Cozy Corner (bottom) versus Dot's Soul Food (top).
Having long relied on Trip Advisor for user travel reviews, and (well, only recently) Roadfood to tell me about hidden dive treasures, I regret to inform you that I have fired both websites from my bookmarks. Why? Consider the following case study:
Dot's Soul Food Cafe, Hillsboro Alabama
Cozy Corner Cafe, Memphis Tennessee
Both were rated high on Roadfood, with Cozy Corner's rating a little higher. Dot's food was rated an 85% with voters willing to drive 40 miles to eat there. Cozy Corner's food was rated at 97% with the reviewer willing to drive 80 miles to eat there. Trip Advisor, lists Cozy Corner as its number 9 restaurant out of 864 restaurants in Memphis. Dot's isn't even on the radar at Trip Advisor (probably because it's in the middle of rural Alabama--not exactly a vacation hot spot).
Wow. A restaurant that is number 9 out of 864, that people would drive 80 miles to eat at, and that scored a 97% based on the Roadfood editor's review? I had to go there. So I did as a Trip Advisor reviewer suggested and I got "thee to Cozy Corner." And regretted it. So much good food in Memphis and I was eating at a place that served chewy ribs, watery coleslaw, and spaghetti in barbecue sauce. That last one tastes as good as it sounds, which is, not very. Meals come with fresh from the bag discount white bread. Several slices.
By comparison, Dot served me homemade macaroni and cheese with that extra layer of cheese baked on top, actual fresh corn--not canned, and tender ribs. She baked the corn bread muffins fresh that morning and served several different homemade desserts, including chess pie.
Ambience at both restaurants was basically no frills. Dot's was cafeteria style, on a not very busy highway, in a small Alabama farming town. Cozy Corner was near the famed St. Jude's Children's Hosptial, in a bars-on-the-windows kind of urban area.
As for driving 80 miles to go there, I would say that with gas prices (and earth issues) the way they are, you must be kidding when you suggest that for any restaurant, let alone Cozy Corner.
Dineometer rating: Dot's Soul Food Cafe 90%
Dineometer rating: Cozy Corner 40%