Pittsburgh food Instagrammers use social media to make mouths water

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Photo courtesy of Madison Myslewicz

Pitt sophomore Madison Myslewicz began her food instagram, @madisoneatss, to pass the time during quarantine.

By Hayley Lesh, Staff Writer

Scrolling through Instagram is a mindless pastime for many. But for food Instagrammers, the app provides an outlet to display their passion — and their appetite.

The past few years presented a new interest for Instagram users in the form of food accounts. Many users know food accounts across the globe for their delicious dishes, but local food Instagrammers want to showcase what Pittsburgh has to offer.

Madison Myslewicz began her Instagram @madisoneatss to pass the time during quarantine. Myslewicz said she feels overwhelmed by the positive response she has received since starting her page.

“I started posting pictures of my food and what I’m eating and day-to-day snacks. Then it kind of exploded into what it is now,” Myslewicz, an undecided sophomore, said. “I really had no intention of it blowing up like this, but I’m happy it did.”

Myslewicz plans to apply to the dietitian nutrition program through the School of Health and Rehabilitation. She became interested in nutrition nearly two years ago and likes to display some of her own healthy cooking on her page.

“I remember one that really got a lot of positive reaction on my page was I made this sweet potato mac and cheese,” Myslewicz said. “It was pasta but the sauce was a combination of sweet potatoes, greek yogurt, mozzarella cheese and it was just totally different and it looked really cool.”

 While Myslewicz’s account is fairly new, Anna Vitale, 19, and Felicity Orndoff, 21, started @getstackedaf in 2017. The account highlights various restaurants around Pittsburgh as well as restaurants in their hometown of Greensburg, located around 45 minutes east of the City.

Vitale said the idea to create a food Instagram came to her while waiting in line with Orndoff at Kennywood.

“We were standing in line at Kennywood for a ride, and I was like, ‘I’ve been seeing all of these food Instagrams all over my feed and different pictures of food,’” Vitale said. “‘It looks so fun. People just go around and post different pictures of food.’”

Vitale and Orndoff have amassed over three thousand followers within their three years of posting to @getstackedaf. Vitale said she enjoys seeing the account’s growth and trying out different Pittsburgh restaurants.

“I’m just super excited with where it’s been going. It’s crazy to see the amount of hidden gems there are in Pittsburgh,” Vitale said. “I think it just shows how interesting our City is with places for food and desserts.”

Another Instagrammer, Alex Goodstein, said running his account offers him opportunities to explore the Pittsburgh food scene. Goodstein, 33, started his Pittsburgh-based food Instagram @alexeatstoomuch in August 2017 to show off Pittsburgh dining, as well as his own cooking. Goodstein said he appreciates how his Instagram has encouraged him to try new foods within the local area.

“It gives you an excuse to get out of that rut of eating almost the same things all the time,” Goodstein said. “It makes me crave a list of places I want to try and dishes I want to try.”

Instagram is home to more than one billion active monthly users, as of January 2020. Despite such a large social media community, Goodstein said there are ways for newcomers to get noticed.

“If people want to stand out, they have to work on capturing the quality of the food and the quality of the photos,” Goodstein said. “But also it’s having something that is slightly different from everybody else in order to make it stand out.”

But food accounts require more than a quick shot — many foodies spend time crafting and editing the perfect picture for their feed. Goodstein said he uses a variety of techniques in order to capture the best photo of his meal.

“I will take the time to take the picture at different angles, different lighting,” Goodstein said. “If I have the option to move the plate to a different location where there might be better lighting I’ll do that.”

One of the biggest challenges food Instagrammers face is finding new restaurants to try. Elise Levkulich, 33, runs @burghnosh. She said that she prefers to look up what dining is available in her local area.

“I do follow along with a bunch of food Instagram accounts in the city but I also like to do my research,” Levkulich said. “I reserve the weekends for adventures so if there’s somewhere I’m going, I am going to look up what’s in the area.”

Levkulich has resided in Pittsburgh for most of her adult life. Although she said she tries other dining options within the city, she also has tried-and-true favorites like Gab & Eat in Carnegie, located around 15 minutes west of Oakland.

“They always serve breakfast and lunch until about noon. It’s a real down home feel. There’s always a line but it’s just really great, hardy breakfast,” Levkulich said. 

Levkulich said anyone who wants to start a food instagram should post what is most interesting to them personally.

 “Share what you like. I know there’s a lot of Instagrams –– which I love –– that focus on high-end or focus on one food type,” Levkulich said. “But really people will accept your authenticity a little bit more if you share what you like even if it’s not what everyone likes.”

And while running a food account can be a means of self expression, Myslewicz said she plans to continue running @madisoneatss because it integrates well with her day-to-day life.

“I didn’t expect for it to have this outcome, but it has grown into something that I thoroughly enjoy having aside from a personal Instagram,” Myslewicz said. “I would say it’s like a side hobby but it’s a side hobby that’s a part of my lifestyle.”

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