Food Critic Keith Lee Sparked a Debate About Restaurant Culture in Atlanta — What to Know

The TikTok-famous restaurant critic shared his “unique” and “frustrating” experiences while trying to enjoy the Atlanta food scene

<p>Keith Lee/Instagram</p> Keith Lee

Keith Lee/Instagram

Keith Lee

Keith Lee had a whirlwind weekend in Atlanta.

The TikTok-famous restaurant critic, who has over 14.4 million followers on the platform, recently shared his “unique” yet “frustrating” experiences while trying to enjoy the Atlanta food scene.

On Monday, Lee, who normally reviews Las Vegas eateries, shared his initial experience visiting Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burruss’ restaurant, Old Lady Gang. In a candid TikTok video, he discussed how he showed up, but ultimately didn’t get to eat at the restaurant.

He was unsuccessful in ordering takeout because Doordash said the restaurant was “temporarily closed.” When Lee stopped by the restaurant in person, he sent his family in to order for them, but they were met with disappointment. “On the weekends due to being busy, they don’t do any takeout at all. Which is completely understandable,” he recalled.

Lee said the wait for a table was going to be 1-1 ½ hours and that's when he decided to go inside. Once the staff saw the famous food vlogger, they said the table was ready.

<p>Keith Lee/TikTok</p> Keith Lee

Keith Lee/TikTok

Keith Lee

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“As always, I don’t want any special treatment. I want to be treated like everybody else. I pay for my food like everybody else,” he said. “I’m a normal person. I’m a normal customer.”

After that, he walked out to eat somewhere else. “I am frustrated. Me and my family are just trying to eat food,”  he continued in the video. He then added that “everyone is human” and he does “not condone shaming this business.”

“Atlanta has definitely been a unique experience for me and something I’ll never forget,” he added.

In her own TikTok video, Burruss responded to Lee in a statement. “I do appreciate Keith Lee for stopping by our restaurant and trying to show us love. It is very unfortunate that we couldn’t serve him and his family. We would have loved to,” she began in the clip.

The Bravo star then reiterated that her business doesn’t take to-go orders on the weekend to ensure quality service for seated customers. “We don’t want to overwhelm our kitchen,” she added.

Burruss once again thanked Lee for bringing his family to dine at Old Lady Gang. “Maybe next time we’ll still get a chance to serve you,” she said.

The Atlanta hot spot isn’t the only restaurant where the content creator ran into speed bumps. In another TikTok video posted on Tuesday, Lee shared what happened when his family went to Toast on Lenox and The Real Milk and Honey.

“This week has been insane,” he started the clip.

After leaving the first restaurant, they tried Toast on Lenox, which had a 2½ hour wait, prompting them to leave. “When we walked out, the entire staff walked behind us. They attempted to implore us to stay and said we could sit down immediately,” he recounted. “Again, I’m not the target audience for that.”

Lee and his family ended up getting takeout and imploring the owner and manager to give the table offered to them to a group of diners who were waiting for over an hour. “The staff and the owner were extremely accommodating,” he said, adding, “The food was good to me.”

The TikTok creator then shared how Cardi B spoke about the whole situation on a livestream, agreeing with Lee that “eating in Atlanta is such an event.”

The last restaurant that completes Lee’s saga of Atlanta dining mishaps occurred at The Real Milk and Honey. In another video, he explained that his family was denied ordering takeout in the establishment since they “closed early for deep cleaning” even though he alleged that people were still walking inside to grab their orders.

“I do not agree, support, condone tearing down these businesses,” he said, adding that the staff were kind; they were simply relaying their policy.

“The only reason I’m even making this is to share my authentic and real experience,” he said. “I don’t mean no harm. I don’t have no malicious intent. I always say I’m going to be 100% honest.”

The restaurant put out an official statement, apologizing for the policy interference.

“Today, we extend our apologies to all as we address a recent incident that highlighted a review from a high profile food blogger,” the statement read. “In no way were we trying to discredit anyone, if the comments came across as such, kindly accept our apologies.”

They also highlighted the importance of listening to customer feedback and said they have “started internal corrective actions with our team regarding communication styles.”

“The house rules that are circulating are outdated, and current one is to be published soon on our social platforms,” the statement continued. 

Lee concluded his Atlanta recap video on a positive note, sharing the local businesses he and his family supported. “Shout out to every single person that we met while we were there. The hospitality from the locals in Atlanta – crazy,” he said.

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