Eat Palm Beach was started almost three years ago by Palm Beach Gardens native, Cristyle Egitto. It's our favorite go-to spot for everything foodie in and around Palm Beach, and one of our top Instagram accounts to follow (hello, awesome food photos? Yes!). From restaurant raves to her famed Spotlight articles, Cristyle doesn't miss a beat. She is a major food influencer, tastemaker, and all around awesome person who is making waves in South Florida. Did we mention that she is also an amazing wife and mom to her adorable daughter Milly?
We caught up with Cristyle to find out more about this essential gourmet guide and got the insider's scoop on how she started Eat Palm Beach, her favorite local spots right now, food tips, most follow-worthy Instagram accounts, and much more.
1. How did you start Eat Palm Beach?
I grew up in Palm Beach Gardens. But after leaving for Gainesville to attend UF and then living in Charlotte, NC for a couple years I came back to a totally different town. Legacy Place, Downtown at the Gardens, Midtown, all of that didn’t exist when I was growing up so I tried to figure it out a little more each time I came home to visit. When we moved back I found myself constantly wondering and asking around about the new developments and their restaurants. I saw a void for people visiting or relocating to the area (and even locals) that couldn’t keep up with the changing landscape and decided to launch Eat Palm Beach.
2. When did you realize that you had such a passion for food?
I’ve always loved the way food brings people together. Holidays were spent in the kitchen and around the dinner table, birthdays were always about the cake for me and Friday night Happy Hour was a ritual for my friends that brought us all together at least once a week to catch up and stay close. With age came an appreciation for good food, then good wine, and now good coffee. Food trends like fashion, and it evolves and elevates. I love learning about food and techniques, enjoying a meal with interesting people and being able to share my experiences with others.
3. Favorite Food?
I’m a Southern girl at heart. My mom is from Tennessee and my dad from North Carolina so I have a soft spot for fried chicken, biscuits, collared greens, country ham, deviled eggs, you name it. There are few things that make my eyes light up like knowing we’re headed to the farm in TN for dinner. Restaurants like The Regional and Coolinary Café make my heart happy with a cool place to enjoy elevated comfort food.
4. Least favorite food?
I’m pretty open to flavors. I would say any food with an unappetizing texture is where you lose me. And I’m definitely not into “bizarre foods.”
5. Tell us about a day in the life of Eat Palm Beach!
It really depends on the day! Some days I’m under the radar and others I’m in half a dozen establishments by dinner. I recently did a Zipkick Takeover where I woke up and hit Raw Juce for an acai bowl and smoothie then popped by Pumphouse Coffee Roasters for a cappuccino, ran to Coolinary Café for some chicken and waffles, met up with another food blogger out of Miami (LittleMariii – she’s lovely) at Saltwater Brewery for a Screamin Reels IPA, then sampled a few upcoming menu additions at SALT7 in Delray Beach before swinging by 32 East on the way home.
6. Is there a significant moment in your career? Something that changed everything?
I think the first time I was issued media credentials. It made it all very real for me. I wasn’t just my goofy self posting food pics anymore, I was an influencer. I have since been asked to be a celebrity judge, done account takeovers, been sponsored by national brands; it has all been very humbling and a really cool ride.
7. What is a favorite part of your business or the industry you are in?
The people. I love getting to know the chefs behind the food – from executive chefs to pastry chefs to line cooks. I have really enjoyed meeting other food bloggers, getting to know restaurant owners, sommeliers, craft beer brewers, coffee roasters, bartenders, PR teams, everyone. It’s so interesting getting to see the other side of the food industry. I also love connecting people so Eat Palm Beach has given me such an amazing platform to promote local businesses, food professionals, charities, and get involved in the food world.
8. What has been your main source of inspiration?
I’ve really let Eat Palm Beach lead the way. When I first started the blog it took on a life of its own very quickly. Because it filled a void, the community kind of shaped it to fit its needs. Followers reached out with requests, restaurant owners invited me into their kitchens, food and charity events brought me on to their teams. Instead of having a clear vision or plan, I decided to let it become something organically. I think people like EPB because they know it’s authentic. While I have to “play the game,” here and there I really strive to be as true to myself as possible. I definitely find inspiration from other accounts that I admire, but I really just try to focus on doing my own thing.
9. Do you have a favorite project that you have worked on?
I really love being involved with Taste of the Nation and Palm Beach Food and Wine Fest. Taste of the Nation is a nationwide event series that benefits No Kid Hungry and I’ve been on the Palm Beach event committee for a couple of years now. The team behind the event is beyond fantastic! They care so much for the cause, work tirelessly and the event is always one of the best of the year. I finally made the move from attendee to team member on PBFWF last year and it is an amazing few days. The talent, both local and national, is awesome, the venues are gorgeous, the food is incredible. Start to finish, it is an event we are so lucky to have in our backyard.
10. Favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is hearing from people how they followed the blog somewhere or how my IG has ended the “where do you want to go for dinner?” conundrum. I get lots of photos and messages which I love. You post and hope that it’s not just going out into the internet or being mindlessly double tapped. It’s wonderful to know people are actually visiting restaurants, attending events and excited to see what’s posted next.
11. What are the next steps for Eat Palm Beach?
I’m just going to keep keeping on. I have some fun partnerships in the works, there are new places to check out every day and I truly feel blessed by some of the friendships I’ve built recently. I’m super excited to see where the end of 2017 takes me and am pumped for what 2018 holds. Each year has been more exciting than the last so I seriously can’t wait to see what’s next for EPB.
12. Do you have a dream project for Eat Palm Beach?
I would love to put together an event series. To help connect foodies, spotlight local talent and bring people together. I’ve had some ideas in the past but life always gets in the way. I’ve been in talks to write a book, which would just put me over the moon. My dream project would be something that has a lasting impact.
13. Give us three things you love to do outside of work.
- I have a 2 year old daughter who is my whole world packed into a little body. My husband and I love taking her to the beach or out on the boat. She’s a total SoFla girl.
- A good girls’ night so I can let my hair down, recharge and come back to be a great wife, mom, blogger, etc. We do it all, ladies!
- I don’t get to travel as much with a little one in tow, but that is definitely a big one. We still manage to get away and I hope as she gets older I really get to show her the world.
14. Have you always lived here in Palm Beach?
I was born in Miami and relocated to Palm Beach after we lost our home in Hurricane Andrew. After graduating from Dwyer High, I made the move to Gainesville for college – Go Gators! I lived in Charlotte, NC for a few years, but my parents and in-laws both live in Palm Beach so we visited a ton and then moved back home in 2012.
15. Who do you look up to professionally?
My parents because they taught me the value of a dollar and that “if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” I get my work ethic from them for sure. My best friend, Leigh, because she is a total bosslady. She currently works for Tasty at Buzzfeed and I feel like I’m constantly in awe of her career and success. My husband because he’s the kind of guy who puts his head down and gets things done. He’s quiet and humble but secretly the smartest guy in the room. Anyone who takes the dive and goes for it professionally. Business is scary, putting yourself out there is scary, risking your financial stability is scary. Those who believe in themselves and do the work totally earn my respect.
16. Give us your top 5 favorite Instagram accounts to follow!
- For some foodie goodness @littlemariii and @fatgirlhedonist
- For some fashion and lifestyle @katherinelande and @palmbeachlately
- For some comedic relief @betches and @celestebarber
17. Favorite place you’ve traveled to?
Italy. I’ve been there a few times and every time it hurts to leave. Their way of life is enchanting and the landscape is breath-taking. Their passion for life and food and wine melts my heart and the language is so beautiful.
18. Top 3 local places you love going to right now around Palm Beach County.
- Raw Juce
- Butcher Shop WPB
19. What’s your go-to dinner party menu?
Get it catered! Haha - What can I say? I like to keep it simple and enjoy the time with friends and family. Otherwise something you can prep and then throw in the oven when everyone arrives, like a Chicken Parmesan for dinner or Victorian French Toast for brunch.
20. Quote to live by?
Do what you like. Like what you do.