We launched phase one of Places a couple of months ago, and thanks to the dedicated work of many of you (special thanks for cleaning up the cuisine info), we’ve got a great start on a deep restaurant database. Today we debut the two most-requested additions to the feature: a way to add a Place without linking from a topic, and an easy way to get to the Places pages.
First, adding a place. If you search for a Place and don't find it, you'll see a link that says: "Didn't find what you were looking for? Add a place now." We thought that requiring a search first was the best way to direct users to the rich board & place content that we may already have, but if you think this is inconvenient, let us know.
Add a Place: http://www.chow.com/places/new
Second, finding Places. We've added hub pages. Places hub pages, like this one for Los Angeles (http://www.chow.com/places/regions/2) are the front doors to regions’ Places pages. We’ve launched with just a handful of these hubs, for some of the more trafficked regions; we’ll expand to all the boards soon. Right now, each hub has a Google map, a list of most recently added places, ways to search and browse restaurants, and recent posts. For cities that have them, there are also recent Digests. We’ll add more content as we go along.
You can find these hub pages from the top navigation bar on the front page. So, for example, if you go to the front page, click on the Places carat, you’ll see a list of regions that correspond to highly trafficked boards. Click on Manhattan and you’ll go to the Manhattan front page.
Manhattan Front Page: http://www.chow.com/places/regions/18
We've already begun work on a slew of Phase II enhancements & improvements, so look for changes in the coming months including ability to navigate through places using the map, pulling board posts onto relevant places, neighborhood browsing, saved places on "My Chow" and more.
The engineers have been working very hard on the features we are launching today and the ones to come, and of course on the frustrating technical difficulties that many of you have been having. There will be more snags, I'm sure. But please give the features a try, keep telling us what you think, and we'll keep trying to improve them.