Mike Schulte says he always had a big appetite. It’s what prompted him to chronicle his New York City food adventures on social media. And with more than 259,000 followers on TikTok in the two-and-a-half years since he began, it’s clear that things have really taken off.
“I saw things blow up in a way I have never seen before on social media,” Schulte said. “It went incredibly well… so much better than I expected.”
Born and raised in Queens, Schulte said he can’t pick one favorite, because for him it’s all about letting his gut call the shots.
“That’s the beauty of New York,” he said. “You can eat so many different genres of food that it’s hard to be like ‘I gotta have this’ or ‘here try this.’”
He has shared numerous dishes from more than 250 food establishments all across the city, from delis to fine dining and everything in between.
Now, thanks to his success on social media, Schulte has just written his first book highlighting 99 of the best places he has reviewed across NYC.
The book is based on his own social media content, which he organized and hand-selected, with the goal of sharing these spots with both the native New Yorkers who have eaten at these establishments most of their lives and those who are just trying it for the first time.
“Good food is about good food,” Schulte said. “There’s not often exceptions.”
In addition to publishing his own book, Schulte has used his online presence to create his own marketing agency, Its Your Boy Mike Marketing, which shares its name with his social media presence.
“It’s really opening a door for me that I kind of pushed shut for a while,” Schulte said about his endeavors with marketing. “Sometimes I’ll just show up, shoot a video, post it, and show up again randomly.”
During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became difficult for restaurants to remain open. However, thanks to social media influencers like Schulte, a number of local hotspots continued to keep their doors open.
“Social media, in general, had a big impact on how we consume,” he said.
Despite competition from such renowned guidebooks as Zagats and Michelin, Schulte remains confident that his book is more concise, offering more than just “34 different Thai places in the area.”
He said that he hopes the book will be successful enough to where he can continue to put one out every year.
“Over the course of a year, a bunch of things will probably happen… some places may just be significantly better than what was in the book previously,” he said.
Schulte also says that he hopes to expand the book into other cities, bringing other influencers in to share their experiences in other parts of the country.
In addition to working on the book, he plans to continue expanding his presence on TikTok and through his social media marketing agency, which specializes in “Invite Only” networking events that range from intimate dining experiences to lessons and training with the chefs.
To check out his exclusively digital ebook visit 99placesyoumusteatinnyc.com or https://www.tiktok.com/@itsyaboymikeofficial for more content from restaurants throughout the city.