Early last month, popular TikTok food critic Keith Lee broke the internet after touring restaurants in Atlanta and leaving, well, less than flattering reviews, particularly regarding the service at select eating establishments in the city. As ATL’s dining scene got dragged up and down social media—especially after celebs like Cardi B weighed in and cosigned Lee’s assessment—many people, especially native ATLiens, felt that Lee’s negative reviews might hurt local Black-owned business, among other complaints.
Well, Lee is trending again, but this time, he’s using his influential powers for good.
According to Blavity, Lee recently made a stop at a dessert shop in Pearland, Texas, called The Puddery. The place’s owner, Janel Prator, first posted a video on Instagram last weekend and talked about how her business has been struggling.
“There are times where I only have two customers, there are times where I can’t pay my bills,” Prator said through tears. “I left my job to pursue this business twice…I walked away from my career, I walked away from my benefits. And it’s all my choice; I made the decision because I had a dream.”
But things changed after Lee paid the shop a visit, which Prator called “an opportunity of a lifetime for a business like mine.” In fact, not only did Lee give The Puddery a glowing review, but he left a fat tip in appreciation for the food and service he received.
As Blavity previously reported, Lee announced on Nov. 19 that he was planning to make a stop in Houston. When he got word of Prator’s story, Lee visited The Puddery in Pearland, located just outside of Houston. Lee fell in love with the shop’s desserts and left a $2,000 tip, the Houston Chronicle reported. A day after Lee’s visit to the shop, customers flocked to Prator’s business and formed long lines outside to try her sugary-sweet creations.
In his TikTok clip, which received nearly 9 million views, Lee showed love for Prator’s Oreo “Croffle” and signature banana pudding, saying he’s “not even a sweets person” but calling his visit to The Puddery “immaculate.”
“I’m not even a sweets person. This is immaculate. I’m not gonna lie, for them not to be out the door, I’m absolutely speechless. I don’t say this often,” Lee said in his TikTok video. And as a result, The Puddery, indeed, saw lines “out the door” the next day.
The Puddery wasn’t the only Black-owned establishment in Texas to benefit from Lee’s good word. KHOU 11 reported that Lee also posted a favorable review of Cool Runnings, a Jamaican restaurant in southwest Houston. Lee gave the restaurant’s brown stew chicken a 10 out of 10 and called it “some of the best food in Houston,” adding that, “Houston has a plethora of places to choose from. Houston has some of the most diverse and biggest array of food since we’ve been on food tour.”
Lee also reportedly learned the restaurant’s tip jar, which contained roughly $50, was stolen, so he replaced it with a $1,000 tip and paid for everyone’s orders in line.
Meanwhile, Houston locals who were already put on to Cool Runnings expressed concerns (some jokingly, some not so much) that the restaurant will be packed from now on.
Sounds like the Houston area’s dining scene is having some of those good problems Atlanta wishes it had. The lesson here is the best thing a Black-eating establishment can do for itself is be ready for a visit from Keith Lee.
See social media’s response to Keith Lee’s Houston food ratings below.
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