This month, Jersey Bites proudly celebrates its 15th anniversary. Since 2007, we’ve been digging into everything delicious about New Jersey and sharing our favorite finds from restaurants and the flourishing beer scene, to hunger relief initiatives, food events, and so much more.
It was the day after Labor Day in 2007 when I decided to create a blog to post my recipes and restaurant adventures. I didn’t have a plan or even a name for it. I really didn’t think much of it at the time. In fact, during my first few years of blogging, I didn’t even announce it to many people.
After about two years of creating content on my own, I realized that if I was ever going to keep blogging I needed help. I reached out to the public. I put the word out to find contributors and began building a team of writers from all over the state. It turned out to be the most rewarding part of my blogging venture, meeting and becoming friends with so many fellow food lovers throughout New Jersey.
Eventually, my humble little blog led to a contract for The Jersey Shore Cookbook (with Quirk Books), and to my business Foxtrot Media, a restaurant marketing agency.
Because of Jersey Bites, the past 15 years have included some truly exciting experiences. A photographer from the NY Times shadowed me for an article. I’ve had the opportunity to interview several top Food Network stars, and I’ve judged dozens of food competitions.
Members of our team have covered numerous tourist destinations and have enjoyed dining at—and telling the world about—so many of the state’s wonderful restaurants. For several years, Jersey Bites even hosted the cooking stage at the New Jersey Home Show.
Perspectives from the Team
“Most blogs that were around in 2007 are long gone,” said Rachel Bozek, longtime Jersey Bites writer and editor of the site. “It takes a lot to keep a blog going year after year, but Deb has kept at it, and in the process she’s built not only a great team, but a true community.”
“To have the opportunity to meet and interview so many of the talented brewers in our state is one of the joys I have had as a contributor to Jersey Bites over the years.” added Pete Culos, resident Jersey Bites beer writer. “We started covering the craft beer boom from the beginning, and it continues to be a fun ride.”
Michael C. Gabriele, another longtime writer for Jersey Bites, has been a “Biter” since June 2015. “It’s been a pleasure to be part of the Jersey Bites team, said the author of The History of Diners in New Jersey and Stories from New Jersey Diners — Monuments to Community. “Writing for Jersey Bites has been a perfect complement to my work as an author. My diner articles keep me active and in touch with the Garden State diner circuit. I enjoy writing ‘slice of life’ stories, and there are many slices of life when it comes to a Jersey diner.”
Adventures in Food Blogging
I honestly don’t know what my life would be like if I had never started my “blog with no plan.” When newer writers ask me for advice about blogging, I tell them, “Don’t do it to get rich. That’s a rarity.” Still, if you want to open up your life to meeting great people and to experiences you probably would never have otherwise tried, then blog away. Keep at it and keep improving. I’m looking forward to getting to year 20 and beyond.
And to all of you who subscribe to Jersey Bites, thank you. You are why we keep doing what we do. We love your feedback, too. If you’d like to share your tips on places we should visit, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Cheers to the next 15 years!