Carlos Osorio rarely has the opportunity to go out on the town. What with a full-time job, a wife, and children, it can be daunting. That is why Osorio decided to take action. "My wife and I don't go out much. We have two kids, work long hours, and constantly maintain the house in order, so it's hard to explore the food scene. We both like to go to nice restaurants without breaking the bank. So I thought it would be nice to create a website, where people could explore the Miami restaurant scene. Maybe find reviews, coupons, deals and stuff."
And so Osorio's idea begat GreatFoodList.com, a welcoming and user-friendly website that provides brief reviews with plenty of photos. Unlike other, more well-known DIY review sites, GFL provides foodies with plenty of food porn. The writing is also above par, mainly due to the stewardship of editor and head writer Sue Arrowsmith. Sue says, "There are so many cool, interesting and unique places to visit, especially restaurants, but most people gravitate toward the same thing. And it's not because they don't want something better. It's just time-consuming to find something different, yet affordable."
So as editor, what does she look for? "The food has to be good, of course. I look for restaurants where a person can eat for $20 or less, places that have personality, a little something different. I also love to scavenger for budget-friendly deals at upscale restaurants. It feels good, like I somehow beat the system."
And that's why Carlos founded the site. "My mom was a single parent. She worked long hours as a waitress in New York and she worked hard to raise me. When she could not afford something she recommended I find a job; I laugh now but back then it was not cool. I thank her for teaching me that lesson, but more than finding a job it gave me a entrepreneurial spirit. I can't help but thank Jesus for his help, cause when things were hard growing up, he gave me peace."
Now Carlos tries to bring peace to those of us who although struggling in this economy, still want to be able to enjoy a nice dinner out. "Second to my need for information on great economical restaurants in Miami, I have always had a great need to serve others. GreatFoodList.com is also dedicated to helping others, that is why we modestly fund $1 to one local charity or organization for every new follower on our Facebook page. For now our maximum contribution is $100 a month, but we hope that we can serve more in the near future through our advertising sales."
New Times: Tell us about GreatFoodList.com.
Carlos Osorio: Great Food List is a site dedicated to restaurants. All we want to talk about is food. One hundred percent food.
How is Great Food List different from other review sites like Yelp for instance?
I don't use Yelp; I don't know much about it to comment about it. I know people write reviews there, but I was looking for something simpler, more personal.
What kind of restaurants are you trying to focus on for GFL?
I want to focus on quality restaurants, different foods such as Asian, Latin, and European, but economical. Great for young people, families, or anybody in general on a budget.
Name one of your favorite restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Breakfast: News Café -- my wife and I think this is a treat because it's in front of the beach, open, fresh air, etc.
Lunch: Lately, La Covacha in Doral. This place has great lunch, fresh food, and it's economical. For $10 you eat good!
Dinner: I like three places -- Texas Brazil, Catch of the Day, and Kobe. But when I don't have much cash flow, Pollo Tropical works.
What restaurant serves your favorite dessert?
Texas de Brazil. I can't remember the one dessert in particular but I know it's good.
Where would you like to see GFL in the next five years?
I want it to be the best place to explore the Miami restaurant scene and through advertising revenue a great source for charities, schools and organizations in my community.
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Who has been the best cook you have ever known?
My uncle is a chef in New York, he cooks really, really good. When he visits us in Miami, he makes several seafood dishes.