It’s hard to believe that the World Wide Web just celebrated its 28th birthday in March. We can still hear the dial-up modem of AOL’s past as we dominated Slingo tournaments, scoured the net for Britney Spears photos, and clicked through recipes highlighting purple ketchup.

In July 1997, Chowhound became part of this unique, albeit weird and limited digital landscape with a single purpose: to help others find culinary treasures through honest recommendations shared in interactive community message boards.

A snapshot of Chowhound’s first post from July 2, 1997.

One million threads, ten million comments, 800,000 members, and 20 years later, Chowhound has expanded its scope to become one of the most respected, trusted, and engaging authorities of food and dining. We’ve cooked, shared, and discussed thousands of recipes from more than 120 cookbooks in our Cookbook of the Month tradition, inspired dinner plans with 80,000+ dishes in What’s for Dinner?, organized more than 400 Chowdowns, and curated articles, slideshows, city guides, and videos with the sole purpose of connecting readers to informative and fun content. Additionally, we’ve introduced members to chefs and cookbook authors through Table Talk Q&A series and, most importantly, we’ve introduced Chowhounds to each other.

“It was a fun, kooky project, never intended to blow up so large or to last so long,” said site founder Jim Leff. “To me, the fact that Chowhound even still exists is a miracle. How many websites from 1997 are still out there, serving their original mission?”

As we celebrate 2017’s halfway mark and two decades of delicious eats, we have one important person to thank for the site’s success: you. Whether you’re an active participant in the community, a loyal reader, or just visiting the site for the first time, your love and unyielding passion for food and this ever-changing industry is what inspires us to keep creating.

Here’s to another 20 years of celebrating the tastes, bites, sips, and dips that bring us all together. And cheers to you, Chowhounds. May your wine glasses and stomachs be far, far from empty.

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