More likely than not, recently you've read a handful of food coverage written as lists. We know our brains love a good list; information presented in a clear and concise fashion. In the food and travel space, “Best Of" lists are the reigning king; the de facto way for us to easily digest information and serve as inspiration for where to eat, what to do, and fresh places to consider.
When it comes to finding the best new restaurants, we've been most reliant on lists curated by a person or brand with a judgement you respect, bolstered by personal experiences that have come before.
Today, Foursquare unveils something new: Trending This Week. By looking at data signals from multiple sources — where people go, likes and saves, comments, and more — we are able to accurately identify the restaurants, bars, cafes, coffee shops, and more that are truly trending in cities around the globe. It's another slice of the proprietary location data Foursquare has been analyzing for years, and that we're now making public (see our recent — and accurate — iPhone sales predictions, which also used foot traffic data).
Though our lists look a bit different from the ones you may already follow and use as a resource, they are the most true-to-life chart of trending restaurants available anywhere.
Case in point, a selection of new spots on recent lists:
- Joe and the Juice, SoHo, NYC — This Danish import opened just two weeks ago, and the gorgeous staff, juices, and sandwiches are already SoHo standouts — big news for a neighborhood that's already bursting with coffee shops and juice-to-go joints.
- UrbanSpace Vanderbilt, Midtown East, NYC — Midtown office workers now have a food hall to call their own. This week, the UrbanSpace Vanderbilt remains in the number 3 position in NYC, and for the first time, the new Roberta's outpost placed into the city's Top 20. Takumi Taco, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Sigmund's, and Bangkok Bar haven't yet hit must-try status (but we're on the look out).
- Taco Bell Cantina, Wicker Park, Chicago — Earlier this month, Taco Bell's first alcohol-serving joint landed onto the Foursquare Chicago list. It's unlikely that you'll see it on other round-ups, but that hasn't stopped real people, with real cravings for a cheesy Gordita, to stop in, check it out, and order a liquor-infused Starburst Strawberry Freeze. (Psst — the second outpost, also popular, is up two spots in San Francisco this week.)
As the editor charged with publishing these lists, it has been my job to assess accuracy and reliability during the soft launch period, and I have been impressed with the quality and variety of the results. All of New York City's new, attention-grabbing restaurants, hole in the walls, coffee shops and ice cream parlors, the matcha café, fried chicken sandwich joints, and next-gen Jewish bagel shops — like clockwork, they make the list. Not before they open, but just after, once people start visiting, leaving tips about what to order, and otherwise offering their seal of approval with real-life visits.
Relying on this algorithmic data also means that we are not biased towards overhyped places or caught unaware of a trending neighborhood. Foursquare's proprietary, authenticated location signals uncover new areas to visit, too.
As of today, the lists for five cities — New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta — are live in-app and on our homepage in these five markets. They update every Monday to capture data from the weekend prior, and new results are posted on Tuesday at 9am. Check back for changes as we add features and continue to roll out lists in new cities, and as we beef up the list layer of our app in general (including publishing lists from experts as well, so users get both perspectives in the app, side by side).
And lastly, remember to pay it forward, by leaving tips, rating, and liking new restaurants when you visit them.