Dallas/ Retail & Industry
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Published on January 24, 2024
Viral TikTok Food Critic Keith Lee Targets Dallas Eateries, Eyes Impact on Local Culinary SceneSource: Krista, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dallas is preparing to welcome a heavyweight in the arena of online food criticism, as Keith Lee, a TikTok star with a knack for influencing the fate of eateries, sets his sights on the city's diverse culinary landscape. Lee, whose reviews can skyrocket a local restaurant's popularity or mark it for struggle, plans to feature Dallas establishments in his upcoming content.

The social media force and former MMA brawler has amassed a veritable army of over 15 million followers, and his every verdict on dining hotspots can tip the scales in their favor—or trigger less-than-savory reactions, as with the case in Atlanta where the unfortunate mix-up led to the staff at one restaurant receiving death threats, as reported by FOX 4 News. Undeterred by the occasional turbulence, Lee is poised to sink his teeth into Dallas's finest offerings, categorizing his targets into three: under-the-radar quality joints, local darlings, and cultural flagbearers.

"If you, or somebody you know has a family-owned business that has great food, great customer service and could use the marketing, let me know," Lee said in his video, laying down the criteria for his selections. The palpable impact of his reviews on local businesses is not to be understated, with each of his videos racking up millions of views and copious social media reactions, tracing the far-reaching influence of his critiques.

Lee himself, the younger brother of fellow professional MMA fighter Kevin Lee, is no stranger to the limelight, utilizing the platform in ways that carve out a trajectory for restaurants desperately in need of exposure. Recent changes to his review process, following previous criticism, include throwing open the gates of recommendation to his audience, with Lee stating, "Food Tour Improvements & Announcement 💕 Dallas Tx we'll see you soon 💕" in a TikTok post and disclosing plans to use Instagram polls as a thermometer for public opinion, according to information from NBC DFW.