foodtwitter

Philly Twitter Power Rankings: 11 must-follow accounts to keep up with the food and restaurant scene

Whether you’re into food news, food photos or food-centric GIFs, these are the folks who lead the way.

Not saying it’s a hardship, but Philadelphians come face to face with the tyranny of choice when trying to decide where to dine out these days. It’s great to live in a city with such a vibrant restaurant scene, but it can be near impossible to keep up with the rapid pace of new openings, chef swaps and neverending rain of specials and events.

Then there’s the question of the politics behind it all. What ingredients are sustainable, and how much does it matter? Who is or isn’t being paid a fair wage or getting benefits, and do tips figure into the equation? Should chefs cater to diet and allergy trends? What kind of reviews actually matter?

Happily, we’ve got an extremely active group of locals who post daily tweets about all of the above — overall, Philly food Twitter is strong. Here are the top 11 accounts to follow if you want to stay in the know (and stay hungry).

1. @marcvetri

Been tweeting since: May 2010

No. of followers: 22.9k

No. of tweets: 14.7k

Why it made this list: Many of those who knew Marc Vetri back in the day, like his business partner Jeff Benjamin, are surprised at what a powerful platform this wisecracking chef has created here. He’s done it by not holding back on issues from the importance of fixing school lunches to the benefits of heritage wheat (he’s an unabashed gluten booster), voicing his opinion without sounding like he’s giving a sermon. There’s a sense of humor mixed in, plus rabid Eagles fandom, a little bit of Jiu Jitsu zen, and, of course, tons of incredible food pics from his many restaurants around the region.

One of our favorite tweets:

2. @CraigLaBan

Been tweeting since: May 2011

No. of followers: 15.3k

No. of tweets: 4,840

Why it made this list: Twitter is one place where a food critic can offer off-the-cuff opinions and hold discussions with the general public without giving up his anonymity, and the Philadelphia Inquirer’s influential reviewer makes the most of it. He’s known for bringing everyone into the conversation by making the majority of his replies public (i.e. structuring them so they don’t start with an @-handle), and also posting close-up food pics that let us see what a critic might eat (and drink) on those rare occasions he’s not on an official review.

One of our favorite tweets:

3. @foobooz

Been tweeting since: July 2007

No. of followers: 39.2k

No. of tweets: 35.7k

Why it made this list: Adamant Flyers fan and former IT guy Art Etchells basically created Foobooz out of thin air, using his early adoption of Twitter to expand popularity of his home-grown blog about the city’s surging food and drink scene. Happily, even though Philly Mag snapped up his brand and talents, he continues to personally run this account, which means it’s a mix of hot-off-the-press food news plus actual insight into what’s good, new or classic in local food. This man straight up loves Philadelphia.

One of our favorite tweets:

4. @phillyinsider

Been tweeting since: September 2008

No. of followers: 22.2k

No. of tweets: 10k

Why it made this list: You want Philly restaurant news, and you want it first? There’s really no question that Michael Klein is the one to follow. A veteran reporter who’s worked the food scene here for more than two decades, this man has a healthy obsession with being at the forefront of the curve — and an even deeper enthusiasm for clever puns. You’ll rarely see off-topic tweets in this stream, but he is generous, linking to plenty of relevant stories by his Inquirer/Daily News/Philly.com colleagues and writers beyond.

One of our favorite tweets:

5. @FederalDonuts

Been tweeting since: January 2011

No. of followers: 16.5k

No. of tweets: 16.1k

Why it made this list: Pics of donuts are always great, especially when they’re the colorful treats out of this CookNSolo-affiliated mini-chain, but there’s only so much interesting you can say about them. That’s why FedNuts managing partner and Philly native Felicia D’Ambrosio has taken this account way beyond the donut. Posts highlight the best this city has to offer, from great dishes and deals to philanthropic endeavors and events, but the most valuable part of this follow might be that D’Ambrosio’s wired into all the hot Twitter memes. If you want to keep abreast of what’s trending, this is the account to keep an eye on.

One of our favorite tweets:

6. @cookphilly

Been tweeting since: March 2011

No. of followers: 6,224

No. of tweets: 11.3k

Why it made this list: The play-by-play from Audrey Taichman’s Rittenhouse kitchen-classroom gives you a look not only at what the city’s top chefs are doing, but also all the sous chefs, line cooks, catering startups, pastry whizzes and local producers who make their way through the boutique kitchen. As run by Cook director of operations Michelle Flisek, this account also highlights everything else great about Philly’s dining scene, regularly shouting out awards, specials and charity events across the city.

One of our favorite tweets:

7. @FidelGastro

Been tweeting since: March 2009

No. of followers: 2,241

No. of tweets: 13.8k

Why it made this list: A professional engineer by trade, Marcos Espinoza was one of Philly’s OG food bloggers under the nom de guerre Fidel Gastro. Blogging is so 2009, though, so while his posts like the “Why did I eat this?” examinations of fast-food monstrosities are missed, what he serves up on Twitter nowadays is even better. If his pop-culture Photoshop mashups and GIFs of local food celebs don’t make you laugh, you’re basically dead inside. Also notable: His side hustle is making Side Project Jerky, some of the best dried beef around.

One of our favorite tweets:

8. @eaterphilly

Been tweeting since: May 2011

No. of followers: 16.1k

No. of tweets: 6,059

Why it made this list: There’s a lot more that makes up a food scene than just openings, closings and specials, and that’s where Eater comes into play. Gossip, intrigue and behind-the-scenes intel get played out on this account, and now that new Philly editor Alex Tewfik is on the beat, there’s plenty of breaking news, too. If you want to keep up with what restaurant workers themselves are reading, this is the follow.

One of our favorite tweets:

9. @JosePistolas

Been tweeting since: April 2009

No. of followers: 3,502

No. of tweets: 8,368

Why it made this list: There’s no real reason that the account for a Center City Mexican-themed beer bar should be the best place in Philly to find the perfect reaction GIF, but the fact remains true. If you’ve met Jose Pistola’s co-owners Joe Gunn and Casey Parker, you’ll recognize that the zany humor of this account — run by Nick Cejas — fits their zeitgeist perfectly. Even if posts sometimes seem to have zero to do with their restaurant, Cejas knows that everything is connected: If it’s funny, damn right it’s relevant.

One of our favorite tweets:

10. @phillygrub

Been tweeting since: July 2008

No. of followers: 14.4k

No. of tweets: 15.5k

Why it made this list: Marilyn Johnson is another of Philly’s old-school food bloggers, but one who actually hasn’t stopped putting up posts on a near-daily basis. Even though she’s since moved across the river to South Jersey, she maintains an intense interest in the city’s restaurant goings on, and she’s relentless in helping promote specials, openings and events. News comes mixed with a fair amount of anecdotes, offering first-person insight into meals and deals across the region.

One of our favorite tweets:

11. @BlueDuckPhilly

Been tweeting since: November 2013

No. of followers: 1,718

No. of tweets: 3,726

Why it made this list: The food’s good and the decor is classy and all, but a big part of what’s helped this BYO restaurant in Northeast Philly gain Center City cachet is this Twitter account. Blue Duck staffer Nick Cammarota has a background as a freelance writer, so in between plenty of varied food porn, the commentary is witty and sharp. There’s also plenty of interaction with anyone who tweets back — make sure to click over into the “& replies” section to see his humor at work.

One of our favorite tweets:

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