TikTok's Vigilante Food Reviewers

These food critics are taking things in their own hands, one review at a time.


Food lovers from around the world are taking to TikTok and showing their support for small restaurants. No longer waiting for news sites to notice their favorite hometown spots, these reviewers take it upon themselves to shout out undiscovered gems in vigilante-like fashion.

Unless you're not as TikTok-addicted as we are, you may have heard of internet darling and food critic Keith Lee. Buoyed by a strong ethical code, Lee's food reviews have bolstered local businesses in his community, all while amassing millions of views. 

@keith_lee125 Frankensons Pizzeria Taste test 💕 would you try it ? 💕 #foodcritic ♬ original sound - Keith Lee

The pandemic undoubtedly wreaked havoc on the restaurant industry, with smaller businesses the hardest hit. Restaurants tucked away in strip malls, roadside stands, food trucks, and other unglamorous corners struggle to be noticed amongst larger chains. TikTokers have sought to remedy this, giving these spots their due with an honest review posted for the world to see.

Keith Lee's TikTok journey was no small feat. Previously an MMA fighter long before his overnight stardom, Lee's heartwarming commitment to helping small businesses skyrocketed his reviewing career. While Lee is no doubt endeared to mom-and-pop shops, he's unafraid to share his honest thoughts, giving everyone their fair shake. Lee's review for Frankenson's Pizzeria in the Las Vegas, Nevada, area gained 84.5 million views, changing the owner's life forever. 

Now collabing with YouTuber Mr.Beast for a mini-series, Lee's success proved to many the life-changing power of TikTok, both for small businesses and Lee himself. Others have followed his lead, singling out good eats in unexpected places from their very-own hometown. In addition, independent critics are taking it upon themselves to support their community.  

@mr.chimetime This JUST HAPPENED ‼️🔥 Thank Yall SO MUCH I LUH YALL‼️‼️❤️❤️ @backyardbbqpit . #ncfoodie #travelfoodie #ncfood #northcarolinafood #northcarolina #raleighnc #raleighfood #durham #durhamfood #durhamnc #raleigh #ncbbq #durhamfoodfinds #raleighfoodspots ♬ original sound - Mr.ChimeTime

To local restaurants, the attention could be the difference between foreclosure and long-term success. In an app full of toxicity, this new trend is one we want to stay. 

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