“The Boston Foodie” has made a series of videos about local hidden gems that won’t break the bank.
The interior of the Galleria Umberto where the $20 challenge earned Ivanov for a $2 piece. Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Boston is exploding with chic new restaurants, including a new venture by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, but not everyone can afford the fine dining prices.
“You can get that with $20 in Boston’s North End,” said Sacha Ivanov, a 2021 Boston University graduate, at the beginning of her TikTok video about Boston’s local food scene.
Their reasonably priced North End menu included Dino’s 16-inch chicken cutlet parm sub, Galleria Umberto’s $2 slice of pizza, and a mini cannoli from Modern Pastry. The video has 320,000 views and counting.
“I first started on TikTok in August 2020 with thebostonfoodie account,” Ivanov told Boston.com. “I’ve started by showcasing the amazing and diverse food scene that Boston has to offer and to support small businesses.”
Ivanov said she was inspired by TikTok users who posted videos about cheap restaurants in other cities, but noted that videos about Boston were missing. She says her status as a Boston native has made finding affordable and delicious meals a little easier.
“I grew up here, so I have a good idea of all the budget places and all the hidden gems in town,” she said. “With the North End video, I wanted to show that you can get quality food at a reasonable price.”
Since high school, Ivanov made a habit of trying new restaurants in the Boston area. She said she most likely tried more than 100 local restaurants.
Ivanov has created budget dining videos for other neighborhoods like Chinatown and East Boston. She hopes the $20 Challenge and her other content about Boston’s vibrant food scene can help “connect people with different cultures through food.”
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