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The making of a restaurant spotlight

By Lisa Crockett

Each month, The Connection Food & Dining guide insert features a restaurant in the center spread that the editorial staff feels good about recommending to our readers.  Sometimes the places are fancy, other times they are strictly jeans and flip-flop kinds of places.  Sometimes they are independently owned and other times they are part of a chain.  Usually they are close to home, but we might recommend a bit longer drive if we think it is worth the time it takes to get there.  The unifying factor is that they are always places that we enjoy and hope you will too.

Choosing a restaurant is a serendipitous process.  Sometimes a member of our staff has enjoyed a place and suggests we write about it.  Other times, a reader will mention a place to us and we’ll give it a try.  Occasionally, something pops up in a Facebook feed or other social media, and that piques our interest enough to give it a shot.  Or, a resident in the community may own the restaurant and we want to support our own!

Once a location has been selected, our food editor goes to the restaurant, unannounced, to dine.  If the food or the experience is lackluster, that is the end of it; you will not read about it here.  If everything goes well, however, we take copious notes and often even photos of the meal.  As a follow up later, we contact the restaurant and speak with the owner or executive chef to get their take on what makes their establishment a good place to eat.

And while a write-up in our restaurant spotlight is often really good publicity for a restaurant, it is not advertising.  A restaurant cannot pay to be featured, and there is no charge to the restaurant once they have been selected.  (Restaurants do sometimes elect to advertise with us after seeing the response they get from our readers based on being featured here, so thanks for being such a responsive audience!)

We hope you enjoy the selections we have featured.  To see the complete list of more than 75 restaurants we have written about, visit and click on “Restaurant Spotlights” on the home page.

Please contact us if you have feedback or suggestions for dining features, and be sure to check out the inside cover of the Food & Dining guide to learn how you can win gift certificates just for dining at one of our featured restaurants!

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