Move over Instagram. There's a new way to share your food porn. It goes one step further.
Epicurator, a new iPhone app, allows you to share photos of your food, identify the restaurant and specific dish -- then rate your meal using a scale from "blech" to "foodgasm" (one through five for you non-technical types).
The free app, which launches this Friday, July 12, via the Apple iTunes store (an Android version should launch about a month after that), was designed locally by a partnership between Buzzy Sklar, the former owner of Burger & Beer Joint and Automatic Slim's and Jonathan Smyth.
Epicurator allows you to search by people, dishes, or restaurants, or scroll through the FoodFeed, which shows the newest photos added in a newsfeed format. There's also location and menu information on each restaurant, and an autolink to call to make reservations.
We spoke with Buzzy about Epicurator and why you should use it instead of your other food porn sites.
New Times: You went from being a successful restaurateur to developing this iPhone app. How did that transition come about?
Buzzy Sklar: I sold Burger & Beer Joint and spent time with my daughter and family. My partner, Jonathan Smyth, is a tech guy and we worked on a couple of projects together. We had this idea of doing something that was kind of like "Instagram meets Yelp."
What does Epicurator do that no other app does?
I feel all these people are putting great food photos up on Instagram and Facebook but you don't know what the dish was, where they ate it, and if they enjoyed it. So I came up with an idea so you can locate where the dish came from and you can actually name what the dish is. We have over 400,000 restaurant menus propagated into the app. And you can actually rate the dish on a one - five basis, with one being "blech" and five being a "foodgasm."
Blech -- is that a technical term?
Yes. I flew out to Palo Alto just to find out that term.
The app is launching here in Miami, but are there other cities on the app? What if I'm traveling to New York and want to use it there?
Our soft launch is here in Miami. We're located here, so we'd love to give south Florida a chance to say they were the early adopters and users of it. But it can be used anywhere. I was just in North Carolina last week and it worked perfectly. My partner was in London and it worked great. We just did a soft beta test, we haven't launched the app yet, but it's been picked up by people in Thailand and China. It's incredible. The reaction has been amazing.
Menus and restaurants are fluid and constantly changing. How often is Epicurator updated?
We've partnered with Foursquare, which has to be the best in the world in scrubbing their database. We also work with companies that do nothing but update information. So every time you open the app, it updates.
How has your experience as a restaurateur helped in developing Epicurator?
I think the big thing it that I'm looking at it from a foodie's point of view. You can tell Foodspotting was built by techies. I wanted to make an app where you can follow your friends because there's nothing like a friends' recommendation. Everyone has that one person you call when you go to a new city. I grew up in New York but I haven't been there in a while, so I'll call my buddy who still lives there and ask him what's a hot restaurant now. I don't have to do that, anymore. I can just look him up on the app and see where he's going.
Can someone add a restaurant or location if it's not in the app?
Sure! I made a fantastic scallop dish with spaghetti squash. I posted it under "Cafe Buzzio." People asked me where was this new restaurant? I told them it was my kitchen.
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Are you working on other apps?
We're working on some other projects, but right now our full focus is on Epicurator. It's really exciting to be part of this emerging tech community that's growing here in Miami. Hopefully we can be the first real breakout Miami tech company that can lead the way for others down the road.