Entrepreneur Steve Mangano has traveled the world and eaten at many restaurants – which got him wondering why it’s so hard to find a good one when you arrive in a new city. Although there are many restaurant apps out there, they tend to highlight negative reviews and leave the restaurant itself out of the equation.
That’s why Steve decided to create a new kind of app – one “designed around positive endorsements, with reliable and up-to-date content provided by the restaurants themselves.”
The app, called CurEat, enables users to group local dining establishments that they recommend based on everything from city to type of food, with an added social aspect: Lists can easily be shared with friends and family via text or email. Likewise, if you’re traveling and need a quick recommendation, the app will show you which local spots your friends have enjoyed.
Restaurant chains are noticeably missing from the app, promoting curated lists of award-winning, independent and time-honored restaurants, with plans to expand from the Triangle to more than 60 cities across the United States.
In addition to its focus on positivity and community, what sets CurEat apart from other dining apps is its group of local chefs, bartenders, creatives and tastemakers, also known as CurEaters. Their unique insight provides a way to both showcase their business and their favorite things about the city.
“I love the intention from which CurEat was born,” says Charlie Deal, CurEater and owner of Dos Perros and Juju. “Knowing Steve, I know that he just loves food and wanted to create an app for other people who do. This model, based on suggestions rather than ratings, seems to be a bit easier to follow.”
Other Durham CurEaters include John May (Piedmont), Sean Lilly Wilson (Fullsteam), Wyatt Dickson (PICNIC), Nadira and Ryan Hurley (Vert & Vogue) and Rochelle Johnson (Ponysaurus, The Cookery, Dashi). A number of chefs throughout the Triangle – including Ashley Christensen (Poole’s, Fox, Beasley’s, Chuck’s, Death & Taxes) – are also a part of CurEat, with plans to continue adding more restaurant experts.
“I am constantly making lists of favorite restaurants and recommendations whenever I travel – it’s probably no surprise that our trips usually revolve around where we’ll be eating!” Rochelle says. “CurEat makes it so much easier to keep these lists in one place by city, and get recommendations straight from my friends’ profiles.”
True to its local-minded mission, the app itself was designed with the help of companies like PurposeUX in Durham and Oak City Labs in Raleigh.
CurEat launches today on the Apple App Store (an Android version is on the way). Give it a try this week, and join the creators at a celebratory launch party at 5 p.m. Friday, January 13, at 21c Museum Hotel. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot. For every list posted off the app onto social media for the launch weekend with the tags @cureatapp and #CurEat, CurEat will donate $1 to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern N.C. with a goal of providing 10,000 meals.