The Power of Yelp

This morning I had a meeting at 11 o’clock in Santa Monica, CA.  Coming from Sherman Oaks (and dealing with the rain) meant a tricky commute over the 405 freeway.  It could have been an hour-and-a-half drive, but actually only ended up taking me around 40 minutes… which left me an extra 45 minutes before I my appointment.  I was a bit hungry, and could always use an extra cup of coffee on the days I get up with my three year-old, so I pulled out my iPhone and launched the Yelp app.

Now before I get too far in the story, I have to say that I’m still amazed at the idea of walking around with something like the iPhone.  Just four years ago, I owned the LG ENV as a cell phone and used it for nothing more than making calls.  Now I regularly check my emails, look up news on an hourly basis, use Google Maps, take photos and videos, and much more.  It still astounds me what this little device can do… which brings me back to Yelp.

As I said before, I wanted to find a place near my meeting (at 26th and Colorado) that was casual enough to get food quickly, but would still allow me to sit for 20-25 minutes and enjoy my coffee.  So I searched for a cheap place (Yelp organizes it’s restaurants by 1-4 dollar signs) that was within a one-mile radius that were classified as “Breakfast and Brunch” and came up with the Bagel Nosh Deli.

A quick look at the stars (4 out of 5 – 96 reviews) told me that this place wasn’t a dump – and a quick review from a customer told me that the bagels were “The best on the West Coast”… which sold me immediately.  I arrived a few minutes later to see that the dining room was casual, but nice – and also had free WiFi.  It was one of those places where you place your order at the counter and they cook your food (or in my case, toast a bagel) while you wait.  The coffee (and refils) were self-serve and everything in the kitchen ran like a well-oiled machine.

It was yet another case where Yelp assisted me in finding a place I’d probably never even know about otherwise… and yet I’ll remember this place for the half-a-dozen times I find myself in the “West LA area” every year.

My wife and I rave (sometimes like lunatics) about Yelp to virtually everyone we know.  We’ve traveled to New York, North Carolina, San Diego, Oregon, and New Mexico over the past year, and have always found great restaurants in each location thanks to this “magical” app.

So if you happen to own an iPhone, and occasionally find yourself struggling to find a good place to eat… give it a shot.  Oh yeah, and Yelp can also help you find virtually anything in your immediate area, including: Bars, Banks, Gas Stations, Drugstores and more… although I must say I’m a 90% “food user” myself.

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