OAKLAND, Calif. - It's the Bay Area's turn! TikTok luminary and gastronaut Keith Lee found his way to Oakland and San Francisco as part of his food tour.
The former MMA fighter turned food critic visits restaurants and food shacks throughout the country with his family.
Part of his modus operandi is filming inside his car, but more importantly, not letting the restaurant owners know who he is. Lee typically orders through delivery apps, and when that is not possible, he sends in a "FamiLee" member to order food on his behalf.
He does this to get an honest review of the food and no special treatment for either the meal itself or customer service.
Oftentimes, after he finishes his food, he would reveal himself to the restaurateur, especially if he was impressed by their service or dishes.
Lee has become so influential that many businesses he praises have transformed completely, seeing record sales and lines stretching out the doors and down the block.
In Pearland, Texas, dessert shop The Puddery fell victim to the "Keith Lee Effect," where the business saw such an incredible increase in orders that it had to temporarily shut down because it couldn't keep up.
But his critiques are not without controversy. Lee visited Atlanta late last year, the part of his tour where he "barely ate."
In one situation, his people were told there was a two-and-a-half-hour wait, but when he presented himself, they were told they could be seated immediately, an offer Lee declined when he learned others who came before him had still not been seated.
Death threats against his family have also been reported, according to sports journalist Jemele Hill. Additionally, restaurants have received death threats as well over poor reviews of their customer service and food. Only in one particular situation, the wrong restaurant was targeted, causing Lee to address his audience condemning the threats and not to take his reviews to heart.
Before coming to the Bay Area, Lee said he received "warnings" about the area due to burglaries, specifically bipping. Lee put out a PSA saying he'd done his research and how his native Detroit has made him more than prepared for anything that may come his way.
His visit to the Bay Area is off to a decent start, with Oakland's Chef Green getting mostly positive reviews over his tacos.
"Seeing the product he's able to push out in the environment he's cooking in made me extremely impressed," Lee said in his TikTok video. "Chef Green is one of those people who remind me of why I do what I do."