Tag Archives: food

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Student Spotlight: Hannah Bostdorff

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As a fourth-year student of the University of Georgia, 21 year-old Hannah Bostdorff is nearing graduation as a Consumer Journalism major. When she was only a freshman in May of 2016, Hannah began to use Instagram as a tool for accountability for her own health. Initially, she began to post her breakfast and lunch during her summer job. Hannah then realized that her platform, Hannah Harvesting Health, would help her to eat in a way that would make her feel better overall and could be used as a creative outlet to share fun and unique recipes.

Hannah’s page was not always at the level that it is today. It took some time to gain the following and confidence that her account now has. By consistently posting appealing content and engaging with others’ pages, Hannah was able to gain 10 thousand followers by April 2018 and currently has an impressive 30.5 thousand followers.  While it’s fun and exciting to run her account, Hannah noted that it is definitely tricky at times to keep up with while also being a full-time student. She knows that it is essential to allocate her time and resources to both school and her passion, which is of course her account, @hannahharvestinghealth.

Growing up Hannah always had a passion for cooking and baking, but she started navigating toward healthy options in high school in order to fuel her workouts and soccer practices. Later on through Instagram, Hannah really began to learn about nutrition and all of the amazing food and products out there. The knowledge she has gained through Instagram and various nutrition classes here at UGA has really solidified Hannah’s love for a healthy lifestyle and sparked her continuous desire to keep learning about food and how it impacts our bodies.

As most people have found out the hard way, it’s not easy to build healthy habits and it’s even harder to stick to them. Hannah’s advice to build healthy habits and turn those habits into a lifestyle is to “Just start somewhere!” While many people want to dive into a healthy lifestyle, they don’t take the right action. Hannah recommends not getting caught up in trying to follow someone’s exact lifestyle choices and instead focusing on what comes easily and is enjoyable for you. “You have to find what works for YOU and progress in that daily. In the end, finding what works best for you is going to be extremely beneficial to your health and well-being.”

As a food blogger, Hannah has created and recreated countless recipes and meals, but her go-to is oatmeal because on top of being tasty, it is also loaded with nutrients including healthy fats and proteins and it helps to keep you full. Because of Hannah’s social media success, she receives a lot of snack products like bars that she eats daily, but she also enjoys making homemade snacks such as energy bites and smoothies, which can all be found on her page.

One thing that Hannah has learned from people with similar accounts is that it’s important to just be yourself! As Hannah emphasized, “We each have something unique to bring to the table and that’s exactly what we should bring.” She also pointed out that when you embrace who you are can provide a lot of encouragement to yourself and others.

Aside from all of the delicious knowledge about food and health that Hannah has gained throughout this process, she has also gotten a lot of feedback from her followers. Many people have reached out to her not only about their love of a recipe, but also to let her know that they relate to her words of encouragement. Knowing that she is able to inspire people and make a difference through her posts is what keeps Hannah going and what makes the account mean so much to her. If you scroll through Hannah’s page, @hannahharvestinghealth, you can easily take notice of her incorporation of her faith into her platform. Hannah attested, “2 Corinthians 1:4 says “He comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort others” and I firmly believe that! [God] puts people in our lives for a reason and I just continually pray that I can be that comfort to someone who isn’t exactly walking a smooth road.” As you can see, Hannah is not afraid to be true to herself and to share that version of herself with anyone who views or follows her page.

As Hannah’s college chapter comes to a close, she plans to utilize both her major and her platform to pursue a food marketing career. Through her account she has been able to network with an amazing variety of people and brands, of which she is very grateful for. She hopes to focus her time and effort into her work and apply everything that she has learned so far to her future. Hannah is an inspiring young woman and I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of her in years to come.

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Athens Food Guide: Local Eats

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Are you in Athens for the weekend? Visiting a friend? Company event? Campus tour? Are you hungry and wondering what’s good around here? Well, this is your ultimate guide to food spots you can only find here in Athens, Georgia.

As a food lover, I’m always looking for to new places to eat and I prefer mom and pop restaurants, hole in the walls, or one of a kind restaurants. Cause what’s the fun in eating at a chain restaurant? (besides Chick-Fil-A)

As my undergraduate days come to an end, I’ve decided to create a condensed list of the food I’m going to miss and what I recommend current students, incoming students, alumni, or visitors to try! So lets start with $ to $$$ a.k.a my: “Budget Friendly Eats”, “Treat Yo-Self” and “When I’m With My Parents or On The Company Card.”

*Disclaimer: based on personal preference, and prices subject to change. Picture with * was found on Yelp.

Budget Friendly Eats:

  1. Cali n Titos
    • El Sandwich Cubano $6.45 (Your choice of steak, chicken, milanesa, or chorizo and egg. Served on warm toasty bread with lettuce, grilled onions, cheese, jalapeños, and mayo.) 
    • I recommend the steak cubano!
  2. Tlaloc El Mexicano
    • #2 Combinaciones $9.49 (One small burrito, one small quesadilla, and a mexican taco).
    • I recommend all steak or chicken! The burrito is smothered with queso and their portions are huge! So technically, this is two meals for me. 
  3. Mama’s Boy
    • Fried Chicken Biscuit $5.25
    • Yup, the hype is real and the line is worth it. Their chicken is huge and crispy, the biscuit is always warm and fluffy. Plus their table-side jam pairs so well with it. 

Treat Yo-Self: 

  1.  The Place
    • Shrimp n Grits $16
    • The grits are creamy and the shrimp is well seasoned. Oh, they also throw andouille sausage in there and it’s really good.  
  2. Kelly’s Jamaican Foods
    • Jerk Chicken Plate $12 (they change their price every time I come but it ranges from $11-$13)
    • Their Jerk Chicken comes with two sides and corn bread. I usually do mac n cheese and green beans! The jerk chicken is super flavorful and has a kick to it, so for you non-spicy eaters, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  3. Maepole
    • Build Your Own $10-13  (ranges depending on meat/non-meat choice)
    • I like to build my bowl with brown rice or quinoa, with chicken, tempeh or beef meatballs, roasted root veggies and beets as my two sides. So many different combinations you can do, and it’s healthy too!

When I’m With My Parents or On The Company Card

  1.  The National
    • Appetizer: Patatas Bravas $6
    • Main: Pan Roasted Oregon Flounder $29
    • The Patatas Bravas are potatoes topped with spicy tomato sauce and aioli. I love fish, and they like to change their fish of the day but the flounder is my favorite. 
  2.  The Last Resort
    • Appetizer: Carolina Crab Cakes $9.95
    • Main: Pilancilo & Black Pepper Crusted Hanger $22.95
    • Their crab cakes are cooked to perfection and topped with red pepper aioli. The hanger steak though… Tender and well seasoned, a must try!
  3.  Seabear Oyster Bar
    • Appetizer: Dozen Raw Oysters $18 (I usually go during happy hour 3-6PM, the oysters are $1.50 each!)
    •  Main: Lobster Roll $15
    • Oysters are perfect for sharing! The lobster roll is kind of small, but I’m a sucker for lobster rolls and they’re probably the only restaurant in Athens that serve them so it’s worth it to me. Also, they have complimentary seasoned oyster crackers and it’s amazing. 

Well, that concludes the food items/restaurants I recommend. Again, this is a super condensed list based on my preferences and recommendations! Trust me, I can keep writing about food for days.

I would also love to hear about your favorite place(s) in Athens or if you’ve tried any of these restaurants and what you ordered!

Happy eating!

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Phone Eats First: Which Athens Restaurant Takes the Cake?

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The time has come. One of the eight amazing restaurants I’ve reviewed over the past couple of months must finally be crowned the winner of Best Social Media Marketing. I must admit, it’s a tough decision. How do you choose one when all of them ultimately taste so good? Is it Five Bar? No wait, what about South? But then there’s always the newbie, Maepole; they have so much potential! Ok no, I know which one it is…the classic of all classics…Mama’s Boy!!!

That’s right, ladies and gentleman, you’re go-to-brunch spot is the winner. There’s no way I could justify not choosing them considering the fact that they have the largest reach and garner a great amount of attention compared to the other restaurants we’ve looked at. Maybe they have their food to thank for that, but what’s fair is fair. Let’s take a look below at some of my favorite Instagram’s of theirs from the past six months or so.

I mean, come on. It’s 11:00 on a Monday night and I’m considering leaving the comfort of my apartment to wait in line for Mama’s Boy to open tomorrow. But then again, it’s freezing cold outside so I take that back. If you haven’t gone to check out all that this delightful restaurant has to offer then you haven’t truly lived. Just be sure to bring some good company to keep you occupied while you wait for 2 hours in line to get seated.

I’ll be seriously disappointed in you if you’re reading this post and haven’t already left to go follow @mamasboyathens on Instagram. I promise you’ll regret not doing so, but your bank account won’t.

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Phone Eats First: How Trappeze Pub Markets Themselves Via Social Media

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Trappeze Pub is my all-time go to restaurant here in Athens. Whenever someone doesn’t know what they want to eat, I always throw out Trappeze as an option. It’s cozy, friendly, not too expensive, relatively fast, and most importantly delicious. Don’t get me started, though, on the fact that they took their chicken bacon ranch sandwich off the menu…I’m VERY upset about that. Don’t get me wrong, they have some pretty amazing alternatives, but nothing can compete with the CBR.

I’ve been following Trappeze on Instagram for a long time now and I am a loyal follower of theirs. It amazes me that every time they post I think they’re next post can’t get any better, but somehow it does. What I love most about their posts (besides how delightful their food looks) is the consistency in every one of their pictures. The plates are always placed on one of their wooden tables and typically features a beer that they serve on tap. The colors are warm and inviting and their pictures aren’t overly edited. Look at the picture below. It features breakfast as well as lunch/dinner. There’s healthy as well as comfort food. The food is colorful and perfectly placed within the frame.

While the posts featured above perfectly exemplify what Trappeze is doing right on their Instagram, the posts shown below appear a bit drabby and uninviting in my opinion. First off, the pictures are too similar. They only feature dinner plates, and to be quite honest the first two pictures don’t look super appetizing. The pictures are taken at the same angle and only show the wooden table in the background. Lastly, the beers are a tad repetitive. I’m being nit-picky here, but I want to be fair and point out what Trappeze could work on avoiding in the future.

Currently, Trappeze has exactly 3,000 followers and is following 290 people. They don’t trump Mama’s Boy all-time high of 8,500 followers, but I’m not totally disappointed in this ratio. Can it be better? Yes, especially considering the fact that Trappeze has so many things going for them in this hip college town. I haven’t seen a post that’s received over 103 likes, which isn’t horrible, but most of their posts don’t receive any comments at all. If Trappeze could just get their employees to like and comment on almost every post of theirs, more people would definitely begin to see it pop up in their popular page.

What a great way to end my series of reviews for these delectable restaurants. Don’t forget to tune in next week to see who takes the cake for the best Instagram!!

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Phone Eats First: How South Kitchen and Bar Markets Themselves Via Social Media

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Man oh man do I love South. You can never go wrong here…they have an amazing brunch (with some awesome Bloody Mary’s), a perfectly satisfying lunch, and an incredible dinner menu that makes you feel like you need to roll out of the restaurant. Now I thought last week’s blog post was the best review I’ve written yet but now I’m wondering whether this one trumps it.

To me, South always screams at-home southern cooking with a creative twist. And their Instagram portrays this vibe perfectly. Their pictures are warm and inviting and beautifully display their food, drinks, employees, and promotional events. They perfectly balance out their posts with a good mix of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options as well as their cocktails, beer, and wine. The shot below exemplifies this in the best way. Look at that pork, the chef blazing a fire, and their delicious frose and mule.

I really love that South changes the theme of their posts depending on the season. In the picture above we can see a pumpkin beer surrounded by some cute little pumpkins. In the summer, many of their drinks were placed outside on the patio and featured those fun paper umbrellas and bright, vibrant colors.

With 2,151 followers, South is definitely lagging behind some of the other most popular Athens restaurants like Five Bar and Mama’s Boy. I’m pretty surprised to see such a small number of people are following South considering it’s reputation among the Athens community and fairly reasonable prices. They’re following 431 people, which is about double that of Mama’s Boy. Their posts seem to average around 40 likes and 3 comments. I did notice that the posts which seem to garner the most attention include pictures of their dinner entrees and specialty cocktails so I would highly recommend increasing the frequency of those posts. That way, their photos will be closer to the top of people’s feeds and receive more attraction.

If South could get more Instagram users to view their photos, I can promise you more customers would be coming through their doors. In all honesty, though, I don’t want more people to view their profile because I can’t stand any longer of a wait when all I want to do is enjoy their green tomato benny on a Sunday morning.

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Phone Eats First: How Mama’s Boy Markets Themselves Via Social Media

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“Amazing food served everyday…A variety of fresh ingredients…Southern fun dining in Athens, GA.”

True. True. And true. I love Mama’s Boy!!! You can never go wrong with grabbing brunch here. The wait may be ridiculously long, but I’m telling you it’s more than worth it. I’m salivating just thinking about their biscuits and gravy.

I’m writing this blog at 10 in the morning and I highly regret doing this because I can’t stop scrolling through their Instagram and looking at all the amazing specials and incredible menu items they serve. I mean really, they’re sweet potato hash bowl with bacon, roasted squash and shisito peppers with eggs and herbed butter looks to die for and the countless cinnamon roll pictures are my all time favorite.

Alright, here comes the breakdown of their Instagram game. I want to start off by saying that I think Mama’s Boy is in the lead right now for best Instagram marketing out of the six other restaurants I’ve reviewed thus far. They seriously are doing so many things right. With 8,461 followers, they have the most amount of followers compared to all the other restaurants and they are only following 273 people so they’re ratio is looking really good. With all of these followers, they’re also getting a good amount of traffic on their posts, averaging around 200 likes and 10 comments. I am a tad confused, though, as to why their posts aren’t getting a more consistent number of likes and comments. For instance, a picture of their banana split pancakes got 294 likes and 17 comments while the picture posted right before, which is their split biscuit topped with smoked pork loin, fried artichoke hearts, poached eggs & herb hollandaise, got only 89 likes and 1 comment. Their profile picture is a simple, easy to find picture of their logo. They don’t need anything more or anything less. Now, onto the posts themselves. Wow. I mean wow!! Their food looks absolutely incredible. Obviously I’ve visited Mama’s Boy many times so I know their food tastes as good as it looks, but if for some odd reason you’ve never been, take my word for it.

Do you see these blueberry pancakes, steak and eggs benedict, and breakfast scrambler special? My stomach is now growling. The food is perfectly placed in the first two photos to highlight the best parts of the food (which is every part really) and I love that they threw in a picture of their chalkboard, it just gives it a more homie and traditional feel.

I also love that every so often, Mama’s Boy throws in a  picture of one of their employees holding up a plate of their food. It allows viewers to get to know the employees a little bit and it makes me feel like their employees genuinely enjoy working at the restaurant. It makes me wonder if the plate the employees are holding are their favorite dish at the restaurant. Maybe I’m just thinking too far into things, though.

If I could post more pictures of Mama’s Boy’s Instagram I would, but I genuinely can’t choose which ones deserve the most credit. You have to go check it our for yourself; but, make sure you’re not hungry like I am.

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Phone Eats First: How Lindsey’s Culinary Market Markets Themselves via Social Media

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Lindsey’s Culinary Market describes themselves as a “farm to table” dining and catering restaurant serving a variety of fresh options daily. I know what you’re thinking…another one of those trendy restaurants that’s popping up all over the place and trying to market themselves as a fresh, healthy option for eating out. To be honest, this is what I thought when I first decided to review Lindsey’s Instagram. I’ve actually never been to the restaurant before, but after viewing their profile page I cannot wait to get myself over there.

The first thing I noticed when I pulled up Lindsey’s page is how bright, vibrant, and dare I say fresh their food looks. They feature a wide variety of their foods, ranging anywhere from their granola and yogurt that you can try for brunch or their pumpkin bars that would serve as a delicious dessert. Although they showcase so many different menu options of theirs, the photos still offer consistency in that they are all edited with the same filter and have a fairly neutral background (i.e. the tables in their restaurant). The photo below, showing six posts Lindsey’s made, exemplify this perfectly.

Look at how inviting this looks, I even want to scarf down the vegetable and humus tray.

I don’t know about you, but I actually never heard about Lindsey’s Culinary Market until I decided to do some research on Athens restaurants for this blog series. According to their website, they are a new store that just opened, and being in such a competitive food environment, they have a lot of work (aka marketing) to do. Of course, their Instagram is a great starting point, but they seem to be struggling a bit with their follower base. Lindsey’s only has about 800 followers. If they could get this up to above 2,000, I can guarantee you they will begin seeing more traffic in the restaurant. I mean look at me, the first time I went on their page I was dying to try out their food just ten seconds into my browsing.

I also want to point out something that Lindsey’s has done that no other restaurants I’ve reviewed have done – they have four different series of Instagram story highlights, including Specialties, Mexican, Greens, and even a Game Day story highlight. I love that they’ve done this because it adds another dimension to their page that makes them stand out a bit. I must note, though, that they definitely need to add more content to their highlights because they’re all pretty short.

The last point I want to mention is how perfectly balanced Lindsey’s profile page is regarding showcasing their food as well as their employees that are creating and delivering their food. I appreciate the fact that every once in a while, lInsey throws in a post that features an employee. Look at the man barbecuing below as well as the lady serving whoopee pies for game days. It’s nice to be able to see the people in the kitchen that are crafting up their delicious food for customers.

To sum up this post, I believe that Lindsey’s is doing a great job of showing viewers their delicious food, inviting atmosphere, and friendly employees. For being a new restaurant, they’re certainly doing many things right. The main critique I have is that they need to increase their reach if they want their social media pages to get more customers through their door.

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Phone Eats First

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In today’s society, people love showing off their food that they order at restaurants. Capturing the beautifully plated food before anyone touches it is a huge trend these days. These photos are posted on Instagram or Snapchat mostly, but I’ve seen them in many other platforms like Twitter and Facebook. It’s become a known thing to not touch your food when you’re out to dinner with friends until everyone has taken pictures of their food.

On these social platforms, users will use #phoneeatsfirst. There are even entire Instagram profiles dedicated to posting pictures of food for people to browse and find new restaurants to eat at. If someone wanted to find a new restaurant that was around them, they could search the hashtag and look at exactly what restaurants have on their menus.

It’s amazing to me that social media these days has come to this point of people showing off their food. I’ve definitely been part of this trend though, I love posting pictures of my food to my Snapchat story whenever it’s beautifully plated or just looks good to eat in general. Sometimes people will ask me where I got the food from and I tell them, so I guess in a way it’s free advertising for restaurants and puts a little pressure on the restaurants to make beautiful-looking food so that people will want to take pictures of it and post about so that word gets around about their restaurant. Good word-of-mouth marketing is always a positive thing for any business and this is just one way that the food industry can get in on this and benefit from it.

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Phone Eats First: How Heirloom Cafe Markets Themselves Via Social Media

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The owner of Heirloom Cafe & Fresh Market describes the restaurant as “a farm to table” establishment that serves high quality ingredients sourced from local producers, farmers, and artisans in a warm, welcoming, and at-home environment. A quick browse at their Instagram really does give off this vibe as it provides the perfect mix of content that focuses not only on the food they provide but also the community events that they attend and host themselves.

As I scroll through Heirloom’s Instagram feed, the first thing I notice is that when they post a photo of a dish they serve, they tell us not only what is in the dish but also where they actually got those ingredients. You can see in the photo below a perfect example of Heirloom showcasing a beautiful plate of food that they have created that’s all sourced from local Athens vendors.

On another note, I really appreciate how Heirloom has made their Instagram page a bit more personal than other restaurants. Heirloom is a family owned restaurant so it’s nice to see pictures every once in a while that really tie in with the family like atmosphere that customers feel when they go there to grab a bite to eat. The posts seen below make followers feel like they really know the people behind the camera. After all, who doesn’t want to be friends with the bartenders, servers, and chefs at a restaurant?

Now for one of the more important aspects of restaurants Instagram pages: their spread among social media users. Heirloom has a decent follower base with just over 3,600 followers but could potentially gain more followers by following more people (currently Heirloom is only following 570 different accounts). When comparing this to previous blog posts I’ve made, it’s obvious that Heirloom doesn’t have the same reach as Five Bar but they are doing better than Grindhouse Burgers. They seem to have an average of about 70 likes per post but the majority of their posts don’t receive any comments. Interestingly enough, though, I noticed that the posts which receive the most likes and comments aren’t actually pictures of food, but are pictures of the restaurant itself – mostly involving renovations that were made to better the aesthetic of the restaurant. The surprises me considering the fact that Heirloom has some pretty delicious looking dishes.

In the end, it’s obvious that Heirloom is marketing themselves appropriately via Instagram because the posts on their page closely align with the overall atmosphere and vibe of the restaurant. The only thing they need to improve upon is increasing the number of users that follow them and like/comment on their posts because this is such an easy way to increase consumer awareness of the cafe.

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Phone Eats First: How Grindhouse Killer Burgers Markets Themselves Via Social Media

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Does Grindhouse really have “killer burgers” as their name suggests? Technically this blog series isn’t here to decipher the best and worst burger restaurants in Athens, but if it were, Grindhouse would come in towards the top of the list. It’s cheap, fast, convenient, and has an awesome rooftop bar that becomes many people’s go-to hangout spot after a victorious UGA football game.

But, is their Instagram game as great as their burgers (and fried pickles)? Long story short; no. To start, when I first opened their page I was a bit disappointed to note that only one out of their fourteen most recent posts actually showcased something from their menu. This is a huge lapse in judgement considering that so many of us prefer to go online to look at the different foods and drinks that restaurants offer before we actually order. Take a look at this screenshot below and judge for yourself whether or not you would find this page appealing at first glance.

Notice how Grindhouse even triple posted similar pieces of content nearly back-to-back when promoting their “Dining with Gratitude” initiative. Sure, it’s a great cause that they should be promoting, but viewers need some variety and excitement in order to stay interested and engaged. Don’t get me wrong, I love that Grindhouse is consistently letting their followers know about the event their having, but they need to think more outside-the-bubble when promoting and advertising the event.

On another note, Grindhouse really needs to increase their reach on Instagram. They are following a mere 374 people and only have 610 people who are following them. Both of those numbers are surprisingly low since the restaurant attracts such a broad range of customers. They have all ages of people coming in to their restaurant, ranging from children who want a hot dog, fries, and a milkshake to the older crowd looking for a hearty burger to go along with their beer. Because of their low follower base, they also aren’t receiving a lot of love when it comes to likes and comments. This is what kills their page because without people liking and commenting on their posts, few people are going to notice that Grindhouse even has an Instagram thanks to the new algorithm that showcases posts based on the amount of traction a post receives.

Now I do want to mention one of the positive takeaways I’ve noticed about Grindhouse’s Instagram. Their main focus is to showcase the different events that they have going on in the restaurant. Whether it be their “Dining with Gratitude” benefit or their “Dirty South Trivia” that they host every Monday, their followers definitely know about these things because they post about them regularly. Why is this a good thing? Well, if Grindhouse is promoting their events consistently on Instagram, they are likely to get some of their followers to bring their friends in to the restaurant, which gets the ball rolling on word-of-mouth marketing.

At the end of the day, Grindhouse could better their social media marketing by revamping their Instagram. It’s as easy as increasing their follower base and posting more pictures of their food and drinks. Trust me, if more people saw how delicious their burgers look, they could have a line out the door even at 11 in the morning.


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SPARKsouthSeptember 28, 2018
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