Q&A: Food reviewer, UT-Austin alumnus Anthony Matthews talks running @thehungrylonghorn account

Zoe Tzanis

After a long day of online class and homework, the hunger sets in. The dreaded decision of choosing what to eat must begin. 

Knowing this predicament well, UT alumnus Anthony Matthews created @thehungrylonghorn, an Instagram account dedicated to reviewing local Austin restaurants. Since Matthews started the account in October 2016, he has gained more than 4,000 followers and visited 367 Austin restaurants.

The Daily Texan spoke with Matthews about the art of restaurant critique and growing a food Instagram.

The Daily Texan: Why did you start @thehungrylonghorn?

Anthony Matthews: As students, it’s hard to have … much free time, but the one thing you do have free time for is to eat. I found myself trying a new restaurant once a week, and I realized I had a lot of pictures of the food … I was like, “Maybe I should just make this a page?”

DT: Over the past 4+ years, how have you grown your influence?

AM: What (makes) me unique is keeping myself as more of a food critic rather than a blogger. What I mean by that is, oftentimes, a lot of bloggers when they highlight the food, they’ll highlight (the) good. They’ll show the pretty stuff, but I think a lot of the time, bloggers don’t really touch on criticisms. 

DT: What would you say is the ultimate mission of @thehungrylonghorn right now?

AM: A lot of us say we’re adventurous or say that we want to try something new, but we gravitate toward something we already know. My mission is to encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. 

DT: You do a lot of giveaways and partnerships with restaurants. What’s the goal there? Do you profit from it?

AM: I’m not paid for any of my posts. I purposely try to avoid anything like that because I think it takes (away) from who I am. If I sit here telling everybody that I’m an honest food critic, but I’m doing paid sponsorships, it doesn’t seem very authentic. If I have a great experience with a restaurant, I say “Hey, I like what you stand for. I’d love to share this with my followers. Let’s do a giveaway together to help you.” I did one with FoodHeads, where, in just 24 hours, (I was) able to give them 125 followers … I’m also helping get more students out to (their) establishment.

DT: Aside from @thehungrylonghorn, you’re also active on Google and Yelp. Your online review photos have been viewed more than 22 million times. How does it feel to have that influence?

AM: Think about it. How many times do you find yourself going to Google reviews or Yelp to find food? Someone’s got to post a picture. Someone’s got to post reviews … I think it’s just nice to be able to see the impact.