Why is TikTok obsessed with East 81st Street Deli?


A small deli has become a TikTok hit after a video of a customer trying out their food went viral.

East 81st Deli in Cleveland, Ohio often posts customer reviews of their food on TikTok (@81stdeli) but there was one in particular that caught the attention of viewers.

The 25-year-old establishment just got famous for its chicken salad thanks to customer Tanisha Godfrey who praised the meal as she tucked into it.

“Y’all better come up here and get one of these,” Tanisha told the person filming as she pointed to her salad with her fork.

“What’s that?” the deli’s owner Wael Herbawi – who is offscreen – asked the customer.

“It’s a chicken salad,” Tanisha replied.

“From where?” Wael questioned in response

“81st Deli [on] Superior.”

“What’s on it?”

“I got chicken, pickles, banana peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions…” Tanisha said listing all of the ingredients.

Since posting the clip on August 28, the video has received a whopping 18.6m views, 2.9m likes, and over 15,000 comments from people who loved Tanisha’s review.

(Tashina has also reposted the video on her own TikTok page)

One person said: “I trust her, I’ll be there tomorrow.”

“Idk why I trust her with my life,” another person wrote.

Someone else added: “The way she said it makes it sound good.”

“Never in my life has a phrase as simple as ‘the chicken salad’ been so soothing to me,” a fourth person commented as Tanisha told TODAY “people fell in love with my personality” and specifically how she pronounced “chicken salad” in the video.

“That’s how I naturally talk,” she said. “It wasn’t like I was like, ‘Oh, it’s a chicken salad.’ No, it’s the way that I talk naturally.”

She also noted the video wasn’t planned ahead of time but was more in-the-moment.

“I had got off work. Because it was hot, I was like, I don’t want anything heavy,” she explained, so stopped off at the deli like she “normally” does and asked Herbawi for a salad.

After asking for some extra things to put in and the salad was made, Herbawi suggested making a TikTok, and the rest is history.

As a result of the deli going viral, many have wanted to try the chicken salad out for themselves and visited the location at 8033 Superior Avenue in Cleveland, with the likes of Stefan Johnson and Hayden Grove posting positive reviews – with Johnson complimenting the seasoning and Grove describing the salad as “fresh.”

(Though Nay Banks didn’t give such a glowing review, describing it as a ‘basic a*s salad.'”)

While owner Herbawi told News 5 Cleveland on October 25 “our food has always been well known,” he has seen an increase in customers since the viral video.

“You couldn’t even walk in here yesterday,” he said, meanwhile Herbawi revealed to Bon Appetit that he usually sells 30 chicken salads a day, but this skyrocketed to 980 in one day due to the viral TikTok.

Elsewhere, the sound of Tanisha’s review has been used on over 93,000 videos as celebrities such as Lizzo, Tia Mowry, and thousands of others have made their own versions of the video.

Now, Tanisha is posting videos about different restaurants in Cleveland in her neighbourhood, much to the delight of her 75,000 followers.

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