Chicago Food Startup Testing Out Service at Ribfest

By Mike Fourcher | Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A screenshot of Food Genius' Android app.

If you see people bending over their phones at Ribfest this weekend, it might be because they’re participating in one of Chicago’s most unusual technology start ups.

Meant to be like Pandora.com, but for for food instead of music, Food Genius allows users to rate individual dishes from Chicago restaurants and then using the inputted information, predict specific dishes they might like from other restaurants.

“Over time you earn points to become a ‘Food Genius’ in all sorts of categories based on location, from burgers in Lincoln Park, to sushi in Lakeview, even as specific as garlic in Lincoln Square,” says CEO Justin Massa. “When you get to the ‘Genius’ level we’ll send you a customized t-shirt so you can show off your expertise.”

Ribfest attendees can download the Android app or get a web app for iOS at getfoodgenius.com

Based in Chicago, the five-person Food Genius team was recently accepted into Excellerate Labs, an intensive summer program that provide funding, office space and mentorship over the course of a summer to promising technology start-ups based in Chicago.

Food Genius is partnering with Center Square Journal for Ribfest. Data from Food Genius will power an automatically updated tracker on the CSJ website of ribs eaten at the festival every day

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