The Breakdown by King Williams
The King Williams Podcast
New Podcast: Keith Lee, "Grass Wall Restaurants" and the Michelin Guide in Atlanta featuring Mike Jordan

New Podcast: Keith Lee, "Grass Wall Restaurants" and the Michelin Guide in Atlanta featuring Mike Jordan

This podcast is a connection point between my previous newsletter and my next newsletter. My next newsletter will be released tomorrow and focuses on the social media controversies of several Atlanta restaurants’ interactions with customers, including TikTok food reviewer Keith Lee. And the connections to a broader commentary on the brand of Black Atlanta + the Black Atlanta restaurant scene.

This podcast episode can also be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Substack!

—P.S. I can’t believe how much these topics have been moving everyone. I have seen everyone’s DM’s and emails and will reply by EOD tomorrow!

The Michelin Guide’s first set of awards is here.

In this episode of The Breakdown with King Williams, I talk to Mike Jordan, a veteran Atlanta food and culture journalist. In this interview, we talk about the wild week in Atlanta's food scene.

A week that includes the first-ever Michelin Guide winners and recommendations. As well as some of the notable omissions and surprises. This includes Mike’s thoughts on what he thinks the best restaurant is. Hint: it’s the same choice as the previous guest, Sara Delgado.

—You can listen to both episodes here: Part One: Preview and Part Two: Reactions.

Mike on Michelin and food in Atlanta

Markers of conversation: The episode starts at 2:00

  • 2:00-5:15 - Who is Mike Jordan, and his experience as an Atlanta food writer

  • 5:00-7:15 - The various media bubbles of Atlanta’s food scene

  • 26:07-33:10 - Mike’s choice for Atlanta’s best restaurant and is Atlanta restaurant scene delivering on a Michelin level?

  • 33:29-40:20- What restaurants should’ve received a star?

Keith Lee’s misadventures in the (Black) Atlanta restaurant scene

We also discuss the wild weekend of MMA Fighter turned TikTok food reviewer and influencer Keith Lee. Lee's misadventures in Atlanta's Black food scene. As well as the explosion of the online backlash to specific Black-owned restaurants in Atlanta. Lee’s everyman style of reviews has made him a celebrity on TikTok, granting him a Midas touch for small businesses.

Lee’s non-negative reviews and positive attitude met a rude awakening in Atlanta. Lee’s weekend visit as an attendee for the local-turned-national R&B/Hip Hop music festival, One Music Fest, led to a cacophony of press and social media unlike anything Atlanta has experienced in the modern era.

In this conversation:

  • 7:15-11:13 - Black Atlanta, Black food culture, and the brands of both

  • 23:45-26:06 — ‘The Keith Lee effect’ on small business

“Grass Wall Restaurants” and popular food hangouts

We discuss the role of "Grass Wall Restaurants," referring to trendy, social media and celebrity-driven restaurants that have angered its mostly Black clientele for years.

In this conversation:

  • 11:13-15:22 - The ongoing (Black) criticisms of (Black) Atlanta restaurants

  • 15:22-18:40 - A primer on grass wall restaurants

  • 18:42-23:45 - The ‘Atlanta’ experience, the loss of Atlanta cultural markers, and its impact on restaurants

  • 40:20-47:59 - Atlanta restaurant’s (bad) service reputation

  • 48:00-51:28 - Suggestions on what the food scene can do better

  • 51:00-56:46 - Does Atlanta compete with other cities’s food scenes?

  • 1:01:00-1:09:00 - Closing thoughts

Where can you find Mike

If you want to follow Mike on Twitter, he can be found ⁠@michaelbjordan⁠ on Twitter or at his website, ⁠⁠.

Again, this episode can also be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Substack!

What do you think about the Michelin Guide, Keith Lee, Black Atlanta restaurants, the Atlanta overall food scene, or something else?