Restaurants

Charlottology Restaurant Model with Ruby on Rails

Introduction

This is my first post here at Charlottology and I’m excited to start contributing more to the blog! In this post I’m going to review a small web application I wrote using the Ruby on Rails (RoR) web framework to expose the restaurant model mentioned in an earlier post. The application is very crude at the moment, but it’s a good start and in the future it may be expanded to offer more features. At this point, it was more of an academic exercise for me to get an application up and running using RoR. (more…)

The 25 most popular places for pizza in Charlotte

NYstyle pizza

New York Style Pizza

We’re back with another Charlotte restaurant analysis, in which we adjust ratings of local businesses on Yelp to take into account the number of reviews upon which those ratings were based.

This time we’ve got a roundup of the top 25 places for Pizza in and around Charlotte, NC. The list is below, and it includes neighborhood and contact information (if available through Yelp) for each business: (more…)

A head-to-head comparison of two popular Charlotte coffee shops

photo (3)

The essentials for pour over coffee

I’ve been getting more and more interested in coffee lately – something that started a few months ago when I purchased the equipment for brewing coffee using the “pour over” technique (see the picture on the right). Throughout the process of refining my skills with this brew method, I’ve been trying to learn more about the history of coffee, the varieties of coffee, the coffee business, and obviously the local coffee scene here in Charlotte.

We’re fortunate that Charlotte boasts a number of very good locally owned coffee shops, some of which even roast their own beans. A few of the most notable coffee shops in the area include: Dilworth Coffee in Dilworth (though there are a few other locations now as well), Smelly Cat Coffee in NoDa, Central Coffee Co. in Plaza Midwood, and Not Just Coffee in the 7th Street Public Market in First Ward (now with a second location at Atherton Mills Market). (more…)

Dining out with Bayes Theorem (Updated)

Imagine you’re looking for a place to eat. Say for example you’re in the mood for Mexican food. So, you go to Yelp and type “Mexican” into the search bar and up come a variety of results.

After scrolling through the list, you pick one that seems like it could be good. It’s nearby, not too expensive, and most importantly it gets a positive rating on the basis of a fairly decent number of reviews. Let’s say it gets 4 stars based on 17 reviews.

Here’s the question I pose to you – just how much can you trust this 4 star rating? How do we know that this rating is a fairly accurate reflection of the quality of the food and overall dining experience at this restaurant? And how do we know that this rating is not merely due to some other extraneous circumstance? (more…)

Top 40 Burger Joints in Charlotte

We’re back with our round up of the best places to get burgers in and around Charlotte.

As described in my last post, I’ve made some changes to our statistical model in order to assign greater importance to the number of reviews a restaurant receives on Yelp. These changes should further safeguard against the possibility that restaurants with high ratings based on few reviews are ranked as being superior to restaurants with slightly lower ratings based on a much larger number of reviews.

So, below is our revised list of the top 40 places to get burgers in and around the Charlotte area (click image to enlarge): (more…)

Coming to grips with failure: A strength in science and in restaurant rankings

We try to be as scientific in our thinking as possible here, and a major strength in any field of science is a willingness to accept that methodologies are rarely if ever perfected – this combined with a drive and determination to continue to attempt to make improvements in these methodologies anyway. All for the sake of advancing, however minutely, our understanding of the world.

So, after we ran into some problems during our first attempt to come up with a definitive list of the best places in and around Charlotte to get burgers, I decided to make some tweaks and changes to our restaurant model. We can think of the first model as version beta and the current model as version 1.0, with the explicit understanding that there will likely be many future versions to come. (more…)

correlation between number of reviews and discrepancy

What’s the best place in Charlotte to get Thai Food? A trial run of our statistical model (Part 1).

In this post, we’re taking the Charlottology Statistical Model of Restaurant Reviews out for a test spin by applying it to some real restaurant ratings from Yelp. I described the workings of the model in my last post, so I won’t go into as much detail on methodology in this post. If you have any specific questions regarding our methods, feel free to check out that earlier post.

We’re focusing here on the question of, “where is the best place in Charlotte to get Thai food? (more…)

Figure 3B

The Charlottology Statistical Model of Restaurant Reviews

In my last post, I outlined what I see as being one of the more frustrating aspects of trying to select a restaurant based on search results from Yelp.com. If you haven’t read that post, my argument was essentially that Yelp seems not to give enough weight to the number of reviews upon which average restaurant ratings are based. Because of this, Yelp will for instance rank restaurants with 4.5 stars based on 10 reviews as being superior to restaurants with 4 stars based on 400 reviews. This is a problem because the difference in average ratings between these two restaurants may be entirely a statistical artifact. In reality, there may be no difference in quality between these two restaurants, or the restaurant with the higher number of reviews (and ranked lower by Yelp) may actually be far superior. (more…)