Nov 27: Ottawa Foodies 2006-2020 [Events]

Oct 24
It is with mixed feelings of nostalgia, pride, and some relief that Iím announcing the end of this website.

* Nostalgia from a 14-year legacy of enthusiastic food discoveries, made as we all witnessed Ottawa's coming of age as a culinary powerhouse.
* Pride from having seen a modest vision bloom into a thriving community and trusted resource covering all aspects of Ottawa's food scene.
* Relief from seeing an end to maintaining outdated technologies and having to deal with increasingly persistent spammers.

I just noticed that Ottawa Foodies and Facebook launched to the public on exactly the same day! On September 26, 2006, Google Reviews didn't exist and Yelp/TripAdvisor weren't yet available in Canada. Our only resource for crowdsourced restaurant reviews was a site called The Restaurant Thing, offering limited posting capabilities and no photos. At the time, I was active in a food section of LiveJournal, home to many of the early Ottawa foodies who helped get things rolling here.

Fast forward to late 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has run Ottawa's established restaurant scene through a wood chipper, accelerating what was already a dizzying amount of churn. The rapid shift from in-restaurant dining to takeout has invalidated most of our historical restaurant review content while restaurants find ways to reinvent themselves or, sadly, close their doors completely.

From a technological perspective, the unique value proposition of Ottawa Foodies has always been the way we connect Foods to Vendors. It is still the only resource I know that directly answers questions like, "Where can I find food X?" and, "What's the best thing to order at restaurant Y?" Even so, the energy of the site shifted towards the discussion forum as the food/vendor sections grew ever more out of date.

Photos and reviews are now better served by Instagram and Googleóat least in terms of esthetics and accessibility if not trustworthiness. For those who enjoy sharing food pics Instagram, with its larger audiences and more polished experience, was an obvious choice. I would know! 🍜

Discussion forums are implemented with better threading and spam controls on Reddit. I encourage fans of the Ottawa Foodies discussion forum to explore the beleaguered r/OttawaFood subreddit:

I can't write a post like this without sharing my gratitude. Thanks so very kindly to all of you who made this community a tangible force in the Ottawa food world. It's been a true pleasure getting to know many of you and sharing in your food discoveries and experiences.

I've already disabled new account signups to cut off the influx of spam. I will keep the site going for another month, through November 27, to give everyone a chance to read this.

Much love and best wishes to you all.
Mark (aka warby, aka Fresh Foodie)

Oct 24
Well I guess i'll have to figure out how reddit and instagram work... i'll miss this place for sure.

Thanks for all the work. :(

Oct 24
Iíve been at 99% lurker/poster ratio for years, but have always appreciated this site and the work it takes to keep it running. Thanks!

Oct 24
Iím going to miss this place. Thanks for all the work you put in, I am sure everyone appreciates your efforts.

Oct 24
Thanks for all your work all these years. Visited this site almost daily to see what's happening in Ottawa. Will miss it.

Oct 24
Thank you for your work. Iím going to miss the insights / opinions of many of the frequent posters here. :(

Oct 24
Sorry to see this go. Thank you Warby!

Oct 24
It will be sad to see this go. I worry about the quality of the discussion when moving to Reddit but at the same time appreciate all your hard work over the years. Iíve learned a lot, contributed a bit, and itís been wholesome and fun. All the best and thanks for your work. Maybe another similar site will rise from these ashes?

Oct 25
This has been great to connect Ottawa foodies! Thank you so much! Will stay in touch on Instagram! 🙏🏻😊

Oct 25
Boo! This place has been a great resource for all food things in Ottawa. I don't want it to go!

Oct 25
Iíve mostly lurked, but have chimed in from time to time. This has been a great resource. Cheers Ottawa Foodies and thank you for all the wonderful tips and reviews. 🥂

Oct 25
Dang-- sad to see this place go but am so glad to have been a part of it. Was a great way to find an entry point to the Ottawa food scene and then follow along as it picked up. Some really great finds and discussions from here that I still make use of today.

Most of all, I'll miss the very 2006 aesthetic, a reminder of the simple days of internet message boards and the real community building/interaction/engagement they still can probably offer better than any of the new stuff.

Oct 26
Another site I am a frequent member on is run by a guy who works at ArsTechnica. He runs it as a Discourse server and it seems like that would be a simple platform for anyone else who wants to keep the momentum going. Of course, it couldn't possibly be a straight swap of information from here. This site was custom built. However, it might be a good alternative for someone who was that interested in continuing.
Sure, it's US$100/month ... but free if you host it yourself.
Here is a link to the demo site.

I'm sure Mark would help work out the domain transfer, or at least the use of the subdomain.

Oct 26
I'd only discovered this site a few years ago but it quickly became my go-to source to find out about new places opening or closing in Ottawa. I'd check in a few times a week, usually with my morning coffee. I'll be sad to see it go.

Any suggestions for the next best source to keep up with the openings and closings around town? The suggested subreddit doesn't seem as active or useful as this forum, from a quick scroll I don't see any posts for new restaurants in town. Maybe I'm doing it wrong?

Oct 26
I am sad to see this site go but I appreciate all the hard work warby put into it. Also, Mark Zuckerberg has nothing on Mark Warburton ;)

One thing I like best about this site is the ability to click on a location and filter by favourite or wishlist. In the pre-covid days I liked hopping on the bus now and again to visit a new neighbourhood, checking the places on my wishlist to plan my shopping route. One day if this is all over I hope to resume my excellent adventures.

I also liked reading the reviews since the ones here tend to be well balanced and following the chit chat in the forum has always been fun. I even attended a couple of ottawafoodies potlucks and some dishcrawls - what a great group of people! I guess I will have to get accounts with reddit and instagram now...

Oct 26
Sorry to hear but understandeable.

This was seriously one of the more valuable places to get fairly unbiased info on the food scene in the city.

As influencers became more and more an obviously advertising channel for restos, this forum was where I could be advice on what new places were going to be opening and if they were any good.

Oct 26
Thank you so much for all your hard work over these many years, Warby. You're a stand up fellow.

I'm sure I'll see many of you on different platforms. If not, I'll miss you all.

Keep on eating, Ottawa. <3

Oct 26
Big Salute Mark! And if I recall the original purpose of the site was to find the best poutine in Ottawa. Everyone should know where Pong's is located (Carp Rd). So Mission completed.

Oct 26
Also sad to see this go but am thankful for what I have learned from the site. Probably my favourite part is some of the obscure hole in the walls I wouldn't have heard of otherwise (Do Good Food, Huong's Bistro, Pong's, ect..). I really can't stand the instagram influencers or the moronic SJWs that are the faces of the Ottawa food scene. Thanks for all the hard work Warby!

Oct 26
Must remember to get the recipes I'd posted here so I could always find them. Also have to make note of the restaurants I'd starred and pinned.
Why put it off? Doing it now.

Oct 26
I haven't logged on in years (surprised I remembered my password) but I would still regularly visit this site to keep up with the local scene. It sure has undergone a lot of changes in the past 14 years!

Thanks Mark and contributors for your work making this community viable for so long. I will be sad to see it go and will stay in my "cool things on the internet" memory bank for a long time.

Question: will the site continue to live as snapshot frozen in time? If not, are you selling the domain in case someone has the wherewithal to take it over?


Oct 26
ollie I'm not planning to keep a snapshot of the site up but you can always access it (all the way back to 2006 if you like!) via The Wayback Machine

As for the domain, I'll hang on to that for the time being as I would not want it to fall into disrepute. 😝

Oct 26
def will be missed.. reddit has posed useful for finding certain things.. sorry to see this site go.

Oct 26
Thanks very much for maintaining this platform over the past 14 years for the benefit of all of us in the local foodie community. It's been a great resource! I remember the interview on CBC Radio announcing the creation of the site way back when. I believe the competition back then for local dining info was Chowhound and its wonky text-based interface. We have made good use of this site since then to discover new restaurants, shops and keep up with the local food scene. All the best.

Oct 27
Thanks for the great resource for the Ottawa food scene. Will be sad to see it go.

Oct 27
I have enjoyed this site so much and will miss it. I always knew I could trust the reviews on this site which is more than I can say for some of the other sites. Thank you for all the work you have done on Ottawa Foodies.

Oct 27
I'm also sad to hear this. I've lurked more than commented over the years but check the site almost daily to see what's happening around town. It introduced me to a lot of great places and helped turn me into a local. Thanks for all your work Mark and good luck.

Oct 28
Thank you Mark for all your hard work over those many years. Iím not sure how I first came upon this site but have I learned so much from all the people who post and it has been my go to for anything food-related in the Ottawa area. Iíve even met a few of you through restaurant meetups...lots of fun. I will miss my late night scrolls through the comments when sleep was elusive. Once again, thank you Mark. 2020 really sucks!

Oct 28
Oh frig I just noticed this - that's terrible news! Thanks for everything you've done Fresh Foodie!

Now I have to scramble to get all my recipes off here because this has become my repository - I guess I should check to see what the wayback machine has. Maybe I can rely on that.

Oct 28
Well at least the Wayback has a copy of my variations on my mother's meat pie ... sigh. Ironically my last post in that thread was from last December expressing gratitude for this site as a place to keep my recipes :-(

Forum - Ma's Meat Pie (My Version)" class="text_url" target="_blank">

Is there any easy way to find my stuff?

Oct 31
Any interest in keeping this group together for the forum discussions on Facebook. I know, evil Facebook, but at least we can have albums of food pics, maybe have files for recipes, and most importantly, discuss food!

Oct 31
I think that would be great.
Itís something good coming out of FB!

Oct 31
There is a site already

I obviously was not signed up to it. Lol!

Oct 31
This was the only space I really contributed to (apart from /r/Ottawa where I would add a suggestion or two once in a while). I agree that there was a level of discussion here (and knowledge) above other places. I was actually just going to post and preface a critical review explaining that I could have posted it on Google, but here seemed right. Odd timing.

I know it won't be able to fully replicate the forum structure of Ottawa Foodies, but I think Reddit has great potential. I could see a subreddit where there are stickied threads of openings/closings and for simple requests (i.e. "where do I find x?"), with more standalone threads for substantive reviews and discussions. I didn't know /r/OttawaFood existed before warby's post (as I said, I only used the main subreddit, /r/Ottawa for food related things), but it seems it's in a bad organizational state. If someone from here could become a mod and clean it up that might work out (depending if you want to integrate Ottawa Foodies with that userbase).

If not, we could potentially create our own space (/r/OttawaFoodies anyone?), which would alleviate AD_2's concern of the quality of discussion for now.

Whatever the next thing is, I'll be checking back in here to see if there's something decisive before the closure.

Nov 3

...ah well.... thanks muchly Warby. This was a great place for a nice long run. I have found many many fave restaus and recipes thanks to this site and I will miss it.

Nov 5
Thank you so much for all the years of work you've put into this site! It has been a constant source of information and happenings in the food scene which has truly exploded as you note. I do believe Ottawafoodies has played a part in this! Like so many others have said, I've lurked and benefited far more than I've contributed, having often thought I needed to change that. Just didn't happen. So along with thanking Warby, thank you to the active posters who engaged us all with their knowledge, views and humour. Hope to see you all pop up in another forum. Until then, stay well.

Nov 6
Long time lurker here. When I first moved to Ottawa over a decade ago this was my go-to site for learning about interesting places to check out in the city. And I've kept on referring to it ever since. I'm very appreciative of the work you've put in to the site, Mark, and of all the great posts over the years.

Nov 15
So sad to see this go! I remember coming over from ChatOttawa days.

This is still my go-to resource for openings and closings. The news and Influencers have nothing on this forum :) (where is this insider information going to be posted now?!?)

Best of luck to all - I enjoyed reading, commenting on, and most of all, eating your suggestions over the years!

Mark, this place has been a staple - enjoy your next endeavours


Nov 21
Good bye all Ottawa Foodies, it's been good to know ya! It been a fun ride. It is sad to see another of my favourite sites shut down. All those hours spent reading, thinking, posting, cooking, sharing, etc were mostly well-spent and I've had some life changing experiences as a result. Off we all go to our Covidized future and our lives without this foodie connection; time to pull up my pants and get on with life...

A big thank you to Mark Warburton for developing, promoting and building this site. And a really big thank you to all Ottawa Foodies for making this site!

Cheers! Andy ❤️ 📡

Nov 21
Sorry to see the site close. Fine community here with great recommendations, knowledge, and respect for each other. Thank you Fresh Foodie , cheers everybody

Nov 26
So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Nov 26
Goodbye my friends. I'll miss you.

Nov 26
I was really hoping a techie/foodie might step in. I am all foodie no techie so until next time thank you all for your excellent tips, advice, and laughs. Cheers!

Nov 26
So with the closing date coming right up, I just made a discord server..

..with no real stated purpose other than to see if there are enough folks around who'd join and be interested in posting there..

..and with no ambition to actually run the thing!..

..and understanding that this may be a day late and dollar short..

..but if this is one way to keep the OF community connected, in hopes of staying in touch and perhaps finding a solution to keep the regular reviews and regular forum topics going down the road, then here it is:

Thanks again warby and all.

Nov 26
Well, I guess this is the post I have have been dreading writing, because I was pretending that there would be a change of heart, and this wonderful website would continue to exist. Alas, there appears that there is no last second reprieve.

I have really enjoyed this site. Posting about hidden gems I found, sharing my love of food, finding new places to enjoy and try, and even just the site culture. I loved snarking back and forth with some of you on spam posts, or learning new recipes from everyone trying out something, and learning from your mistakes.

I know we have a discord now, thankfully, and I hope it gets up to what we have here for the next 7 hours. If not, thanks for all the good memories, full stomach, and laughter.

Nov 26
We're up to 5 in the Discord which is a start.. had I known it was worth a shot I'd have started it sooner :P

Petitioning warby to leave it up just a littttle longer? Or if anyone has another clever idea that the link might be publicized to the community, by all means

Nov 26
Maybe make it into it's own post? Like, then people won't miss it

Nov 27
butwhoami, thanks for setting that up! I'll definitely keep a link to it active after I turn off this site later tonight and point at something more static.

Nov 27
Want to echo everyone else's comments about how much they got out of this group. Was great to have this to browse while I ate my boring lunches at my desk. At least I could dream about good food/plan the many things I wanted to cook and restaurants to try out. But like so many things in life, best to go out on a high note. Thanks for all this great work Warby. :)

Nov 27
Hi folks! Welcome to the last post (as in the final comment, not the commemorative bugle call used earlier this month). Following this post, I'll grab a static snapshot of the site so we don't disappear immediately from search engine results. There will likely be some downtime as I set that up and switch servers.

Thanks again for all the years of awesome. See you around!