FORT WORTH, Texas (February 8, 2024) – Renowned TikTok food critic and mixed martial artist, Keith Lee, surprised restaurant-goers and staff at Taste Project’s Taste Community Restaurant in Fort Worth last Thursday, his first and only Fort Worth stop on his DFW Food Tour. Lee is best known by his 16 million social media followers for making unplanned visits to local restaurants in various US cities to sample and rate the food on a scale from one to ten.
In his review, the food critic said Taste Community Restaurant is “…one of the dopest restaurants I’ve ever seen.” The organization’s mission is to feed, educate, and serve our community so they may ‘…taste and see the Lord is good’, Psalm 34:8, which according to Keith Lee, is a mission he personally agrees with, “one thousand percent!”
@keith_lee125Taste Project taste test 💕 would you try it ? 💕 #foodcritic♬ original sound – Keith Lee
Founders Jeff and Julie Williams envision their community as part of the solution to food related challenges, so they established a nonprofit, pay-what-you-can restaurant that focuses on healthy, chef-prepared meals made from fresh ingredients that are available to all. Taste Community Restaurant has become a beacon of hope and support for individuals and families facing hunger and food insecurity.
Since Lee’s visit, Taste Project has experienced what his fans call, ‘the Keith Lee effect.” The organization has seen a substantial increase in diners, both those who need a meal and those who can help pay it forward for a neighbor in need. Most of the staff are volunteers, and the organization has seen a 25% increase in the number of volunteer signups. The number of Culinary Job Training Program applications has nearly doubled. The organization is also beginning to see online donations to support a second location in Arlington as a result of Keith’s visit.
“I’ve always known God’s plans for Taste Project were bigger than Fort Worth”, says Jeff Williams, founder and executive director. “I’m always excited to see who God uses on this journey, and I am grateful that today it includes help from Keith Lee!”
Second Location Opening Soon
Keith Lee is very fond of the pay-what-you-can restaurant concept and shared in his Taste Project TikTok video, with nearly 8 million views, that he would like to see this type of restaurant everywhere. The Fort Worth location is the first Taste Community Restaurant establishment, but a second location is already being prepared at 200 N. Cooper in Arlington, Texas. A fundraising campaign is underway, with approximately 20% remaining to complete the new restaurant, projected to open before summer.
Located within walking distance of UTA, Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, and numerous Downtown homes and businesses, the future Arlington restaurant will bring affordable healthy food choices where they are needed most in Arlington. The location is also easily accessible through Arlington’s affordable citywide on-demand public transportation service, Via Rideshare.
TikTok sensation Lee believes this pay-what-you-can model should be “shined, celebrated and highlighted.” With support from advocates like him, the restaurant is poised to make an even greater impact on the lives of Arlington residents as they anxiously await the launch of the next Taste Community Restaurant.
Don’t miss your chance to be a part of ‘the Keith Lee effect.’ You can help by following Taste Project on social media, donating online to support its expansion, and connecting directly to participate.
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UPDATE: Taste Talk Episodes
About Taste Project
Taste Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit established to feed, educate, and serve our community so they may “…taste and see the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8. We believe everyone should have access to healthy nutritional food. Our vision is to see our community become the solution to the challenges our community faces as it relates to hunger. Our first project, Taste Community Restaurant at 1200 South Main Street in Fort Worth, focuses on healthy, quality meals made from fresh ingredients. Our menu has no prices. This is a give-and-take concept. We ask guests to do one of the following: 1) pay what you can afford, 2) pay what you would typically pay, or 3) pay what you would typically pay, plus a little extra. In 2024, Taste Project will open its second Taste Community Restaurant location at 200 N. Cooper St. in Arlington. To learn more, visit us at www.tasteproject.org or find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and now TikTok.