely smitten with Berlin. I was recently there for 10 days. I had considered bouncing to different cities during that time but I’m REALLY glad I stayed put. I could have stay months. It’s a city that is in the middle of an ongoing transformation - old airports have been converted into parks where you can bike down the old runways (Tempelhof Park), and neighborhoods that were in Soviet territory only 25 years ago have been overrun with artists, ex-pats and an incredible mix of creatives. Though it’s (rightfully) renowned for its insane nightlife I found myself having as much fun exploring the different neighborhoods during afternoon bike rides as I did watching the sun come up at warehouse dance parties.
Marni: When you are here, what are some of your favorite neighborhoods to hang out in?
Will: I’ve lived in Fort Greene for six years and continue to fall deeper and deeper in love with our hood. It has a wonderful neighborhood vibe that I hadn’t experienced when I lived in Manhattan and we are spoiled culturally with tons of great bars, restaurants, parks (and of course BAM). But to give a non-biased answer I find myself spending a lot of time in Tribeca/Battery Park City near the river. Check out the Game Hut near the Ferry at Vessey St if you are looking for a fun, off-beat (and most importantly free) date idea when the weather is nice.
Will: There is so much going on in NYC. From restaurant openings to secret concerts, there is always too much going on to keep track of. What are your go to websites, magazines, etc for keeping your finger on the pulse of the city?
Marni: It’s true - there’s so much to keep up with! For concerts, I love getting email updates from Bandsintown and each week(ish) I browse Oh My Rockness, to see who’s playing where. I’d say where I get my news about secret shows, but then I’d have to kill you. I check out NYmag.com every so often for new restaurant news (and for art/entertainment events.) And, of course, Time Out New York. I live in Park Slope, so I subscribe to the South Slope News Facebook page, which has lots of good info on new restaurants and things in the area. And emails from The Gothamist tell me when things like a new pop up cat café arise on the scene, so that’s good.
Will: If you had to eat one NYC dish every day for the rest of your life what would it be?
Marni: This is hard. Sushi? I want to say a good ole slice of Ray’s pizza but that’s not healthy… Can I just say, generally…brunch? Or…ok, The Macro plate from Souen.
Got a meeting in NoMad? Check out Marni’s favorite spots.
Will: What’s your favorite dive bar? Favorite cocktail bar? (OK that’s technically two questions…)
Marni: Dive: I love International Bar, but there’s a special place in my heart for Blue & Gold. Also, R.I.P. Holiday Cocktail Lounge (yikes!)
Cocktail Bar: Probably used to be Cabin Down Below, but haven’t been there in so long… still love The Bourgeois Pig. And Death & Co., of course. And actually the NoMad Library.
Will: We’re incredibly fortunate to live in NYC, but what’s your favorite place to visit when you’re not here?
Marni: Probably Costa Rica. If I’m leaving New York for a holiday, I’m probably in need of a beach and Costa Rica might be the most magical beachy place I’ve been so far. I love that you can be in the ocean in the morning and in the jungle in the afternoon. I’ve only been to El Golfo de Papagayo and Tamarindo side, so next time I’d like to check out Montezuma because I’ve heard wonderful things.
Will: When you are here, what are some of your favorite neighborhoods to hang out in?
Marni: I’ve fallen deeply in love with my neighborhood of Park Slope, and also really love Cobble Hill and Caroll Gardens. In the city, the brownstones and cobblestone streets of the West Village still have my heart.
We hope you’ve been enjoying getting to know our Localeurs a bit more. Jodie & Vanessa shared some interesting tidbits about themselves and their cities last week, and this week we’re back with LA Localeur Alisha Ricardi and New York Localeur Stephanie Cain, who both have a healthy appreciation for all things local, especially good food and drinks.
Stephanie: What makes Southern California your soulmate?
Alisha: I’ve definitely got an East Coast edge to me from growing up in the Boston area, but I was built for West Coast. The beach, the mountains, and the carefree attitude — even, surprisingly, the slower walking pace just suits me. Being outdoors year-round is my ideal, and I love to travel, so it’s amazing to feel like I’m on vacation when I take a day trip to Malibu or head to San Diego for the weekend.
Stephanie knows New York, especially its wine.
Stephanie: A lot of people hate on LA. How do you respond to those sorts of comments?
Alisha: Oy. I have to respond to this a lot. Here’s how I see it: Enjoying LA is all about who you surround yourself with, because — let’s be honest — there are a lot of people in this town who are just concerned with trying to make it. I’m not a fan of “the scene” here, so I generally stay out of it. Give me a dive bar over a schmoozy Hollywood club any night and I’m a happy camper. LA has way too much greatness to offer to let anything ruin it for you.
Stephanie: What’s one secret about LA?
Alisha: I’m not sure how many secrets a metropolitan can keep, but people outside LA who know of it as a very expensive city might not realize there are so many free activities. I wrote about outdoor movies in my latest recommendations post, and I mentioned one of them that is at a great park downtown and is completely free. There are also free concerts at the Santa Monica Pier every Thursday of the summer, at which people can dance all night in front of the stage or picnic on the beach below. The Getty Center museum and Griffith Observatory are two amazing venues with spectacular views and free entry. The list goes on.
Stephanie: So you’re an actor in LA. How is your profession different than the stereotypes?
Alisha: Yep, me and everyone else in LA! Acting is actually my second job, with my full-time career being as an editor for ESPN.com. So I’ve seen acting from both the outside and inside, and I guess the biggest misconception is that actors don’t have to work very hard. Ohhhh, that is so far from true. A successful, working actor (I’m not talking about celebrities, I’m talking about the someone who make a living at acting even if they’re not well known) has to work their butt off. Acting is so much more than a craft — which needs to be worked on daily as it is — it’s also a business, which means actors have to be entrepreneurs. Marketing and networking are huge components, which is something I had no idea of until I really got serious about it. It’s a bit easier to have an agent or manager helping you out, but if you don’t have one, you’re doing all that work on your own.
Alisha: You’ve traveled all over the world as a writer covering food and fashion. How does NYC’s culinary experience compare to other places you’ve been?
Stephanie: New York is a culinary playground. You can really get anything you have a craving for, pretty much 24/7. But it’s also an amazing place for discovery. Traveling and eating really helps you understand and experience a country and culture. But New York allows you do to that down the street, and in a surprisingly authentic and creative way the majority of the time. You can experience places you’ve never even thought of, and maybe even inspire you to go there. I just read about this new restaurant Awadh, where the chef is reinvigorating Mughal cooking techniques from an obscure region of India. That’s so cool to me. I would have never even been able to find that even if I went to India. I’d be too busy at the Taj Mahal!
Alisha knows LA, from where to eat to where to check out street art.
Alisha: All sorts of random stuff could happen to someone just walking in NYC. What’s the wackiest thing you’ve ever experienced in the city?
Stephanie: Just today there was a hot pink stretch Mini Cooper limo parked outside my building! But really, one of the most surreal moments was doing yoga in Times Square at sunrise on the summer Solstice. It’s such a busy place to try to find center and balance. But when I’d twist and look up at the bright blue sky peaking through the towering skyscrapers, I really felt of the positive power and energy of the city.
Alisha: Have you always lived on the Upper East Side? Why did you choose to live there?
Stephanie: I’ve lived in the West Village too, and uptown by Columbia for grad school, but the UES feels like home. Some people call it Siberia (really 64th is not that far uptown, folks!) but I love its little oasis. Everything is clean and organized. On the weekends, it’s not a scene. Its just people in workout clothes grabbing a bagel and coffee with their dogs and heading to a farmer’s markets. Central Park is RIGHT THERE for a run around the reservoir or laying out in Sheep’s Meadow. And the window shopping on Madison doesn’t hurt either!
Alisha: What is your favorite way to spend four hours of free time?
Stephanie: This is a tough one to answer, as I might choose anything from taking a yoga class to reading food magazines to going to a wine bar to see what’s new. But I do find myself at the MoMA often. I’m a member, and it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever spent money on. The ability to stop by and check out some incredible art for just a few minutes…really, only, can you do something like this in a great city like New York. It’s really a luxury. Also, in summer, Central Park!
There are two things that suck in Austin: extreme heat and worsening traffic. One of those we can’t control, but one of those we can do something about. Anyone who lives in Austin (or visited for SXSW, ACL Fest, Formula 1 or the like) will agree that traffic has become one of the most negative aspects about life in Austin. So with over 100 people moving to our city everyday due to our vibrant economy and frequenting all the great bars, coffee shops, music venues, restaurants and yoga studios our Localeurs recommend, the traffic issue is only getting worse. Today, our CEO Joah Spearman stood with the Mayor, City Council members, and other business and community leaders who make up the Steering Committee for Proposition 1. Prop 1 is a $600mm bond to fund 9.5 miles of light rail infrastructure in Austin coupled with $400mm for additional road improvements that will make Austin more bike-, bus drive and walk-friendly. If you live in Austin, we hope you plan to vote early (starting October 20th) and spread the word. #experiencelocal
So far, our Learning from Locals series has helped you get to know local insiders in Atlanta with DJ Wally Sparks, Austin with creative director/editor Jess Thompson, LA with writer/former NBA player Paul Shirley and New York with Daren Grisham of Tablet Hotels. Today, we’re going to get a little more insight into life in Chicago, one of our newest cities, by learning from Amish Tolia, an entrepreneur and co-founder of Pear, a digital sponsorship platform. Amish works with major brands and local businesses and nonprofits to help them match up the way Localeur helps travelers match up with insight from locals, so we think he’s got some good intel to lend on Chicago.
Localeur: What’s the place in Chicago that makes you most feel like home?
Amish: One of my favorite neighborhood sushi restaurants is called Sai Café. It does a pretty good job of making me feel like home. Also, East Bank Club does a good job making me feel like I’m home here in Chicago.
Localeur: Where would you advise a budding entrepreneur go to meet like-minded folks in Chicago?
Amish: There are a couple great physical hubs / co-working spaces for entrepreneurs: 1871 and Catapult Chicago. Both of these are great places to meet / work alongside other like-minded / motivated entrepreneurs.
Localeur: When you want some down time, what’s your go-to spot?
Amish: There is great foot massage place that is awesome called Yamato in River North. Also, I enjoy smoking hookah, so will sometimes venture to Ambrosia Cafe in Lincoln Park.
Localeur: It’s Friday night, where do you have dinner and where do you go after?
Amish: If it’s a casual, low-key Friday, I enjoy going to West Loop. RM Champagne and Urban Belly are both delicious. I generally follow that by a drink at Soho House on the roof. If it’s more of an aggressive Friday night, I’ll probably stick around River North and have dinner at Sunda or RPM followed by Studio Paris.
Localeur: Name one place that you think is underrated, but you love?
Amish: Red Door in Bucktown is awesome!
Cadillac is leading Detroit’s comeback from the front and Chase and I recently got a chance to test drive their ELR Coupe in Los Angeles and the ELR Hybrid in the Bay Area. Enjoy the pics and we hope you’re a little inspired. - Joah