Food is arguably one of the best facets of life. Who doesn’t look forward to a nice home-cooked meal or a fancy dinner featuring the chef’s best? To a rising elite group, food is more than just a meal, it’s a lifestyle. Enter Instagram’s newest influencers, the food ‘grammers. We chatted with some of Philly’s best Instagram foodies who boast impressive instagram followings.
BIO: These two rising college seniors have built one of the largest Instagram food followings local to Philadelphia, all while going to school full-time and taking on internships to bolster their professional portfolio. Originally started three years ago, before the pair went to college, @Swagfoodphilly now has over 80 thousand followers who scroll through their feeds daily for juicy burgers and the hottest spot for happy hour deals. While the connections they’ve made through @Swagfoodphilly are some of the most rewarding aspects of the job, the food is still one of the biggest perks. “We’ve tried so many amazing restaurants around Philadelphia that our friends literally think we’re their personal Yelp.”
Favorite Philly Food Spot: The Double Knot for everyday treats and Vernick for a fancier dinner out.
Food They Can’t Live Without: Pizza and Pasta
Surprising Fact: The charitable side to food-gramming. “We get to use our platform to raise awareness about charity events with our followers. One of our favorites was the Think Local, Give Local Benefit for the Garces Foundation this past March.”
How to grow your Instagram following: “There are definitely things you can do to get more attention on Instagram like tagging certain accounts and using hashtags, but ultimately it depends on your content.”
BIO: Another foodie who didn’t expect her “passion project” to grow into such a popular page, Lea Thierman, originally started @philmytummy in December of 2015. Since then the Instagram page has grown into daily-updated blog as well. For Thierman, her favorite aspect of running a food ‘gram and blog is learning about the history and development behind restaurants. While Thierman was learning about restaurants and attending restaurant openings, her following grew to 18k, a number she never thought she’d reach. “We were just so excited to reach 1,000 followers, let alone the 18,000 we have today.”
Favorite Philly Food Spot: “If I had to pick just one restaurant, I’d have to say Birra.”
Food she can’t live without: Pizza!
Surprising Fact: Thierman’s website offers a full list of food events to go to in the area in addition to product reviews and the best restaurants to try in the city.
How to grow your Instagram following: “Connect with other people in your area who share your same interests.”
BIO: Following a similar timeline to the Swagfood duo, Mollie Dronson started @Phillyfoodies about three years ago. “I had posted three food photos in a row on my personal Instagram, and decided I should just start a food account.” Since then, Dronson has accumulated almost 70k followers and has become one of the most influential foodies in the area. Although Dronson has utilized her platform to foster opportunities with brands, often times posting sponsored posts, she still considers this a hobby. “I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t having fun and enjoying myself.”
Favorite Philly food spot: “The Continental Midtown. I am obsessed with Stephen Starr restaurants, but Continental Midtown is by far my favorite.”
Food she couldn’t live without: Pizza
Surprising Fact: Because of her success with @phillyfoodies, Dronson teamed up with fellow food-grammer Lauren Carroll, of @love_phillyfood, and founded City Chew LLC-- a content creation and Instagram management service to help brands and restaurants grow their social media presence.
On how to grow your Instagram following: “Post frequently, somewhere around two to three times a day, and use a curated list of hashtags. Doing those simple tips will improve your chances of being re-grammed by a larger account, which will most likely get you some new followers!”
BIO: Having a well-known foodie Instagram account is awesome, but running it with your significant other is even better. After moving in together two years ago, Danya and Joseph Levine decided to document their dates. Philly foodies loved the idea, and have stuck with them ever since. “We were eating out all the time anyway, so why not document it?”
Favorite Philly food spot: Any of Solomonov's Restaurants, especially Abe Fisher and Dizengoff.
Food they couldn’t live without: Soup, particularly ramen or tom kha or chicken noodle, and a high-quality, fatty burger. Or doughnuts.
Best Memory: Running into the band Simple Plan, who was on tour at the time, and getting backstage passes and tickets to their show at the Fillmore the next day while tasting food for @phillyfoodforeal.
How to grow your Instagram following: Stick with a central message and stay true to your brand.