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CurEat: A Positive Space for Chefs and Food Lovers

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Photo by Carly Mask of Seattle’s Sitka & Spruce

We were sitting around the CurEat table and realized that we haven’t really talked about ourselves at length. We’re not shy; we’ve just had a lot of great people write about us since our launch, paving our way to you. Now, we’re ready to give you some real talk about who we are — an autobiography of sorts.

Like any startup, CurEat started as an idea. (We know. Way to state the obvious.) Founder Steve Mangano met with a group of chefs in Raleigh/Durham, NC, who all own and operate independent restaurants, to discuss a positive approach to review-based apps and websites. They helped refine the concept and from there the CurEat snowball started rolling fast.

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Photo by Andrew Sherman of Cast Iron Kitchen in Wilmington, NC

Steve wanted to create a positive space for individuals to discover independent restaurants, bakeries and breweries — a place for food lovers to be able to cut through the clutter of reviews, ratings and chains. His hope was for people to spend time promoting and discussing the places they love instead of perpetuating a negative spin cycle. Tastes are unique and one person’s favorite pizza may be another’s least. Catch our drift?

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Photo by Bax Miller of CurEater Matt Register’s Southern Smoke BBQ

The restaurant industry is a hard grind. Everyone has a bad day.  Should a restaurant have a negative review live online forever? One negative review could prevent you from enjoying a new experience and unique food. There’s enough negative juju in our society right now, do we really want to continue to add to it?

It is our view that reviews and ratings are rarely helpful as most restaurants are rated the same, making it difficult to find any real distinction and credibility. We think Chef Andrew Zimmern, of Bizarre Foods, said it best in a recent Yelp rant. We want to know where friends, chefs, and food writers eat, and we want to know where are favorite bartenders drink. Most importantly, we want you to take what you like, put them into lists and share with friends. Plus, everyone loves a solid list, right?

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Photo by CurEater Chana Lynn of CurEater Vansana Nolintha’s Brewery Bhavana in Raleigh, NC

All of that being said, what makes CurEat different and the app that you need to clear some space on your phone so you can download? First of all, it’s easy to use. You download, make a profile and start creating different lists of your favorite places to eat and drink around the U.S. For example,  if you liked that great cocktail bar in D.C., put it on your D.C. list to recommend it to friends. You can also find and follow prominent chefs, restaurateur, bartenders, creatives and artisan craft-makers in different cities to see where they eat and drink around the U.S. We like to call them CurEaters.

If you’re reading this paragraph, kudos to you for sticking with us. We want CurEat to be your go-to source to finding and recommending independent restaurants and bars. You can download CurEat on the App Store or get it on Google Play. We want to make things easy for you, so if you have any questions just give us a shout on social.

CurEat 101: How to Share Lists with Friends

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malibu, malibu farm cafe, cureat, cureat app
Photo by CurEat User Carly Mask

We’ve all received and sent a text to our friends asking, “Yo, what’s your favorite places to eat in {insert city}? I’ll be there next week!” Are we right, or are we right? If we had to guess, we’ve spent at least a year of our lives typing out our favorite bars and restaurants. Don’t get us wrong, we are flattered to be the go-to foodies of our friends; however, when you have favorite eateries in 20 different cities, it’s hard to manage the memory. So, this is one of many reasons why CurEat exists – to help you organize and share your recs.

Sharing with CurEat is so easy that we sometimes find it less complicated than making scrambled eggs (there really is an art to it, though)! The first thing you do is download CurEat, which is available for iOS and Android. Once you’ve downloaded you have the option to make a profile or skip to search. Well, we highly suggest you make a profile. Take ownership. Put up a cool pic of yourself. Then start listing.

If you already have a profile and a few lists, then sharing with that friend who is traveling to, let’s say Malibu, is a cake walk. Find your Malibu list (or a Malibu list that you have bookmarked), and move your finger to the box and arrow at the top right of the screen. Click it. Once you’ve taken .00002 seconds to click, the sharing options box will float up from the bottom of your phone screen. Choose the text option, type your friend’s name into the contact field, and press send. Boom. Your friend will have to download the CurEat, but it’s totally worth it because they can return the favor when you travel and are in need of a good restaurant that’s not a chain.

Meet Guest CurEater, Kristi Martin, Founder of Charlotte’s FEAST Food Tours & Culinary Events

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Photo by Rémy Thurston

Hello, friends! My name is Kristi Martin, owner of FEAST Food Tours & Culinary Events here in Charlotte, NC, and CurEat guest blogger.

For some, the Queen City is best known for NASCAR and bankers. I remember thinking the same thing when arriving to Charlotte in 1991. However, so much has changed in the past 25 years. It just takes a peek beneath the surface to find a vibrant culinary community here full of chefs, farmers, service personnel, and restaurateurs working together to push the envelope on what’s new and tasty in town.

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Not Just Coffee, Atherton Market

Since starting FEAST over five years ago, I have had the honor and privilege to get to know many of these talented professionals, and through our food tours and custom events we get to introduce our guests to their stories, their craft, and their passion.

CurEater Clark Barlowe’s Heirloom Restaurant
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Dish by CurEater Matt Krenz, Executive Chef at The Asbury

We always love to support local business, and that’s really the foundation of the culinary community here. Whether it’s chefs and farmers working together through organizations like the Piedmont Culinary Guild, or bartenders serving up craft beer and local spirits, everywhere you turn you’ll find folks collaborating and supporting each other to help Charlotte be the best food city you’ve never heard about.

FEAST Food Tours are weekly tours of this awesome community. Join us on Fridays and Saturdays to explore the city as we gather around the table to savor local culinary gems and connect you with the people who make it all happen behind the scenes!

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Salude Cervceria is an extension of Charlotte’s Salud NODA.
Chef Matt Martin’s Fern Flavors

One of the questions I get most often is “What is your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?” The answer is that it always depends on what I’m in the mood for, so I love to use my CurEat lists to highlight different kinds of food around the city that match those occasions. Download CurEat to check out my lists in the app, to see some of my favorites.

For more information on FEAST, find us on Instagram at @FeastFoodTours or visit www.feastfoodtours.com.

The app that helps travelers, and locals, find their favorite restaurants is expanding

The homegrown restaurant app that helps travelers eat like locals, and locals find their favorites, is getting a wider audience.

Developed in Raleigh, the CurEat app launched on iOS in January, but as of this week is available to Android users. The free app aims to show diners a world beyond Yelp, where people post reviews and rate their experiences dining out.

Read more from the News & Observer

Stop loafing around, it’s National Sandwich Month

National Sandwich Month

Forgive the bad pun, but we had to do something to get your attention.  If you’re like us down here in the South, August really isn’t your favorite month.  It’s hot, like really hot, and not to mention humid.  And, well, August usually means back to school and summer’s end.  But, we now have our silver lining — it’s National Sandwich Month!

Now before you go out and order your favorite sando, first a little history lesson.  According to the experts (yes, there are sandwich experts) the official written use of the English word “sandwich” dates back to 18th Century England and was named after eighteenth-century aristocrat John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. The word first appeared in a journal owned by Edward Gibbon referring to a “sandwich” as “bits of cold meat”.

Sandwiches officially debuted in American cookbooks in the early 19th Century with avant garde fillings like fruit, shellfish, nuts and mushrooms. By the end of the 19th century, sandwiches were everywhere with many of them earning their own names like the “club sandwich”, the “BLT” and  the“Reuben”.  Things really took off in the late 1920’s with John May's definitive Durham Sando listGustav Papendick’s invention that made  it possible to slice and package bread.  Sandwich lovers were finally free to concoct their sandwiches as they pleased.

Today sandwiches are everywhere, in almost every country.  There’s the Philly Cheesesteak, the Cubano, the Croque Monsieur, the Falafel and the Shawarma.  Then there’s the South’s almighty tomato sandwich. (The Bitter Southerner shows us the proper way to make the Southern staple.) We could list sandwiches all day, but we want you to go out and welcome National Sandwich Month at your favorite sando shop. Need help finding one? CurEaters like Piedmont Durham’s John May have made lists of the best sandwich shops in their community.

Are you an authority of sandwiches shops? Download CurEat, make a profile and create a list of favorite sammy shops.

Hot Diggety Dog it’s National Hot Dog Month

July is National Hot Dog Month

Not sure how we missed this, but July is National Hot Dog Month. And, we still have two to use this as an excuse to eat hot dogs for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Ok I know what you are thinking, hot dogs, really?  And to that we say yes, really.  Who doesn’t love a hot dog?!

Now, it’s time for a few, fun facts. Did you know that the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimates that over seven billion hot dogs will be eaten by Americans between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That is with a “B” for billion. During the July 4th weekend alone (the biggest hot-dog holiday of the year), an estimated 155 million are downed each year. That’s an aggressive amount of franks.

Best hogs in the CarolinasFor those curious, the term “hot dog” has been linked to the sports cartoonist Tad Dorgan. According to the history books in 1901, vendors began selling hot dachshund sausages in rolls at a baseball game the Polo Grounds in New York.  Dorgan was in the press box and could hear the vendors yelling, “Get your dachshund sausages while they’re red hot!” From that he sketched a cartoon depicting the scene but wasn’t sure how to spell “dachshund” so instead he called them, “hot dogs.”

So, now you must be asking where can I get the best hot dogs.  That’s where have you covered. (image of Robert’s list)

We did some digging around and found Guest CurEater Robert Donovan’s Carolinas Hot Dog list.  Listen to us when we say that this list is thorough and one that you need to get into before National Hot Dog Month ends. Hot dogs aren’t limited to N.C., and we know there are hidden gems around the U.S. We challenge you to make and share lists of the best hot dog joints in your city and state. Now, go forth and get your hot dog.

Where will you be eating on July 4th, give us a shout and let us know…

The holiday weekend is upon us and we at CurEat know that planning your culinary excursions can be tough especially at the last minute. That’s where we can help out.  We take on the heavy lifting with plenty of lists and locations to choose from.

Planning a NC beach escape over the holiday.  Find and follow Chana Lynn of Raleigh What’s Up Blog.  Her Wilmington list is spot on.

How about SC beaches?  Check out Justin’s Amick’s Edisto list:

Heading north instead, follow Terry Fox and check out his Providence and Beyond list:

Is the West Coast calling your name….track down Felicia Trujillo for her Santa Monica / Brentwood, CA list.

Or Ashley Christensen for her San Francisco, California list.

Whatever you are in the mood for or whatever city you are in, we have you covered.  And to top it all off, we will even map it out for you.  Don’t forget to give us a shout on Twitter and Instagram and let us know your holiday plans!

Big shout out to one of our faves

NC Food and Beverage Podcast

At CurEat it’s clear we love all things that are independent, local and have to do with food.  So it is no surprise we are huge fans of Max Trujillo, Matthew Weiss and their NC Food & Beverage Podcast.  We listen on our walks, our runs, our drives to and from the office, any chance we get (Quick disclaimer here: we are sponsors of the app).  And if you have downloaded it you know why.  If you have not had the chance yet, download it now…seriously don’t wait, click here to download and listen.

Max Trujillo and Matthew Weiss are both veterans of the hospitality industry and they use that along with their personalities to create an unbelievable auditory experience that will make you immediately hungry. Each new episode is release on Thursday and runs about hour.  So far they are up to episode 39 and with the holiday weekend coming up you have plenty of time to catch up.

It’s a great mix of the food and beverage world.  Their past guests have included Henk Schuitemaker (Angus Barn’s wine director), G. Patel owner of Echelon Experience and the founder of Larry’s Coffee, Larry Larsen.  Not to mention CureEaters Mattie Beason, who owns Black Twig Cider House and Mattie B’s Public House, Craig Rudewicz the founder of Crude Bitters, Piedmont restaurant’s Chef John May and Chef Cheetie Kumar of Garland.

While we give you the opportunity to find independently owned and operated restaurants, bars and bakeries, the NC Food & Beverage Podcast gives you the opportunity to learn more about North Carolina chefs, bartenders and bakers.  We are excited to see what they have in store as they bring on more guests from beyond the Triangle to share the North Carolina’s food story.

Where to Eat on the Road

Taking the stress out of restaurant research for your vacation is our pleasure.

Now imagine if you have 10 of your closest, vetted foodie friends telling you where to eat in those destinations. That would make things a lot easier, yes? That level of confidence in restaurant recs is what the app CurEat is designed to create.

Read more from the Greenville Journal here.

Where Local James Beard-Recognized Chefs Love to Eat in Raleigh, N.C.

visitRaleigh recommends CurEat to help plan your next adventure into our capitol city!

Local entrepreneur Steve Mangano has created a way to cut through the noise and find carefully selected recommendations from those in the know. CurEat, available for download in the iTunes App Store, spotlights prominent chefs, bartenders, craft-makers and other local influencers’ favorite local dining and drinking spots.

Read the post featuring some of our amazing CurEaters here.