Facebook Groups for Dallas Foodies Drive Discovery of Local Restaurants
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During the worst winter storm Dallas has seen in decades, Facebook users found a way to use their love of food to help their neighbors. As of last year, Facebook groups set up to promote local restaurants have done so with great success. When blackouts made it difficult to access food and heat, they helped with that too.
Just days after restaurant closings were ordered in March last year, Vu Ly and Tran Loh formed the private group Asian Grub in DFDUB (DFW) with the aim of helping Asian mom and pop restaurants survive the pandemic. Within six weeks the group had grown to 19,500 members; now there are almost twice as many.
Over the past week, countless posts have shared offers for free food and other support. A daily pinned post contains a google map of open restaurants asking for additional comments.
Even before the Snowpocalypse, the site often had dozens of posts a day. Restaurant owners who are Recognized Members can post directly on the page. This is an insider’s treasure map for pop-ups, soft openings, and specials.
Other members might ask where to find Yen Ta Fo or who has the best Nam Khao in the area. Regular contributors share their favorite hot chicken spots and sushi restaurants.
There is also a single monthly thread for homemade groceries for purchase. Moderators insist on keeping this thread within themselves so that the focus remains on brick and mortar restaurants where customers need to keep them in business.
Funny memes come to the side, but kind of not, drama. Despite Facebook’s (deserved) reputation for being full of boomers and karens, active members (who post) seem to be different in terms of both age and ethnicity. Political posts don’t make it through moderation, and the occasional disputes that arise are quickly closed.
While the group manages to avoid the inconvenience that can be widespread on Facebook, you must have a Facebook profile to join the group. Requests to join must be accompanied by responses to three non-intrusive questions and consent to group rules.
The same goes for Black Owned Restaurants DFW, a private group with over 51,000 members. This group was formed on the second day of the George Floyd Police brutality protests with the intention of showing support for local black-owned businesses.
Catering companies, personal chefs, and cottage companies often post here with direct message orders. Stationary restaurant promotions are offered here, some of which come from satisfied customers and others directly from the restaurant owners.
Last week, crowdsourced open restaurants, available delivery options, and free hot meals were revealed, including generous deals from Trucker’s Cafe and Gran’s Kitchen.
City-specific groups have been formed for much longer and maintain a steady flow of restaurant information despite fewer members.
A Taste of Irving was created in 2015 to share culinary experiences in local restaurants, food trucks, pop-ups, and more. With only 5,400 members (and far fewer active ones), the group does more than just promote Irving restaurants.
Last April, Group Admin Mark McKee used his stimulus check as seed money for something called “Project Gift Back”. McKee and other administrators found donations, bought gift cards at local restaurants, and gave them to frontline workers and workers on leave. In total, the group handed out nearly $ 6,000 worth of hot meals and brought in the necessary revenue to troubled businesses.
Before the winter storm, the group’s timeline was a mix of restaurant posts and well-photographed restaurant reviews from McKee and a handful of other members. From Birria Tacos and Barbecue to Momos and Po Boys, the group helps Irving locals navigate one of the most diverse food scenes in DFW.
Unsurprisingly, in the past few days, the focus has once again shifted to helping neighbors, which is no surprise. A member pre-purchased over 30 pizzas from Pizza Patron and explained to those in need how to claim one. Another employee took a picture of a milk case in the supermarket and gave the location. If anything makes a business in the wilderness of Facebook worthwhile, it could be.
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