When Lauren Kluth moved to Chicago in 2013, after graduating from John Carroll University, she watched as her friends back home Instagrammed their way through all of Cleveland’s new restaurants and bars. But every time she would return home to visit, the quickly evolving dining scene felt overwhelming to navigate.
While working for the digital marketing company Lunchbox, she thought, what if there was an app that makes it easier to track down the latest and greatest? She began working on the idea in Chicago and moved back to Cleveland last August to see it through.
This February, Kluth is launching CLEseats
, a free website and mobile app that offers special deals and discounts to local restaurants. One week you might receive $10 off a bill, another week you might be offered 20 percent off the top at places like Pura Vida, the Flying Fig and South Side. It will be iOS compatible, with Android capabilities being added soon.
“My goal for this is to become the app everyone checks whenever they’re going out,” says Kluth.
For a flat monthly fee, restaurants have their own editable landing page on the site that details hours, menu, reservation capabilities, weekly events and current CLEseats discounts. Discounts are redeemed with a simple code, which users give to their server.
Restaurants are searchable by location, price range and food type. Each is tagged by location: east, west, south or downtown, plus three additional surrounding neighborhoods.
“We built it for the person who knows the difference between Tremont, Ohio City and the Flats,” says Kluth. “But we also built it for the out-of-towner who doesn’t know where Lakewood is.”
Kluth won’t be doing it all alone; to help spread the word she’s enlisted the help of CLEfoodies
blogger and Wok n Roll
food truck co-owner Tricia McCune and @CLE_EATS
Instagrammer Sarah Yi. Each will be in charge of posting spotlights on the site that delve into the history and uniqueness of all participating restaurants.
“Social media is lending that human aspect to the businesses,” says Kluth. “We want to give people a way to learn about these restaurants and appreciate their history.”
Another layer of the hyper-local service comes in the form of a monthly podcast, the CLEfoodcast, when Kluth and McCune delve deeper into the local food scene. In the first edition
, released today (and every 15th day of the month hereafter), Kluth talks to Joe Fredrickson of Society Lounge about some new menu items and cocktails. McCune speaks with Tom Madrilejos from the Filipino pop-up Carabao.
Trivia questions, with prizes from sponsors like LaunchHouse, Night Market Cleveland and Keep It Local Cleveland, are sprinkled into each podcast.
It was during a lively conversation with the owners of Ohio City-based Mason’s Creamery that McCune decided that she’d like to document these talks with fellow industry people about the day-to-day aspects of being in the business.
“It’s a great way to tell different stories from different perspectives,” says McCune. “We’re talking person in the industry to person in the industry. And there are always bumps in the road, so we’re getting that dirt that we’re all going through too.”
Every Monday, an email wrap-up of all the new deals is sent out to newsletter subscribers. Kluth envisions it as being something “everyone will check at the beginning of each week and plan all their happy hours and date nights around.”
“It’s really important for us as Clevelanders to appreciate the new things coming around and support local businesses,” says Kluth. “This is a good way to get out of your comfort zone. We just need that push sometimes.”
Watch a teaser of their first podcast, which was filmed at Cleveland Tea Revival, here.
CLEfoodcast with CLEseats and CLEfoodies
So excited to show you a snipet of our first podcast recording with CLEfoodies! #CLEfoodcast is a new podcast series of all things Cleveland food. We'll tell you the best places to eat, the best deals and events around town, and have some fun trivia giveaways!CLEfoodcast will air on the 15th of every month on iTunes, so listen this FRIDAY! (Video by Thespis Media)Posted by CLEseats on Monday, January 11, 2016