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in #SpoCOOL  · 

How are you? It’s been a while, hasn’t it? And here we are, ready to shill another site, and we’re quite shameless about it too. (I don’t see any need to apologize for that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

The newest site in the sprawling SpoCOOL conglomerate is OlyCOOL, which, surprisingly enough, is like SpoCOOL, just set in Olympia. I mean, pretty simple, right? OlyCOOL: A site that should be part of your daily reading habits.

“But, what’s in it for me‽”, you may ask. “Obviously OlyCOOL is the greatest site I have ever seen, but I’m not going to Olympia this week, and I prefer reading about Olympia spots next week instead!”

That’s a fair question, and one many (probably) will ask.

We are also merging another entity into the über site: One Star Classics, a site that digs into the murkier side of Netflix movies, will post its reviews on regular basis. OlyCOOL is informative and entertaining!

(Oh, and it’s running on SSL, too, so it’s super secure.)

In summation: OlyCOOL. Visit. You will enjoy. We guarantee-ish it.

SpoCOOL changes, people either cheer or weep in the streets

in #SpoCOOL  · 

«So what the hell is going on here?», you may ask. «Why am I reading this at blog.spocool.com instead of spocool.com? Why is there a restaurant guide where my favorite blog in the whole wide world used to be? What is this thing‽»

Let's start with what.

SpoCOOL, the main site, has changed from your favorite blog to your favorite local restaurant guide. Well, maybe neither is your favorite, but let's just say they are, for the sake of argument.

The new guide is a bit different than many. Instead of listing every restaurant in and around Spokane, we have created a curated directory. Three criteria come into play for a spot to be included:

  1. It could be a buzzworthy spot. Buzz can, of course, be either positive or negative. A typical restaurant that would be included would be one opened by a local chef, or one that is centrally located.
  2. It could be a place a traveler or tourist would consider trying. Think a traveling consultant going to a town, not knowing where to go. Often they settle for a chain—like Red Robin—or pick blindly from something near-by their hotel. With SpoCOOL, you now have a paired down list of places you really should try, or really should avoid. All places voted for by you; no chains included.
  3. It could be a place your self-proclaimed foodie friend—the type who uses the word foodie—really wants you to check out. We all know the type, the ones who went ga-ga when MacKenzie opened downtown. Now you can see what other people think about it, people who hopefully are a bit more invested in the local food scene than those who frequent Yelp.

In a sense, the site is aimed at two people: locals who want to check out, or rediscover places in Spokane, who have no interest wading through the Cathay Inns of the world. And the person who comes to town, expecting something better than what the hotel clerk suggests.

Curation is done by our esteemed editorial board, and we will always accept suggestions through mail and Twitter. The list will be updated as needed.

We've tried to make the site easy to navigate, with easy to use filters and a free-search. And, as one would expect, you can rate spots with thumbs up or down. Just log in with either your Twitter or Facebook account and go crazy. Votes that were cast here at the blog have all been carried over.

Consider the site to still be in beta. Kinks are still being worked out.

We think it's a good concept ourselves, and as an earlier version of the site has been used by traveling consultants for multiple institutions in town, we've seen real-life proof that something like this is needed.

Run and enjoy the new SpoCOOL! Browse! Vote! Be safe in the knowledge that each thumb you throw will help a fellow human being!

Now, for the why…

We have been running this little blog for a while now, and a great time it's been. I mean…SpoBREW? Spiceavore? All those silly little community events, all while writing our equally silly little site… Good times!

Now we're leaving Spokane, and, indeed, the country for a while. Could be years; could be months; could be forever. We don't know, but we hope it isn't the latter.

The blog will remain here, browsable as ever, and this will not be the end of it. You'll still see Notes from all over covering current going-ons. We'll follow your voting on the new SpoCOOLand post your monthly top 20 picks as we always have. Liquor License Stalker is updated automatically. @spocool isn't going anywhere, and will remain active. We'll post about dumb things, because that's what we do. The RSS feed stays in place.

But, restaurant reviews will, of course, be gone. We don't think that's a bad thing: we're putting your opinion in the limelight as a replacement. We hope the new SpoCOOL will be a better restaurant guide than this site ever was, and with thousands of votes already cast, we don't see how it couldn't be.

Spokane, you were fantastic. And you know what? So were we.