Spotlight: App-etite CurEat

photograph by Julie Pence 

by Jessie Ammons

Next time you want a restaurant recommendation, a new local app has you covered. CurEat, founded by Raleigh resident Steve Mangano (pictured above), shares dining recommendations from local chefs, tastemakers, and friends. “I have a background in hotels and restaurants, and I was frustrated by the review site options,” Mangano says. “It’s not a natural way that I think people would normally converse. If a friend is traveling to a new city, or just wants to branch out in their own, I’m going to text them three or four places I love. I’m not going to qualify the suggestions with stars and rankings.”

His notion spurred Mangano to work with Oak City Labs to create an app that prioritizes the information he believes users want – namely, who likes what. CurEat is part social media and part listing: Once you download the app, you can see lists of favorite restaurants created by local chefs including Ashley Christensen and Scott Crawford; civic leaders like N.C. Museum of Art’s Marjorie Hodges and Sarah and Victor Lytvinenko of Raleigh Denim; and also the top picks of your own friends and fellow Raleighites. You don’t have to create a profile to use the app, but a profile allows you to follow other users to stay up-to-date on their recommendations and to curate your own lists.

The idea is that, by scrolling through overlapping recommendations from everyone’s lists, “if you’re in a city and you want an independent restaurant, you can cut through the clutter to find these great places.” And while foodies are welcome, Mangano says CurEat is for appetites of every type. “We don’t always want a fine dining experience, which is why CurEaters aren’t just chefs. We have a good cross-section of the community.”

CurEat launched last month and is free to download for both iPhones and Androids. Look for lists of restaurants in Asheville, Charleston, and Charlotte to debut soon, too. It’s time to get a few dinner reservations on the 2017 calendar.