Keith Lee will return to Atlanta for a restaurant “redemption tour”.

Photo credit by Atlanta Breakfast Club

TikTok food critic Keith Lee will return to Atlanta as part of a “redemption tour” of cities he visited last year for restaurant reviews. But Lee won’t be returning to the same Atlanta restaurants, instead taking the opportunity to check out other establishments suggested by locals following him on TikTok. 

Lee has become famous on social media for his uncomplicated, everyman approach to restaurant reviewing. He’s easy-going and endearing on camera making him highly relatable. However, southern hospitality was sorely lacking when he was last in town, with Lee’s 2023 Atlanta visit going over like a lead balloon. 

Two mighty food forces descended upon Atlanta over a week last fall: Michelin and Lee. The week started off celebrating the city’s restaurant scene with the arrival of the French tire company’s renowned dining guide. It soon turned upside down with Lee’s frank reviews of five Atlanta restaurants. 

What happened next went viral, with millions of Lee’s followers writing scathing critiques online of the city’s dining scene and debating whether the TikTok restaurant reviewer was right in his observations and what those observations said about Atlanta dining. Some felt Lee hadn’t done enough research on the spots he chose to review, which led to an overall unfair assessment of Atlanta restaurants.

Of the eight restaurants Lee visited in Atlanta that week, he called out five establishments for everything from puzzling service charges ($1 for butter) and “unique” rules to price gouging and clout-chasing after celebrities and influencers. 

While Lee did his best to reward the few restaurants he enjoyed with positive reviews, the Atlanta establishments he found less impressive became viral fodder on social media. Most comments were overwhelmingly negative, aimed at specific restaurants, the Atlanta dining scene, or Lee himself. Then there were the think pieces written ad nasausem about what Lee’s restaurant reviews did (and didn’t) accomplish.

The typically good-natured Lee, who almost always gets takeout and records his video restaurant reviews while seated in his car eating, took to TikTok to express frustration over the Atlanta visit. Lee said he and his family even received death threats. After reviewing restaurants in ten states in 2023, Lee ranked Atlanta last. The ranking was unsurprising. 

But some Atlantans urged Lee to return to Atlanta. Locals told him he got the wrong impression of the city’s restaurants and patronized places hyped up by influencers and run by ownership valuing the vibe over food and customer service. People encouraged Lee to consider the many small, family-owned establishments that could use a boost from his fame and spoke of restaurants around Atlanta offering a variety of cuisines representing countries from all over the world. 

In a recent TikTok, Lee posted about his upcoming “redemption tour”, including revisiting Atlanta later this year. The Atlanta leg of the tour will also see Lee bringing security. “We’re coming to eat food. Meet the people we’re supposed to meet. Do what we’re supposed to do. Mind our business. . . We come in peace,” Lee said in the video, adding that he wasn’t coming to cause trouble.

Commenters on the post suggested Lee check out Black-owned establishments like Triple Jay’s Pizza in Midtown, Plant Based Pizzeria in Virginia-Highland, Jay’s Deli in Decatur, and the Scrum Brunch in Lawrenceville. People shouted out restaurants up and down Buford Highway, in cities like Jonesboro and Duluth, and further afield in towns like Pendergrass, Georgia, and the food court at Pendergrass Flea Market, an hour east of Atlanta. Restaurants like Fred’s Meat and Bread and Mukja Korean Fried Chicken also received mentions.

Just when and where Lee will visit remains to be seen. But his return to the city will likely be a newsworthy food event whether Atlanta likes it or not.

Source link


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *