About the Yelp Elite Squad: The Yelp Elite Squad is our way of recognizing people who are active in the Yelp community – people who are role models both on and off the site. Elite-worthiness is based on a number of things, including well-written reviews, high quality tips, a detailed personal profile, an active voting and complimenting record, and a history of playing well with others. Elites must use their real name on their account, have a real (and clear!) profile photo, and be of legal drinking age in their country. You can read more, and even nominate yourself at yelp.com/elite
Being the top reviewer in Broward-Palm Beach is no small feat. With more than 450 reviews in 2016, Andy V has reviewed everything from bakeries and nightclubs, to buffets and gyms. On a mission to win Reviewer of the Year for a second straight year, he has already written well over 100 reviews in 2017! Get to know one of the most prolific Yelpers in the country, in this issue of Meet the Elite.
Why did you start Yelping?
I started yelping in Pittsburgh back in 2011 at the advice of a friend of mine who thought I’d enjoy it since I went to school for journalism and love to give my opinion on things. I became Elite in May of that year and moved to South Florida in August. I kept yelping as a way to meet people, learn about South Florida, and find awesome places to go.
What does it mean to be Yelp Elite to you?
Being an Elite means that I’m lucky enough to experience certain activities, events, and restaurants I wouldn’t normally experience otherwise. To me, an Elite is dedicated to their community by trying so many different places and letting people know what’s out there. I take it seriously in the fact that I want my reviews to represent Yelp in a positive light; whether the review is a positive or negative, that’s another story. You’re kind of like the “Ask Jeeves” of food. People will reach out to me all of the time about things I’ve written and, to me, that’s great. Ask Jeeves is still a thing, right?
What are some tips on writing excellent reviews?
I think you have to put yourself in your reviews. Facts about the place are great, but nothing makes me happier or enjoy a review more than when I really feel like I’m at the restaurant with the reviewer because of how they’re telling the story. I’m that person talking about the window coverings and the lighting because I want you to be there with me.
What keeps you writing reviews?
I love telling stories. It’s who I am. If you know really know me, you know that I love to tell a story (especially one that makes you laugh). Writing reviews for different places pushes you out of your comfort zone. It makes you venture out into uncharted territory and you never know, you may just find your new favorite restaurant in the process.
The Top 3 restaurants in Broward-Palm Beach you recommend?
In no order:
BRGR STOP – Best milkshake and burger combo out there. They’ve got a Fruity Pebbles milkshake that is out of this world good.
Casablanca Cafe – My favorite lunch time spot. Right on the beach. Perfect for people watching. If you’re hankering for a drink, they typically have a heavy pour and my go-to is their chicken caesar wrap with these parmesan waffle fries that I inhale within seconds.
Los Bocadas – Nothing screams “my favorite meal of all time” like a taco shop located in a Chevron gas station. This was a Yelp find that I’m forever grateful for. You’d never know this place exists in Parkland because it’s inside a gas station. Everything is amazing. I can’t recommend it enough.
What’s your favorite Elite Event?
So I’m a nerd and keep a list on Yelp of all the events I’ve attended and written reviews for over the years. It was kind of fun to go back and relive some memories, but my favorite event overall would be Yelp BPB’s 3rd BurstDay @ Young At Art Museum. It was great for so many reasons. The first being that is was ’90s theme which is the best decade to look back at and make fun of. Seeing everyone dressed up was amazing. The DJ played ’90s music the entire night so we danced like crazy. It was a community event, not just an Elite event, so you got to see so many people that you typically don’t get to see. In some ways, these big events are like mini reunions which makes seeing them celebrating Yelp and the birthday of BPB even more special. It’s the kind of night where it’s not necessarily about the food or venue, but the people you’re with. And there were Pogs there. I mean, c’mon…
A close second would be The Second Annual Yelp Games at Whole Foods where I’ll forever be remembered as the guy who broke the red wine bottle on the conveyor belt at register 1.