Seattle Restaurant Changes

Seattle construction is currently booming and I was interested in how that reflected in the local restaurant scene. There are many food blogs and local news sites that cover openings and closings, but I found it too difficult to parse these in a regular manner. Fortunately I was able to use data from the City of Seattle business finder and used the restaurant classification or NAICS code as a proxy. Using the data in this manner makes an assumption that a restaurant will no longer have a business licence after it closes. I’m not sure how accurate this is but I figured it was as accurate as I could get short of hiring people on Mechanical Turk to phone every restaurant every week and ask if the restaurant is still open. To map each restaurant to a particular neighborhood, I used geolocation to map license address returned by the City of Seattle business finder. Obviously that does not work as well for Mobile Food Services (i.e. food trucks) but it still allows for an interesting comparison. This data is plotted at Seattle Restaurant Changes.

I initially attempted to scrape data from The Stranger but after finding the City of Seattle site I just used BeautifulSoup for the scraping. I would not have been able to do much more beyond that state if it had not been for Nathan Yau’s excellent tutorial on making maps with category filters. I was able to get a state level shapefile for Washington state from Zillow and then reduce that to just Seattle neighborhoods using R’s sp package. Full code posted on github