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Food critic leaves $3,000 tip at Toronto restaurant

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Celebrity food critic Keith Lee dropped a $3,000 tip at a Toronto restaurant over the weekend, but it’s the “Keith Lee Effect” that leaves a lasting impact.

“We had crowds, lineups right away,” Rodney Best, owner of Afro's Pizza at Dundas and Jarvis streets, said on CP24 Tuesday. “It has been helping our business a lot.”

Lee’s food reviews have garnered more than 16 million followers on TikTok, establishing a phenomenon known as the “Keith Lee Effect” that bolsters businesses after paying a visit.

For his first taste test outside of the U.S., Lee ventured on a “FamiLee Food Tour” in Toronto over the weekend.

In two days, he visited four joints. At Afro Pizza, he tried several slices, and indulged in the mac and cheese, ranking it an 8.5 out of 10.

“A little more sauce and this would be super hot. This has got the most flavour I’ve had in a long time.”

Lee left a $3,000 tip in his wake, and another $1,000 for Afro Pizza to hand out free slices for the rest of the night. “Once he left, we gave away free pizza to people for three hours,” Best said.

Celebrity food critic Keith Lee visits Toronto for his first tour outside of the United States (TikTok).

For Biscuits to Baskets in Ajax, new faces started appearing in their tiny chocolate shop, located in a backyard shed in a quiet neighbourhood, soon after Lee paid a visit. “We're excited to see a lot more new faces,” Victoria Fliegel, Biscuits to Baskets shop manager, said on CP24.

“This is the most Canadian thing I’ve ever done,” Lee said, sitting in his car holding a box of baked goods in a TikTok video. Though he doesn’t have a sweet tooth, Lee gave their Korean sponge toffee latte an eight out of 10.

“It means a lot to our family,” Fliegel said.

Fliegel admitted that her family had never heard of Lee, and didn’t know his wife had come in for a box of baked goods before Lee made his own appearance after hearing about the customer service.

“It was some of the best customer service they’ve ever experienced,” Lee said, of his family’s feedback.

With an influx of business from the "Keith Lee Effect," Fliegel said they’re aiming to buy a better coffee machine to serve more customers.

“We’re definitely all in shock, overwhelmed, but we’re really excited to see what comes of it.” 

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