Scroll through Tyler Groenendal’s profile on Google Maps and you’ll immediately notice one thing: the guy is really, really passionate about onion rings. He’s written 47 detailed reviews about them at places across the U.S. With his “Onion Ring Standard,” Tyler has definitely found a way to make his reviews stand out—and just in time for National Greasy Foods Day!
To celebrate this fun U.S. holiday, we spoke with Tyler to learn more about what it’s like to be an expert onion ring reviewer, his tongue-in-cheek approach to food reviews and his tips on what makes a food review great.
You seem very passionate about onion rings! Can you share more about that?
My interest in onion rings began in college, when I started to notice a correlation. Restaurants that produced good onion rings tended to be good at making other sorts of food. Gradually, this developed into a system of thought, one that I call the “Onion Ring Standard.” The theory goes that onion rings are simple, and easy to cheap out on—either in quality of ingredients or prep time—and still be passable, from the perspective of most people. However, if a restaurant goes to the trouble of hand-making onion rings, in a quality way with quality ingredients, it's indicative as to the effort they put into the rest of the menu.
What inspired you to start writing reviews on Google Maps?
Google Maps provided the largest immediate platform where my reviews of onion rings could impact and inform the most people.
What information do you think is important to include in your reviews of onion rings?
I review based on four broad categories.
Presentation and appearance — takes into account the plating, the quality of the batter, the color, and so on.
Taste — looks at the overall taste of the onion itself, the breading or batter and any accompanying dipping sauce.
Texture — looks at the overall mouthfeel, the crunchiness of the batter, the mushiness of the onions and so on. This category also accounts for overall structural integrity.
Value—Given the quality and quantity of the onion rings, and the price I paid for them, does it match up to be a good value?
Finally, a picture of the onion rings, as they look when they arrive, plated, at my table, is essential.