A Las Vegas pizzeria has been blessed with a boon of business thanks to a TikToker on the rise.
On Jan. 3, TikTok food reviewer Keith Lee shared a video to his many millions of followers that would change the fate of Frankensons, a Las Vegas restaurant that serves pizza, chicken wings and more. In the video, he recounts a story about how he came in one day and had a heartwarming experience with the owner, Frank Steele.
“Yesterday afternoon, I got an email from an employee of a family-owned restaurant here in Vegas,“ Lee says in the video. Lee explains that an employee asked him to come and try the spot because, while they think the food is delicious, Frankensons business was flailing.
The employee tells Lee about how slow it was at the shop and that the business couldn’t afford to pay rent as a result. They cite a lack of marketing as the culprit for their slow business, and while they would love a food reviewer to come review the food, the only offer they received from another influencer would’ve cost them $2,600.
“I didn’t charge absolutely anything and I bought my own food,” Lee says, pointedly. “This taste test is to really see: Is it really the marketing, or is the food bad?”
Lee shares a touching anecdote as he delivers his honest review of Frankensons' wings, pizza and garlic knots — all of which cost him $86.73.
“Frank was so dope. He took his time, he was patient,” Lee says of the owner of Frankensons, with whom he had a long chat about the business. Lee maintains that Steele’s kindness added another level to the already impeccable service at Frankensons.
Steele had no idea about Lee’s legion of TikTok followers nor his considerable power in the food space. One good TikTok review of a Chipotle hack from Lee recently caused it to go so viral, it ended up being added to the national chain’s menu.
“This is one of the best wings I’ve ever had, this is a 10,” Lee says after taking a bite of a lemon pepper chicken wing.
Other items he gives high scores to are the garlic knots, a classic Italian sub, the thin crust and classic pepperoni pizzas and the peach chutney wings. Lee is fair in his reviewing, however — he says isn’t such a fan of the fries or the ranch dressing.
Lee’s heartfelt and honest food review video has garnered an astounding 31.8 million views in a week, and according to Frankensons owner, was an unforeseen blessing to his business.
“I had this guy come in and didn’t know who he was, and I started talking to him because I like talking to all my customers,” Steele told local news station KTNV. “I asked him where he was from and what he did for work and that’s when he said he was a food critic.”
Steele said that business wasn’t so great for his four-month-old restaurant, and that he was “lucky if I did $400 a day.” According to Steele, though, it only took a few hours after Lee’s visit for the tides to change.
“Our phone never stopped ringing. I’ve sold more lemon pepper wings in the last two days than I have in the past four months. I made more garlic knots yesterday and the day before than I’ve ever made,” Steele said, choking up.
“It’s just been overwhelming. It’s been a blessing. This restaurant has been a dream of mine for 30 years."
Steele said Lee’s TikTok review brought Frankensons customers from Iowa, California, Utah and more. A look at a post on Frankensons' Facebook page shows people from all over the country — from Louisiana to Tennessee and more — clamoring to visit the shop the next time they’re in town. Some commenters say they’re making a trip specifically to visit.
But growing pains are inevitable. A TikTok posted by Frankensons on Jan. 4 apologized for wait times due to the sudden influx of business.
We apologize for the inconvenience to anyone who came in today and had to wait for a long period of time,” Frankensons wrote in a note on the video. “Please remember that we went from a small customer flow to an overwhelming amount of customers OVERNIGHT following an amazing tiktok review from Keith Lee.”
In a series of follow-up videos, Lee shares that he has visited Steele a few times since their shared virality, including customers posting about visiting Frankensons after seeing his TikTok.
“Frank! Bro, what,” Lee says to Steele in his most recent TikTok update. As Lee looks at the line outside the shop that his video caused, folks in line cheer. “This is crazy.”
“The response has been so overwhelming," Steele told KNTV. "I’m working to get stocked up on supplies and food. I am bringing everyone in to help. All I can say is thank you. This has been life-changing."