Where did ye olde Ottawa Foodies go?

Miss the community and the site? Here are some resources to help fill the hole!

In late October 2020, in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, I decided the Ottawa Foodies dynamic web app was no longer sustainable. Here is what I posted.

It is with mixed feelings of nostalgia, pride, and some relief that I’m 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.

from seeing an end to maintaining outdated technologies and having to deal with increasingly persistent spammers.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 technology 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Y?” Even so, the energy of the site shifted towards the discussion forum as the food/vendor sections grew ever more out of date.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 Google—at 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.

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