Hailing from a small town in New Jersey, Kyle Robertson of @beantownbitez has made it his mission to conquer the city of Boston, #foodiestyle. He grew up in a food-obsessed family, with a mom who loved to cook and the rest of the gang who loved to seek out all manner of culinary adventures. Now, Robertson is his friends’ go-to for all things Boston food scene, giving recommendations on where to find the best donuts and how to snap a great pic for the gram. Read on to learn about his fave spots, some crucial photography tips, and his advice for those just starting out in the influencer world.
Tell us a little about yourself. How’d you end up in Boston, and what inspired you to create your Instagram account?
I was born in Flemington, New Jersey, but have lived in Nazareth, Pennsylvania for most of my life. All of my family is in New Jersey, so I still have a pretty strong Jersey accent. I came to Boston in 2018 to attend Northeastern University. I will be graduating in December with a degree in biology and have just applied to medical schools, hoping to start in 2023! Growing up, I was always surrounded by and learned to appreciate quality food. My mom is a fantastic cook and made great homemade meals. When eating out, we loved to explore and try different restaurants. This stuck with me as I came up to Boston. During my first semester at Northeastern, I tried to throw myself into the city and would always go out and wander by myself. I would try different food places, take pictures, and report back to my friends. It was not long until they convinced me to make beantownbitez. I thought it would be just a fun little thing to do. I never expected it to grow and have such a huge impact on me and my time in Boston thus far! The account has been a fantastic creative outlet to give myself a break from my studies.
What makes the Boston restaurant scene special?
So many things!! Given that we are in a major city, I love all the variety. There are so many options to satisfy any craving! I also would describe the scene as trendy and quickly growing. I am constantly finding new restaurants to go to, and they each are so unique and have something I am dying to try.
Name the top five dishes on your Boston food bucket list.
- Donuts from Kane’s Donuts – It’s not really a dish, but Boston has turned me into a proud donut snob. My personal favorites are the Strawberry Frosted, Turtle, and the monthly specials.
- Baklava pancakes from Brookline Lunch – These pancakes are so unique and delicious. Definitely a must try!!
- Chicken Marsala from Strega North End – The marsala sauce is fantastic and the fusilli with the chicken is one of my favorite pastas in the North End
- Short Rib Lasagna from MIDA – Normally I am not a lasagna person, but this is absolutely incredible. Have it with an espresso martini! Mida has one of the best espresso martinis in the city as well.
- Grilled Crack from Mike & Patty’s – Nothing beats a good breakfast sandwich. The name speaks for itself.
What do your friends and family think of your life as an influencer?
My family and friends absolutely love the fact that I am an influencer. My parents love to tell their friends about beantownbitez and a whole bunch of them follow it even though they are hours away from Boston. I also love to spoil my family and always pick up some of my favorite goodies before seeing them. This typically consists of donuts from Kane’s or pastries from Bakey (@bakeybabka).
My friends are my biggest hype men. They love to help spread the word about the account, ask me for recommendations, and go with me to try new places. They consider themselves my sidekicks since they always help with the lighting, holding items in specific orientations, and most of all, waiting to eat their food until after pictures are taken.
What’s your food photography philosophy, and can you share your top tips for taking awesome food photos? Do you use any fun tools or equipment for snapping the best ‘gram worthy photos?
To me, the most important aspects for a good photo is the background and lighting. You want to make sure the characteristics of the food are being highlighted well without any distractions. If the food item can be held, I love to use a basic wall as the background. When the food is on the table, I make sure to move all the extra silverware and items out of the way. Once the background is determined, the next and most important aspect is the lighting! If possible, always go natural! Natural light is by far the best light. When photographing at night, I always make sure to have some kind of extra light. I am not a huge fan of using flash, so I always use the flashlight on friends’ phones, or I bring my portable light.
What advice would you give someone just starting out as an influencer?
The advice I would give is to be authentic and to have fun with it. Use your creativity to make the page and your photos exactly how you want them to be. Do not try to mimic other accounts, people will be able to see through it! I would also recommend not putting too much pressure on gaining followers and likes. Have fun with it, trust the process, and let it be organic
Which Boston restaurants and chefs are nailing it on social?
The accounts are so well organized and very aesthetically pleasing.
Beyond chefs, what are your top three favorite food Instagram accounts to follow?
Favorite spot that everyone should try once: Rino’s Place – such an amazing hidden gem
Favorite place to splurge: Krasi – I love to try a whole bunch of different things on the menu!
Favorite brunch spot: Committee or Caffe Luna – I’m a big brunch guy, it’s impossible for me to pick just one
Favorite pizza joint: Mortadella Head – by far the best pizza place in the area!
Favorite neighborhood for food: I would say Seaport because there is a little bit of everything there! Recently I have been really into Cambridge restaurants as well.
Favorite spot to take visitors from out of town: Woods Hill Pier 4 – incredible food + a beautiful waterfront view = 10/10 experience.
Favorite foodie book or movie: To be honest, I am not a huge reader or movie watcher. I love food TV shows though, especially Nailed It and Worst Cooks in America.
Meet The Tastemakers is a monthly column that shares the stories of those contributing to the conversation on Boston’s food scene.