There are a few things I always look for when I visit a new American city—a beautiful locale to go running, a local independent book store and the best burger in town.
I’ve always been a word of mouth traveler and I’m a talker so I usually discover these things by chatting up locals or talking to hotel staff. But on a recent trip to Chicago I took to social media to help me find delicious places to eat—and it worked. Here are a few tricks I learned along the way.
Twitter is pretty good about giving you useful accounts when you just type a city into the search bar.
Then the trick is to see who those folks are following. Do a deep dive into those accounts.
For example, the Chicago Mayor’s office is following Chef Graham Elliot of the local GE Bistro. If its good enough for Rahm then I figured their burger was probably worth checking out, right? Absolutely. This led to the discovery of the Graham Burger smothered in brie cheese with a garlic aioli and the GE Shortrib Stroganoff, both new personal favorites.
2. Ask questions. Once you’ve followed these accounts ask them specific questions in a Tweet. Don’t use direct messages. Direct messages are creepy and folks are more likely to answer a public query with everyone watching.
I specifically asked the @ChooseChicago, the city’s tourism board account, account, where I should head to dinner. They recommended the delicious Little Goat Diner and they couldn’t have been more right. Don’t be afraid to use the tourism boards to your advantage. They are there to help!
3. But don’t just take Twitter’s word for it. Once a recommendation rolls in on Twitter head on over to Instagram to really check out the food. I will usually search a restaurant’s official Insta account and a hashtag so that I can surface pictures that regular diners like me took of their food, not just a restaurant’s professional snaps.