By Carlos Osorio
Dear friends, it’s been an incredible three years since I started this blog about great food in South Florida. As most Greatfoodlist readers know, I work with writers that help me find the best eateries around town, and I always request they write about places they genuinely enjoy. I want people to know that this blog is genuine about the food experiences we share, and it’s not about companies paying us to be listed. We do accept invitations, but that does not guarantee a spot on our list; and if they don’t meet our approval, we don’t step on them either. We figure they are already doing that on their own.
I want to confess that the passion behind the blog did not originate with covering great food, but rather a passion for family, great dining and charity. I believe that one way to build and strengthen the bonds with families, friends and a community is to dine together with some consistency; in my opinion it serves more than just the body, but has many benefits that serve the mind and spirit of all ages.
I was born in El Salvador, during the civil war of the late 70’s that lasted about 12 years, a hard time in general. Needless to say childhood memories were sometimes chaotic and this civil war took a toll on many families, including mine. The best childhood memories I have were of us dining together either at home or out around the town. It was the only time it felt like “war time” stopped and our family differences were silenced; great food can do that!
I figure that’s one big reason why I value dining out or at home with family. It feels like the “noise” of life and stress shuts down for a moment. Around 2011 when constant financial gloom dominated the morning reports with high unemployment, housing prices plummeting and gas prices rising, along with every other commodity, I decided I wanted to make a difference in my community, especially for families. My wife gave me the idea of starting a restaurant review site, to help people find great places to dine out on a budget. I try to keep fairly priced restaurants in line for reviews, it’s not always easy to find eateries with low prices and high quality and standards.
I thought the idea of helping families find quality eateries at comfortable prices was a great idea, but I still wanted to do more… so I thought about supporting the schools. Teachers and students are always short on funding for activities, and I would be directly helping my wife a teacher, and my kids’ local school. I know first-hand what teachers spend over the school year on supplies and it’s more than the county can reimburse. Anyway around the time I started this blog, my son mentioned that some kids would not be able to assist the YMCA after school program he attended, unless each parent contributed financially to assist them. This is when I decided that I wanted to make this blog about helping local charities while helping people find great eateries.
After helping a few schools my charity program stopped as most of the donations were self-funded and it grew harder to keep it going. I kept the blog moving forward with hopes that if our readership and fan base grew, restaurants might find it more appealing to work with us on charitable initiatives; plus having the blog gave me a way to share my food adventures with family and friends. I am still no food expert, but appreciate the growing culinary scene in South Florida and hope to make a positive difference in our community one bite at a time.
I am openly inviting great eateries that would like to sponsor one local school in their community, to contact me for more information and be part of a “Great Food for Great Schools” initiative by GFL. The objective of this initiative is to benefit both schools and restaurants, and place the emphasis on family dining (groups in general) and encourage creative healthy menu items.
Thank you all for joining me on this food blog adventure!