Lesson: Restaurant Review 4: Zooming in on your target restaurant

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This lesson expands upon students’ search and website evaluation skills as they survey the local restaurant scene, decide which restaurants they’ll review (and with whom), and conduct research on that restaurant to share with members of their group. 


1.     To present a search challenge, suggested strategies for over-coming that challenge, and an opportunity for doing so.

2.     Applying criteria supplied by students and generated by students, to select restaurants for review and teams of students for doing so.

3.     To use search/research skills to find background information on target films.



1.     Activity Worksheet 2: Finding Local Restaurants#mce_temp_url#

2.     Appendix D: Non-restaurant models — other public places



  1. Using Activity Worksheet 2: Finding Local Restaurants, have students survey the local restaurant scene and select some candidate restaurants for evaluation. Remember that reviews will have the most value if they are of new establishments or ones that have recently undergone a change of ownership or management, or ones that have a new chef or been recently remodeled, or are experiencing a significant anniversary. (For instance, if a restaurant is in its 10th year of operation, it might be a good time to review it and evaluate how it has aged, what it’s impact has been.)
  2. Students working in groups, with teacher support, decide which students will visit which restaurants. Put a list of restaurants, with times and places and student names on the board; encourage groups to invite stragglers so everyone has a group and a restaurant; also validate students who prefer to critique a different public space by asking for them to put their intended targets on the board as well. (Students who would prefer to avoid a restaurant may benefit from “Appendix D: Non-restaurant models — other public places” to help them generate ideas.
  3. Once in established groups, group members should immediately exchange phone numbers and email addresses to facilitate coordination.
  4. In restaurant groups, students will conduct research into various aspects they’re going to visit.  Assign someone to research the owners (esp. if it’s a chain); type of restaurant (eg. Fusion, Turkish, fast food) and trends associated with that type (e.g. Mexican restaurants across the county have been adding specialties from a particular province in Mexico); previous articles about the owner, manager or chef. Choose a focus that you predict will be important. Other reviews of the same restaurant do not constitute legitimate background sources (and should be scrupulously avoided unless students are conducting an anniversary review). 
  5. Students should make copies of their background research for their team members and their teacher before they meet for their meal. 
  6. Instruct students to make reservations, if necessary. 




Background research described above could be assigned as homework instead of in-class work.

Assessment Questions:

  1. Do all students have a plan for when and where they will conduct their review/observation?
  2. Are they organized into functional groups?


Connections to Standards:

Teacher Notes:

  1. We suggest that you give two weekends from this point to allow students the time to schedule their meals/observations.  That will mean that you should be prepared to pursue other projects in the classroom as you wait for students to conduct their reviews.
  2. Be especially sensitive at this point to the needs of students who may not want to go to a restaurant but will prefer another assignment.  Insisting on — or otherwise arranging for — one or more non-restaurant groups may defuse the potential for any problems.
  3. We often move on with other required projects during this time, but there are opportunities for expansion during this period.  One easy link to make is to connect modern food criticism with its historical and literary past, from Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, his 1906 expose on the Chicago meat-packing industry, to Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and also the film Food Inc. (2009), which Schlosser co-produced.


Time needed to teach:

1 Session


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