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LAist Interview: Stephy S. From Yelp

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Last Friday night at Bordello, Elite Yelpers gathered for drinks and music to wish Stephy S, Community Manager of Yelp.com for Los Angeles (she's like Tom of MySpace, but goddess style), a farewell adieu as she takes on a larger responsibility for the website up at its San Francisco HQ (sister site SFist should feel so lucky). Since May 2006, Stephy has been leading the way for Yelp.com, bringing in the energy for a site that had nothing to a site that now has everything. Today, we spoke to Stephy about food, drink, some other stuff, and... food. After all, when it's your job included writing over 1500 food reviews (1575 to be exact as of this publishing), you're going to have great foodie suggestions.

You've been with Yelp for two years now, building the Los Angeles community. Where was it back then and where is it now?

I like to think of LA Yelp back then as Tumbleweed City. You'd write a review and hear crickets. You'd post a talk thread about who has the yummiest pizza and 18 hours later, you'd thank your lucky stars for getting a response. We'd do festivals like Sunset Junction to promote Yelp and it was like speaking a foreign internet language. "What on Earth is a...Yelp?" Slowly but surely though, it caught on and now it's just all kinds of ridiculous how popular it's getting and the little website that could is now THE BEST LA resource for shared opinions of local businesses and the local community that supports them.

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What Los Angeles food trends do you see.

Korean BBQ or KBBQ for those in the know, was definitely a big one on Yelp, along with all of the fro-yo pop ups in '07, but the main trend we continually see on Yelp is the support of local mom and pops and the deelish little hole in the wall joints around town. Sure Mozza got the mainstream critics vote and caught the eye of many a yelper, but the love for places like Folliero Pizza & Italian Food in Highland Park or Bollini's Pizzeria Napolitana is what makes Yelp such a great resource. We're keepin it real yo, with real reviews by real people!