For ten years, Yelp’s diverse community members have been sharing their local explorations, both online and off, and spreading the Yelp love from Mexico to Tokyo. In honor of the new year and another year of Yelping, we’re tipping our hats to a superstar Yelper who just hit a huge Yelp milestone: hosting his 50th Unofficial Yelp Event, a cozy group dinner at a hot, new Malaysian restaurant!
Introducing the one and only Yelp Atlanta Elite Daniel B! Daniel has been churning out solid gold Yelp reviews for over six years now and hosts monthly Unofficial Yelp Events (UYEs) in one of the most culturally diverse parts of Atlanta – Buford Highway. UYEs are events organized and hosted by some of Yelp’s most engaged local community members (separate and apart from the official events planned by local Yelp community managers) and can involve anything from wine tasting to horseback riding. Anyone with a Yelp account can RSVP. Each month, Daniel captains a group of people for a stellar meal of everything from tacos to Venezuelan delicacies. Last Friday night marked 50, count em, 50 UYEs for Daniel.
Looking for a new spot to try in the ATL? I always say, “just read Daniel B.’s review first” before heading off into the wild, blue yonder of Atlanta’s culinary scene. Don’t take my word for it, though – I’ll let you hear it from the man himself. Take it away, Daniel!
Q: How did you discover Yelp in the first place?
A: I was meeting up with my friend Jimmy after work one evening at Cypress Street Pint & Plate in Atlanta. I'd never been to Cypress before, so I Googled it. The Yelp listing for Cypress was one of the top search results. I clicked on it and saw Jimmy's wife had reviewed the business. I had no idea she was a Yelper or even what "Yelpers" were at that point. I clicked on her name, explored her profile, saw all the fun pictures she'd taken at Elite events, and just knew I had to join.
Q: What’s your day job? What do you enjoy doing when you’re not Yelping?
A: I'm an engineer. I work for an engineering and consulting firm in the utilities industry. In a nutshell, we help power companies make strategic decisions and also assist in regulatory proceedings. Outside of work, Yelp is my biggest hobby. When I'm not going out with friends and Yelping, I enjoy attending Georgia Tech men's basketball games (this is my 10th year as a season ticket holder), cheering on the San Antonio Spurs, traveling, playing golf with my dad, going to geeky conventions like Dragon Con, watching movies, and playing video games.
Q: What motivates you to throw so many UYEs?
A: The Yelp community motivates me. Not only are we gathering to try new and interesting foods, but we genuinely enjoy each other's company. We are like a family and we are constantly adding new members. Several Atlanta Yelpers' first Yelp event (official or unofficial) was a Buford Highway UYE. Some have gone on to become members of the Elite Squad! There are so many restaurants and businesses to explore on Buford Highway that I don't think we'll ever run out of places to check out.
Q: Tell us more about your 50th UYE! Why was this a special moment for you?
A: My 50th Buford Highway UYE was at Mamak, a relatively new restaurant that specializes in Malaysian street food. It's opened to rave reviews. I’ve organized a Buford Highway UYE every month since November 2010. If I'm already at number 50, that means I have been doing it for a long time! I'm just happy so many people have been able to enjoy them over the years.
Q: Can you name the top three businesses you’ve discovered through Yelp that you may not have found otherwise?
A: I've discovered hundreds of businesses through Yelp. Narrowing it down to a top three is difficult, but here are a few that come to mind:
1. Jeju Sauna & Spa Home of Wellbeing: Who knew Duluth had a little utopia inside the walls of Jeju Sauna? This place is super relaxing (if you can get over walking around without any clothes on).
2. Heirloom Market BBQ: Now one of Atlanta's most popular BBQ restaurants, I discovered Heirloom on Yelp shortly after it opened its doors next door to a nondescript package store near the Chattahoochee River.
3. The Painted Pin: This posh bowling alley and bar/restaurant is hidden on Miami Circle. If you're able to find it, they've got table tennis, indoor bocce, skee ball, shuffleboard, and more fun games waiting for you inside.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being part of the Yelp Community?
A: Without a doubt, all of the cool people I've met and all of the great friendships I've made. I love the friendliness and camaraderie as well as the diversity. Yelpers come from all over. Different ages, different walks of life. There are really no bounds. Among the Atlanta Yelp community, I've met fellow engineers, accountants, school teachers, a surgeon, a stand-up comedian…the list goes on and on. Despite our different backgrounds, we all share one hobby: Yelp. We enjoy going out, exploring our city, and sharing our experiences with others through our tips, photos, and reviews.