Foodstagramming was not among the Oxford English Dictionary's words of the year. (The big prize went to "vaping." Eh.)
But 2014 was definitely the year Instagram-bragging about your entree was taken to a whole new level. More than 6 million people shared Instagram photos of food from restaurants in the United States.
There was backlash, especially from the nation's chefs who kvetched about all that time hot dishes were getting cold and cold dishes were getting warm while you fiddled with your Lo-Fi filter.
It's no surprise that chefs feel a little queasy about all these food photos zooming around cyberspace: Homage or outright intellectual theft gets a little easier if the latest New York sushi shaman's work is instantly and easily scrutinized by chefs all over the country. And then there's the cynical idea that restaurants are increasingly pandering to the Instagram set, focusing more on outlandish or intricate presentations and less on how things taste.
MyFab5, a restaurant discovery app, collected data over the past year about the most Instagrammed restaurants in the Tampa Bay area (Instagram doesn't publish stats on how many photos are taken at which restaurant).
There's a strong correlation between how many Instagram photos a restaurant has and its popularity — so congrats to these restaurants on both sides of the bay. Let's have a little fun and take a guess at just why these ones made the top 10 list.
1 Bern's Steak House, Tampa: The best-known restaurant in the Tampa Bay area, it's bragging rights plain and simple. (Here's the thing: The top four most-shared photos are of hot chicks; it's not until Photo No. 5 that the Delmonico steak comes in.)
2 Oxford Exchange, Tampa: Have you seen this place? It can't take a bad picture, from the cute little bookstore and "lifestyle" shop to the latte art and the grand black-and-white marble stairs.
3 MacDinton's Irish Pub, Tampa: The source of countless Tinder profile pics (swipe right on these ones, fer shur), MacDinton's has been and continues to be Party Central in South Tampa. Why? Because it has always been so.
4 The Bricks, Tampa: Not any food photos, but lots of gnar skateboard decks and stunt beards. The Bricks shralps! (I don't totally know what that means, but my skateboarding brother says it.)
5 Hogan's Beach, TampA: Yes, the biggest, blowsiest NYEve party in Tampa is the setting for no-one's-ever-had-a-better-time-than-this Instagram one-upsmanship. Surprisingly, none of Hulk Hogan doing the bicep curl.
6 Frenchy's Rockaway Grill, Clearwater: "Hey, folks, did I mention I'm on vacation? In Florida? Eating she-crab soup?"
7 Datz, TampA: Sometimes size matters. Datz is near the top for sheer audaciousness and I-double-dog-dare-you portions. Lots of pics of their chips.
8 Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant, Tampa: This one is heterogeneous: Attractive peeps in business attire, luminous glasses of wine and nicely presented plates. Taken together, this is pretty much the arena in which all the chains on Boy Scout Boulevard excel.
9 The Cheesecake Factory, Tampa: "This slice of cheesecake is bigger than my head. So is this chopped salad. Also, this seared ahi."
10 Buddy Brew Coffee, Tampa: Coffee does not get any food-pornier than Tampa's most progressive little java house. It's not all latte-art swirls; the pour overs and crazy drip devices inspire some caffeinated awe (I'm guessing lots of shaky-cam outtakes).
Contact Laura Reiley at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley.