We are starting to plan a series much-needed improvements to the places (restaurants & bars) section of the site. We launched places two years ago and it has grown into a database of more than 50,000 restaurants, thanks to the tireless efforts of Chowhound users who have both added each of those records to the database, and helped work around several bugs such as creation of duplicates. We now want to build on that foundation and improve on it in the following ways:
1. Create a more complete database of places by licensing basic venue data from an third-party, and eliminate the burden on the users of creating every record, and monitoring for duplicates.
2. Make it easier to find places by location, neighborhood, cuisine, price, special features, average rating, etc.
3. Offer more and better organized factual information about the place such as hours of operation, alcohol served, website link, maps, as well as tools like a link to make a reservation.
4. Make it easier to find, dig into, and participate in the wealth of Chowhound conversation about a given place. This will involve an improved presentation of Chowhound threads and excerpts on the places pages, an invitation to participate on that page, as well as automatic linking to place records on a Chowhound thread discussing a given place.
We are eager to hear your feedback on these plans, as well as your ideas for other features you'd like to see. We promise to listen carefully to this feedback, and though we might not be able to incorporate every suggestion in this first release, we will certainly consider them all.
Thanks, we look forward to hearing your thoughts!