As the Yelp Houston Community Manager, I often get asked by business owners, newbie Yelpers and other members of the Houston community: "Who are these Elite Yelpers?" Aside from being the most authentic, social and influential members of the Yelp community, Elites certainly set the standard for what Yelp's all about – having a passion for local businesses and sharing that local love and knowledge with others.
So starting this month, Yelp Houston will spotlight members of the H-town Elite Squad in a series of 'Meet The Elite' blog posts!
...Starting with Ako E, Yelp Elite since '09 with a whopping 349 reviews, 258 photos and counting!
Why did you first start yelping?
I stumbled upon Yelp when I was looking up the phone number for a hair salon I was using at the time. The review was old and not very favorable, so I decided to write about my experience. After I wrote my first review I was hooked!
What do you love most about Houston?
Bayou City, Space City... Houston is a great place to live. What I love most about our fine city is the people. Houston is considered the most diverse city in Texas (and the US!), and it is very apparent with the choices of restaurants we have here. And of course, the down-right friendly people living here...
Current favorite local biz in Houston:
My ultimate favorite restaurant in Houston is Izakaya Wa! Convenient location that serves up really outstanding Japanese food. They serve the comfort food my mother used to make, and they change their specials often. Chef and owner Akira has created a wonderful restaurant that serves up high quality and very tasty dishes.
Favorite local biz photo that you personally snapped:
Seared sashimi at the aforementioned Izakaya Wa
What's your favorite Yelp memory to date?
My favorite Yelp memory was the Yelp Houston's Holiday Hoedown at Winter Street Studios. I really enjoy open events, especially ones that are charity driven. It was amazing to see how many showed up to support SEARCH Homeless Services by donating blankets and sweaters. The venue was plenty big to handle the large turnout, a wonderful variety of food and drink vendors, and the entertainment kept everyone tapping their toes ensuring it was a successful evening.
People who love ___ should follow me on Yelp!
People who love burgers should read my Cheeseburger in Paradise list! My love of burgers started when I was very, very young; and I would ask my mother each night if we were going to have hamburgers for dinner (go ahead, ask her....she'll tell ya I did). This list is comprised of all the good, great, and spectacular burgers I've tried.
When you're not Yelping, you are...
Traveling! I love hitting the road, taking a train or being flown to some sort of fun destination. From small trips to Galveston to foreign destinations like my recent trip to Japan, my love of travel is shared through my reviews.
Want more? Keep up with Ako E's reviews, photos and tips at ako.yelp.com
About the Yelp Elite Squad: The Yelp Elite Squad is our way of recognizing people who are active in the Yelp community – people that 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. You must use your real name on your account, have a real (and clear!) profile photo, and be of legal drinking age in your country. You can read more, and even nominate yourself at yelp.com/elite