She Eats and Drinks
By Meda Kessler
Photos courtesy of Beverly Dendy
Kimberly Dendy’s aptly named Instagram page reflects her passion for food and belief that social media is not just for millennials
Unlike so many other food-focused sights on social media, Kimberly Dendy’s Instagram looks real, and so does she.
Her photographs of pizza, barbecue and seafood make us want to get in the car immediately and try out her restaurant finds. Instead of carefully composed selfies, Dendy’s photos of herself include one of her taking a big bite of hot beignets, trying to keep the powdered sugar off her black jumpsuit. Anyone who’s eaten those pillows of fried dough can relate. There’s another one of her carrying a massive tray of barbecue. Her smile says, “I’m going to eat all of this.” Again, we’ve all been there.
Her snapshots are not overstyled or overfiltered. She’s not a serial poster either; her Instagram is a hobby, not a business. And not every meal is at a restaurant; she cooks at home, too.
We meet in person on a rainy Thursday, our barbecue and patio plans quashed by a major thunderstorm. Instead, we hang out in Grapevine’s Harvest Hall, where the people-watching is as good as the food.
We both order biscuit sandwiches from Chick & Biscuit and, between bites, we talk food, family and more food.
Dendy came to Texas by way of Chicago and has been a Grapevine resident for almost 30 years.
She was widowed as a young mom — her twins are now 23 — but is remarried, with a blended family.
“I was a stay-at-home mother forever,” says Dendy, who worked in home health care (marketing and sales) before she had children. “My husband and I became empty nesters about five years ago, and I found myself with more free time after all the years of taking care of and supporting the kids, as well as my volunteer work.
I wanted to do something fun and creative.”
It was her daughter’s idea to start a food blog by way of Instagram as she knew her mother already was a veteran documenter of what she ate. SheEatsNDrinks (satisfying your hunger cravings one post at a time) was born in October 2017, just a few days after Dendy came up with the name of her account.
While some might think social media is a young person’s game, Dendy, who’s in her 50s, was eager to learn about algorithms, influencer trends, platforms and new technology.
“I didn’t want it to be just another food blog,” she says. “Food is a passion for me, and I wanted to show others my age that they can pursue their goals if they set their minds to it. And it’s important to learn from the younger generation and not dismiss them.” Dendy admits she’s not your typical influencer, as most are younger, but she has found support and camaraderie.
“I’m OK with being the ‘mom’ for the younger crowd,” she says with a smile.
She also enjoys getting to know restaurant owners in her community and supporting them not only by being a patron, but by posting on social media. Post-pandemic, she has doubled down on visiting places that might not be the newest or the trendiest to remind people that they’re open for business. Dendy also checks out places in her neighboring cities such as Flower Mound and Roanoke, as well as Dallas and Fort Worth. “One should always be willing to travel for good food,” she says.
While the pandemic did cut back on trips to see her children or travel with her husband, who works for Google, winter’s ice storm also threw them a curve. With major damage to their home, they’ve been spending part of their time living and working in a hotel during the restoration process. “I do miss cooking,” says Dendy, who adds that they’re keen on using their Big Green Egg at home. She loves all types of seafood and considers herself and her husband fairly adventurous eaters. “We’ll search for places that are a little under the radar, such as Doc’s Street Grill, a small Caribbean restaurant in Roanoke. Stephen, the owner, is so talented and hardworking. Plus, the food has been one of the biggest surprises so far this year. I love it.”
Dendy says although documenting her food journey and meeting like-minded members of the community have been great experiences, she looks forward to things slowly getting back to normal.
As our conversation winds down, we’re watching dinner patrons trickle into Harvest Hall. Locals and guests of next-door Hotel Vin share meals and conversation.
“A lot of what makes going to restaurants or having a dinner party special is not just the food,” says Dendy, “but the experience and the people who share it with you.”