Last week, we gave you our list of the ten reasons why your restaurant website sucks. Apparently, you agreed with us, so we set out to make a list of the best and worst restaurant websites in Houston. Today, the best of the best.
For our list, we made a few automatic disqualifications. Any site all or mostly in Flash got the boot. Everyone hates it no matter how good it might look. Sites also failed to make the list if the location and hours weren't easy to find. Finally, a good site had to translate well to a mobile device (in our case, an iPhone).
All of the following sites definitely met those criteria and are some of the best restaurant websites we've seen anywhere.
Brennan's is a Houston institution that was almost lost to a fire during Hurricane Ike. Lucky for us, it's back and its website is a fantastic online representation. Much like the restaurant, the website is classy. It is well-organized and has plenty of information, from its history to how it rebounded from the fire that destroyed the original location. Our only quibble is the menus are only available as PDF downloads, but the look and organization of this website more than make up for it. Now, get to work on those menus!
The best thing about Masraff's website is that it is simple. It has beautiful photos and a nice design, but it was built to deliver information and nothing gets in the way of that. There is the usual information about the restaurant, special events and the like. There is also a full menu, but, most impressively, there is an extensive wine list, something we saw on only a couple other websites we visited. Like all good restaurant sites, the location and hours of operation are visible on every page as well.
Surprised? We were too. We are fans of the Heights barbecue joint, especially the chicken fried steak, but we never took it for a hub of technology. Who knew? The Hickory Hollow website is clean, organized and informative. Whoever runs the site clearly stays on top of it, as the live music calendar is current (more than we can say for most live music venues around town) and their news is updated regularly. It's not flashy, but it is very likely the best kept restaurant site in town.
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SHOW ME HOW
This upscale Mexican eatery is known for its killer brunch and now for its awesome website. It looks great. It works well on mobile devices. It has full menus that you don't have to download and great photos that manage to fill the background without cluttering anything. In fact, Hugo's crams a lot of information into every page of the site, yet it's still easy to read. Well done, Hugo's. Now, since you own Backstreet Cafe, you might want to take a look at that website because, yikes.
Out of the potential candidates, the Gravitas website was our overall favorite. We didn't like having to download the menus, but we loved the look and how organized the information was. Some of the promotions were a little repetitive, but it's forgivable considering they were all essentially up to date. Like all the other sites, the hours and location were present on every page and clearly marked and the site wasn't overloaded with information, making it clean and concise. Overall, very impressive.
Now that we have the best out of the way, stay tuned for our five worst restaurant websites coming tomorrow.