Social media popularity attracts customers to new OC eateries in droves

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Popularity on Instagram and other online platforms is attracting customers to some of Orange County's new social media-savvy eateries. (KABC)

For some new eateries in Orange County, the mantra is apparently: "If you go viral, they will come."

Honey & Butter, located at the Irvine Spectrum Center, is but one example. The new macaron shop is drawing customers who care just as much about the first photo as they do about the first bite.

"Everywhere we go, we only look at Instagram and like food places and from there we decide where to go," said patron Kathy Zhuo.

Husband and wife owners Pawel and Leanne Pietrasinski have amassed an almost cult-like following on Instagram thanks to their unique and ever-changing themed designs.

"We love it and want to bring the fan base together by creating these cute things and putting it into food," said Leanne Pietrasinski.

Speaking of cute, a few shops away you can find the country's first Hello Kitty Cafe, where the pastries and coffees are all marked with the popular feline character's face.

Thanks to social media buzz built from a successful food truck, the wait on opening day was more than six hours long.

"I saw it on Facebook and then I liked it and saved it," said Angelica McDonald, who drove from San Diego with her daughter.

Allan Tea, a co-owner of the Hello Kitty Cafe, marveled at the impact of its online popularity.

"You know, social media is crazy," Tea said. "We just got some news the other day that we did a billion impressions, which is an unreal number."

One restaurant in Huntington Beach even started an Instagram contest to see who could snap the best photo of their famous sandwiches pulling apart.

"Once social media got a hold of the spaghetti grilled cheese, literally the sales increased by like 400 percent," said Minh Pham, an owner of Burnt Crumbs at Pacific City.

Pham said the unique sandwich helped the restaurant and its social media presence take off. Now they're hoping their new pizza bread continues the momentum.

Still, all the owners agree: the photo gets them in, the food makes them stay.

"I still think it comes to our core value of being food, you still want to eat. It's not just for the looks," said Pham.

Related Topics:
foodinstagramsocial mediarestaurantsOrange County
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