For Simone Phillips, the first time she set out to start a successful blogging career was a charm— Charm City Table that is…a delicious venture that has netted her more than 43,000 followers on Instagram and just over 22,000 followers on Twitter. The Morgan State University graduate started Charm City Table, as an “Instagram blog” in spring of 2017 sharing the best of Baltimore’s food and drinks scene.
Four years later, Charm City Table has grown into a small business and well-known local brand continuing to promote restaurants and other local food concepts while serving as a resource to local business owners. In addition to locals Charm City Table, is also utilized by celebrities, tourists and other individuals.
“I started by visiting restaurants and live events and would post my photos along with a little caption about my experience,” recalled Phillips. “My followers would check these places out for themselves, or just enjoy the content. My posts were really a celebration of the restaurants, as opposed to critiques.
“Growing up, my family ate at restaurants like Golden Corral and IHOP all the time, which sparked my interest. When I got older, I got a job working in Harbor East and me and one of my co-workers would go out for Happy Hour. We wanted to explore the local food scene. We found we could eat cheaper during Happy Hour, and we could do it with our entry-level salary. We both also liked trying new food.”
Phillips said she and her co-worker were both “foodies”— people who have an avid interest in food.
“Me and my co-worker were always exploring new places for Happy Hour, and I would take pictures and videos of the food,” she said. “I had so many photos and videos that I thought it would be good to have a platform. It all started from there.”
Phillips said Charm City Table seeks to diversify food conversations in the Baltimore/DC area and create campaigns to elevate voices comprising the local food scene— representation she feels is typically excluded from the local buzz in larger media outlets such as Black-owned restaurants, Baltimore gems, and historic foodways.
“Baltimore is known for crabs and crab cakes, but we offer a lot more than just crabs and crab cakes,” said Phillips. “We have restaurants that offer Indian foods, Thai foods and other foods that people love. We also have many Black-owned restaurants with great food. There are a lot of wonderful restaurants here in Baltimore that people just don’t know about.”
The 30-year-old said her food platform “took off” in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was spending a lot of my own money to try to support restaurants and keeping my ear to the ground to see who was doing carryout,” she recalled. “I was trying to keep track of restaurant openings and closings due to COVID. I put the information on Twitter, which supported the businesses and got the information out to people. People really responded well to that.”
While it all began with Phillips exploring restaurants, restaurateurs are now pursuing the entrepreneur.
“Within the first thirty days of starting Charm City Table, I got my first invite by a restaurant to come out and eat and drink for free and to share my experience on Instagram,” she said. “That was very exciting.”
According to Phillips, businesses also pay to advertise on Charm City Table, and her portfolio has now expanded to include event hosting. She has also started Patreon, a website where people can subscribe to the ‘Charm City Table Supper Club’ or simply subscribe to for exclusive foodie content.
“Celebrities who are coming to town and political figures visit my page to get recommendations,” said Phillips. “I never thought all of this would happen from posting delicious food.”
To follow Phillips on Instagram, visit https://www.instagram.com/charmcitytable/ and Twitter, visit https://twitter.com/charmcitytable.
To subscribe to ‘Patreon,’ go to https://www.patreon.com/charmcitytable. You can also email her at [email protected]