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Like many couples hitting the town for a bite, Chris Eigner and Devon St. Clair started scrolling through their phones to find a good place to eat. But much to their frustration, most restaurants have flash-filled websites that are difficult to navigate, much like this Oatmeal comic demonstrates.

So after dinner that night nine months ago, Eigner set out to make it easier for hungry consumers to locate menus. The result is a new app called Menuish that shows you menus from local restaurants in a format you can read on your phone.

The project was a joint effort between Eigner, St. Clair and Portland-based Upstart Labs, a business accelerator that has worked with startups like Chirpify.

“The idea started as a restaurant menu CMS platform, but we found restaurants didn’t want to manage their menus,” says Eigner, who lives in Portland. “So we pivoted slightly and built a restaurant search app.”

Eigner, a senior engineer at Upstart, got help from St. Clair on the design side and also online listings company Single Platform to help him curate all the restaurant menu data.

The free app lets you see menus, photos, ratings, and phone numbers so you can book a reservation. Users can search by food item or find the 40 closest restaurants to the current location. Facebook and Yelp are linked so that you read reviews.

Chris Eigner

Menuish was funded by a small amount of money and development time from Upstart Labs.

“They really helped whittle the idea down to a useful and approachable project,” Eigner said.

There are certainly many restaurant-related apps out there, namely Yelp and Urbanspoon. But Menuish is different.

“Yelp and Urban Spoon let you search restaurant names but not food items,” Eigner said. “If you are looking for pizza in your area, Menuish is how you have to do it.”

There are 1,159 non-chain restaurants currently listed in the app for Seattle. Menuish is available only on iOS devices for now.

Previously on GeekWire: Randomized food delivery service NomON takes 1st place at Startup Weekend UW 

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