Where do you want to eat?

Madeline Gray—North State Journal
Steve Mangano

Friends are one of the most reliable sources for restaurant recommendations. Steve Mangano of Raleigh has created an app that harnesses the power of the restaurant recommendation with CurEat.He was also wise enough to add in the brain trust of well-respected local chefs, suppliers, and tastemakers. These list-makers are called CurEaters, and Mangano has been busy prior to the launch cultivating them. Among the ground floor CurEaters are Ashley Christensen of Poole’s, Fox Liquor, Beasley’s, Chucks, Joule, and Death & Taxes; Marjorie Hodges, the director of external relations and special projects at the North Carolina Museum of Art; Scott Crawford of Crawford & Son and Crawford Hospitality; Victor Lytvinenko of Raleigh Denim Workshop; Nation Hahn of the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation and EdNC.org; Rochelle Johnson of Ponysaurus, The Cookery, and Dashi; and Wyatt Dickson, barbecue man of Pig Whistle Sauce and Picnic in Durham.”We have the CurEaters in three buckets — local chefs of some prominence, for instance James Beard award winners, and of course we strongly want them to be representative of their respective communities,” emphasized Mangano. “Then we have food industry suppliers, which gives business owners the opportunity to say these are places that carry our product, and then the third are a broader set of creatives — artists, musicians, or local brick and mortar retail — we want those cultural influencers involved.”When you sign up for the app you don’t have friends right away, and that’s where the CurEaters come in to engage the user and enhance the usefulness of the overall experience from the outset.The app came about in a turn of necessity as the mother of invention when Mangano wanted a positive and clean user interface app to help find local restaurants. “I wanted the app for myself,” said Mangano. “I travel a lot for both work and pleasure and often you arrive in a city and think, ‘where are the few places that I really want to know about?'”Prior to the launch of CurEat Mangano got his MBA from UNC Chapel Hill and had his hands in development in Durham, placing his footprint all over the Triangle. “We’re going in concentric circles with the Triangle being the beginning and center,” said Mangano. “Our plan is to grow out in the Southeast first and then nationwide.”On January 13 and 14 the app donated $1 to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina for every list made. “Making sure we are supporting the right causes is a big part of our mission. We want to have a meaningful experience for the user,” said Mangano.A restaurant experience drives the soul of a town, and Mangano has translated the ability to categorize our favorite spots and follow palates we admire to our phones.