If you’re a Boston local, or planning a visit to the city, you know that you have no shortage of options when it comes to dining out. But paring down an extensive list of hotspots can be overwhelming, and there aren’t many resources available to find out where to go directly from the mouth of a local. A new website aims to solve this dilemma. If you know the vibe you’re after, or the cuisine, or the neighborhood, or even just the price point, The Food Lens offers to solve your dining dilemma with a few clicks.
The Food Lens, a collaborative project between Molly Ford and Sarah Jesup, is a website devoted to curious dining devotees. Ford and Jesup, whose friendship is rooted in food, created a platform that integrates traditional local establishments with the hip and trendy Boston eateries popping up on the scene. They want to give their visitors a sense of what a restaurant will feel like before they set foot in the door. The two founders bring a mastery to the restaurants they include, having visited them multiple times to fully vet the menu. And they do so in complete secrecy—they never reveal who they are when they do their research. As for a ratings system, Ford and Jesup avoid the traditional five-star system, focusing instead on the complete experience, from the bottom up, of what a restaurant provides to its guests.
A quick browse through their site reveals The Spots (restaurant reviews), Top Picks (spotlighted establishments), The Food Lens Five (a shortlist for where to go when you have a very specific dining craving), The Sides (blog-y features of chefs, breweries, and more), and The Events (a curated list of food happenings in the Boston area). You can search by spots that are best for kids, or dates, or tapas or tacos, from Somerville to the Suburbs.
The launch party for The Food Lens was held on April 26 at Warehouse XI in Somerville, MA. In attendance were 150 foodies and food influencers from the Boston community. In between the clinking of glasses you could overhear chatter about what the latest hotspots were, and who was most excited to try what. It was clear that the food-literate attendees were impressed by the spread. Food was provided by FOMU, Union Square Donuts, Sofra, Myers & Chang, Moody’s Deli, and Island Creek Oysters. Customized cocktails included a vodka daiquiri and a gin-thyme concoction from Backbar and The Hawthorne, alongside Taittinger champagne and beer from Lord Hobo Brewing Co.
As guests milled about, they were encouraged to visit a photo booth popup by The Danger Booth, where they could capture the evening’s festivities with (or without) props, and have their photos emailed to them. The atmosphere was lively thanks to the diverse crowd in attendance, and guests left with plenty of inspiration for where to take their next reservation.