This weekend, my friends and I packed up the car and made the drive from Chicago to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl.

I’ve made many cross-country road trips in my time, but this was unlike the ones from my childhood in several ways: mix tapes have been replaced by iPod playlists, I’m now driving instead of dozing in the back seat, and I am no longer quite as excited at the prospect of “getting” to eat fast food along the way.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I actively looked forward to Egg McMuffins and stops at Del Taco to break up the drive back in the day, but now I realize that enjoying actual meals at local restaurants along the way can be far more interesting, and delicious.  Restaurant.com is a great tool to help you do just that, so my friends and I decided to try it out.

On the way down, we were anxious to get there, so we decided to wait until we arrived to get dinner.  As soon as we checked into our hotel, we were starving and had no idea where we were.  Enter the new Restaurant.com iPhone app.  I hit the “Deals Near Me” option and up popped a whole list of places within a convenient two-mile radius. 

As it turned out, we were just over the border in a suburb and not actually inside the Indianapolis city limits, so our search would have been complicated by the fact that we weren’t 100% sure where we were if not for the new location-based technology.

My friends felt like sushi, so we selected Miyagi’s, which was also the closest option (.2 miles away!) and used the directions options to help find our way.  Such a stress reliever after we had already spent three hours in the car trying to navigate our way to the hotel!

I was so excited with the convenience of the whole thing that I also purchased a certificate for a local sports bar, thinking we could use it another night we were there.  As it turned out, our schedule became pretty packed between the festivities and the game, so we didn’t make it to the second spot.  No problem there though, I just called Restaurant.com customer service and exchanged the certificate for a credit, which I will redeem for a Chicago restaurant at a later date.

While the new mobile app did not help Tom Brady and the Patriots, and didn’t prevent us from having to stop for gas or completely missing the Skyway on the way back, it definitely helped out dining experiences and made locating a restaurant in an unfamiliar city MUCH easier.  If you haven’t tried it out, visit the App Store and see for yourself!