TikTok food critic Keith Lee slams Bay Area over safety concerns; leaves $2,500 tip

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Saturday, January 13, 2024
TikTok food critic Keith Lee slams Bay Area over safety concerns
TikTok food critic Keith Lee's visit to the Bay Area was cut short as the social media star had an allergic reaction and was concerned for his safety,

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Alysse Williams says it was a big deal when TikTok influencer and foodie Keith Lee made a stop at her restaurant The Luxe Box in West Oakland.

"It was good for me as a mother to prove my kids, right!" says Williams.

But the Bay Area didn't seem like a big deal for Lee, who has over 15 million followers.

He says in his TikTok video: "The people of the Bay were absolutely amazing. I will never forget the hospitality, the love that you all showed me. But I truly don't believe the Bay is place for tourists right now. And that is what I was. A tourist. The people in the Bay are just focused on surviving."

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Though he alluded to the "Bay" it appears that most of his time was spent just in San Francisco and Oakland.

Lee says he wanted to try out some smaller establishment around the Bay Area, like The Luxe Box. Williams served him jerk lamb, basa fish, yams and macaroni. It was a hit.

But Lee announced on social media that he is cutting his trip short. An allergic reaction, some bad food experiences and safety concerns top his list.

"I definitely feel like we are all in survival mode, trying to figure things out. The cost of living is extremely high. I think he hit it on the nose," says Williams.

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But she adds, for those who live here, they know how to navigate their neighborhoods and communities. And despite the hardship, her hard work pays off. Friday marks the one-year anniversary of her store. And she is turning profit.

"I definitely struggled. We have our ups and downs. But I have a good support system. I have a partner. He has always helped me. My daughter, my children - they are my support system. We struggle of course. But stick together," explains Williams.

Many have criticized Lee's assessment of the entire Bay Area based on just a few restaurants and neighborhoods. But he was impressed with The Luxe Box. He left a $2,500 tip.

"I am taking my kids to Hawaii next week. We are looking to fix our building. We have been here for a year. So we are looking to put signs. Paint our windows, paint our building. So I am going to use it towards that," says Williams.

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