off menu

The Ladies of VIP List Are the Original Villains of FoodTok

the vip list

Photos courtesy of The VIP List.

Welcome to OFF MENU, a new column where we plan to gossip and gorge with our favorite NYC tastemakers. To kick it off, we invited childhood besties Meg Radice and Audrey Jongens to the moody Lower East Side haunt Bar Valentina. They’re the provocateurs and armchair food critics behind the notorious “all-inclusive lifestyle agency” The VIP List, whose aggressively-voiced-over reviews of the city’s most hyped restaurants have people sliding into their DMs threatening their lives with a rusty knife from Carbone. Whether the meals are comp’d or not, they’re committed to keeping it real. “We were the first people doing voiceover restaurant reviews in New York,” says Radice. “And being honest,” Jongens adds. And though marching into Polo Bar with a ring light doesn’t land for everyone, it pays to be hated. Over martinis and linguine, they told us about disastrous dates, making it in New York, and what’s really going on at The Box. Go cry about it.


MEKALA RAJAGOPAL: First of all, fit check. You guys look amazing.

MEG RADICE: Okay, I got everything from ByRotation, and I have my Alexander Wang bag.

AUDREY JONGENS: This dress is also from ByRotation, these are Stuart Weitzman, my jacket is Alice + Olivia, my bag is from Chanel.

RAJAGOPAL: Work. Okay, drinks.

RADICE: Can I do an espresso martini?

RAJAGOPAL: And I’ll do a teeny, dirty one.

JONGENS: I’ll do a regular dirty martini. 

RAJAGOPAL: What’s the vibe? I love the outdoor seating.

RADICE: It’s definitely giving intimate. It’s a cute little New York cafe moment, which I’m here for.

JONGENS: I would feel very comfortable on a first date here. Take them to the back room over there. 

RADICE: That’s where you take your sneaky link. They have really great lighting.

RAJAGOPAL: It also smells nice, kind of hotel-y. Do you live in the city?

JONGENS: Yeah, she’s moving on Thursday though.

RAJAGOPAL: So what’s going to become of our duo?

JONGENS: The duo is still very much a thing. 

RADICE: We’re trying to go on tour next year, so we really need to get our ducks in a row. We’ve done over 2000 restaurants here in New York, so we need to expand our brand. We want to hit all the major cities. Do you know Keith Lee? He’s another critic.

RAJAGOPAL: He’s on tour. Isn’t he in New York right now?

RADICE: Yeah, I think so. He’s just causing mad controversy wherever he goes. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to roll up to every city and make people upset.

JONGENS: Shit on their favorite restaurants. Only if warranted, though.

RADICE: We’re only young once, we’re both single. Let’s go fucking travel.

JONGENS: Put that in the article. We’re both single.

RADICE: We need to try a man in every state before we settle on one.

RAJAGOPAL: Okay, there’s the real goal of the tour.

JONGENS: I’ve never experienced Arkansas dick.

RAJAGOPAL: What do you think is going to be the best food city outside of New York?

JONGENS: Chicago.

RADICE: I hear it’s insane. I am dying to try Alinea, I’ve seen so many videos. I feel like Texas is really up and coming right now, too.

RAJAGOPAL: Where are you guys from?

RADICE: We grew up in the suburbs of Philly. We went to Lower Merion where Kobe went, and we’ve known each other since preschool.

RAJAGOPAL: How long have you been in New York?

RADICE: Six years.

JONGENS: And I’ve been here three-and-a-half. Time flies so fast.

RADICE: We had 80K on TikTok at the time, and we were like, “It’s time to move up to New York.”

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WAITER: Martinis.

RADICE: That’s so cute!

WAITER: I told you!

RADICE: To all the almond moms, this one’s for you.

RAJAGOPAL: What was your first TikTok that blew up?

RADICE: It was a review of Marquee New York and I’m actually embarrassed that I haven’t set foot in that building since.

JONGENS: I swear it was cool back then.

RADICE: We started with nightclub reviews and once we ran out of nightclubs, we were like, “What else do we have a passion for?” Restaurants were offering takeout during the pandemic, so we were out here outdoor dining next to snow banks in arctic temperatures.

JONGENS: I specifically remember we were at Raclette and they had those glass houses outside and we were literally sitting next to 10 feet of snow. We had blankets that we would bring with us every single meal.

RADICE: We were the first people doing voiceover restaurant reviews in New York. 

JONGENS: And being honest.

RADICE: We realized that we couldn’t be completely transparent if we’re getting all the food for free. Once restaurants kind of got back on their feet, we’re like, “Let’s start going to the hypest restaurants and seeing if they’re worth the hype.” So we go and we pay and we give our honest reviews.

RAJAGOPAL: So when do you actually disclose that you’re going to be reviewing the restaurant?

RADICE: Oh, we don’t disclose. We show up anonymously.

JONGENS: We go through Resy like everyone else. Ideally, they have no idea that we’re there. Recently, sometimes they’ve recognized us and sent us stuff, which is so nice, but we’re still going to be honest. 

RADICE: We honestly should start changing our name on Resy because I think there’s a little asterisk next to our name now. We just try to keep it as real as possible because in this industry, everyone’s getting free food and it’s like, what’s actually good and what’s not? You really don’t know.

RAJAGOPAL: I feel like people love when you hate restaurants. Do you ever feel like you become extra critical so that people are more into it?

JONGENS: People for sure enjoy the negative reviews. We just want to be brutally honest. We’re literally just putting our discussions at the restaurant into a voiceover.

RADICE: I also think not everything can be a 10. Nothing’s 100 percent roast or 100 percent great. We just give the real tea.

RAJAGOPAL: And TikTok is now how people get their recommendations. A restaurant could blow up and be successful because of TikTok.

JONGENS: This is probably the best city in the entire world to be doing this in. What’s that statistic?

RADICE: You could eat for 30 years and still not go to every restaurant here.

JONGENS: Challenge accepted, though.

WAITER: Hi, just checking on you.

RADICE: We would love to put in some food. Can we do the dips, the zucchini chips, the nduja toast, the burger, medium rare, and the linguine and clams?

RAJAGOPAL: Some of your comments are funny. You get the comment, “Why are you yelling?” all the time.

JONGENS: We get “Why are you yelling?” “Your voice makes me want to kill myself.” “You guys are both fat from eating so much.”

RADICE: We get crazy hate, but it’s easier that it goes between the two of us. I could never do this alone. It’s so nice to have my best friend with me. But I love the feedback that our voice is too loud, because next video, we’re going to be even louder.

RAJAGOPAL: Does it pay to be hated?

RADICE: Definitely. It gets people talking about you. People love to comment hate more often than nice things. It’s like Yelp. It’s nice to have a brand that we really can say whatever we want, but out of the New York influencers, we probably get the most hate. But also we’re also saying the most unhinged shit and purposely trying to offend people, so we deserve it.

RAJAGOPAL: Have you gotten any weird DMs before?

RADICE: We’ve gotten a lot of death threats.

RAJAGOPAL: What?! Like they’re going to kill you, or they hope you die?


JONGENS: Someone sent us a voice note like, “I’m going to find you at Carbone and slit your throat with a rusty knife.” It gets scary.

RADICE: People get really triggered. When you call someone a peasant, they get really mad. 

RAJAGOPAL: Who knew?

RADICE: We made a joke about a “no peasant policy” and people were so mad. You’re calling yourself a peasant by being offended. You are choosing to identify as that.

JONGENS: We’re not rich, we just don’t identify with peasanthood. 

RADICE: We don’t subscribe to the peasant mindset. You’re like, “Yes! I have clickbait.”

RAJAGOPAL: Is there such a thing as TikTok voice?

RADICE: 100 percent. People comment, “Why do you have a TikTok voice?” Bitch, I started this shit. I’ve been doing this since 2020.

RAJAGOPAL: It’s a cadence.

RADICE: We are screaming into our phones. Veins popping out of the head, eyes popping out of socket.

JONGENS: I feel bad for my neighbors sometimes. It’s usually a few takes.

RADICE: Everything is scripted. Some people think that we just freestyle this on the fly. I wish. It’s clearly exaggerated. We’re a few decibels down in reality. 

RAJAGOPAL: Do people hate when you’re with your ring light in the restaurant?

JONGENS: All the time. We were at Jean-Georges recently, and the restaurant was so accommodating and amazing, but there was a table of men across from us, and one of them got up and came over to us.

RADICE: He started filming us with the ring light like, “You like this? You like this?”

JONGENS: He was like, “You got a lot of food here.” It was really weird.

RADICE: I mean, at Polo Bar we got yelled at. We don’t always take out the ring light. If we’re at Torrisi or Rao’s, we would never take out a ring light.

JONGENS: The flash annoys people too, though. You can’t win.

RADICE: We’ll keep going until we’re told otherwise. And they can go cry about it. I’m sorry, it’s such a relevant part of dining now. And if I’m paying for this food, I want to document it. It’s a business expense. If I’m dropping a thousand dollars on dinner, you best believe it’s ending up on the ‘gram.

RAJAGOPAL: Everyone’s going to know I was here.

RADICE: I need to get my money’s worth, the fuck? There’s this restaurant called Masa and it’s like $900-a-person. Sushi. We would’ve been there, but you’re not allowed to have your phone.

RAJAGOPAL: You have to put it in a basket?

RADICE: Yeah. You can’t record.

JONGENS: Not even an Instagram story. There is a culture where going to a certain restaurant and posting it on your story is a flex.

RADICE: “You can’t get in here. Go cry about it.” We’re going to Rao’s on Thursday for the first time, I’m so excited. It’s the only restaurant in New York we haven’t been able to get into and we finally got a table. So we’re trekking up to Harlem and we’re going to do the damn thing. Hopefully it’s good.

JONGENS: It better be good.

RADICE: I mean, I don’t think I can roast that place. I don’t want someone to put a hit on me. That might be our last review.

RAJAGOPAL: That would be kind of iconic.

RADICE: Like, I’m at the bottom of the Hudson, but it was so worth it.

RAJAGOPAL: Do you eat out every day?

JONGENS: I mean, we never cook. I haven’t turned my stove on since I moved.

RADICE: My oven doesn’t even work. I use it as storage. 

RAJAGOPAL: That’s very New York of you.

RADICE: Why would I cook when the best chefs in the world are in my city? It wouldn’t be fair to them.

JONGENS: My food is not edible, so.

WAITER: So this is fried olives, this is fried panisse, which is chickpea flour, this is labneh, and this is our roasted red pepper dip.

RADICE: That was a big ass bite.

RAJAGOPAL: How’s that toast?

JONGENS: It’s kind of giving cold pizza in the best way. 

RADICE: It’s like rich people cold pizza. It’s a little spicy.

JONGENS: It’s not your basic ricotta toast, which I like. Ricotta toast is so overdone these days.

RAJAGOPAL: What are the most overdone trendy foods?

RADICE: Burrata, ricotta toast, crispy Brussels sprouts. Hamachi crudo is done way too often and it’s rarely done well. Caesar salad. Do something different. There are these New American restaurants where there’s no genre of food, they just put everything on the menu.

RAJAGOPAL: It’s actually my pet peeve when they have different cuisines on one menu.

RADICE: Why can I order sushi, pasta, and a taco at the same restaurant? Pick a lane, stay in it.

RAJAGOPAL: It just makes me feel like you’re not doing any of those well. 

RADICE: We’ve done so many New American and Italian places that we can’t even tell the difference between them. Whether it’s the menu or the vibe or the hospitality, you’ve got to be coming correct, because places don’t stay open long here. 

RAJAGOPAL: Totally. These are some thick chips. Have you tried the zucchini chips at Kiki’s?

JONGENS: No. We need to go to Kiki’s because everyone raves.

RAJAGOPAL: Just for the hype. People either love it or they think it’s overrated.

RADICE: What is this thing?

RAJAGOPAL: It’s like polenta.

RADICE: Wow. This is completely better with this. It’s almost like a tzatziki. I wonder why they’re serving Tostitos salsa next to it.

RAJAGOPAL: It was supposed to be marinara.

RADICE: My nonna is rolling in her grave right now.

RAJAGOPAL: Are you Italian?

RADICE: I’m not. 

RAJAGOPAL: This is a nice, thick piece of bread. Bread is such an underutilized food nowadays. Who has free bread? What happened to that?

RADICE: Right? It’s on the menu now.

JONGENS: It’s like $8 for bread with house-churned butter.

RADICE: The recession is recessioning. Good bread and butter, top five favorite foods.

JONGENS: It sets the tone of a meal, especially if it’s complimentary in this day and age.

RAJAGOPAL: I mean, Cheesecake Factory brown bread.

JONGENS: She’s that girl and she is complimentary.

RADICE: People are like, “Oh, you’ve been to so many Michelin-starred restaurants, how can you eat that garbage?” We did a freezer thing and we showed that we eat Uncrustables and corn dogs. 

JONGENS: It doesn’t need to be expensive to slap.

RADICE: An Uncrustable hits just as hard as caviar.

RAJAGOPAL: Speaking of expensive, you have a sugar daddy hunting series. Do you have one?

RADICE: We don’t personally have sugar daddies, but we do go to all these restaurants and see where all the old, rich men go.

JONGENS: We see the potential.

RADICE: We’ve had testimonials of people who have found real results from our daddy hunting guides. A girl came up to us at the mall the other day like, “I secured this Van Cleef because of you guys.”

RAJAGOPAL: Period. Where’d she go?

RADICE: She went to Nubeluz and then the Carlyle Bar and she got her man there.


JONGENS: The daddies are out and about.

RADICE: Everyone’s like, “Do you have sugar daddies yourself?” No, but I’m clearly looking for one. When we were coming up, people would accuse us of not paying for our own meals.

JONGENS: They’re like, “It’s daddy’s money.”

RADICE: First of all, I make more than my parents. We do not come from anything. So the series was kind of a play because it’s hard to find eligible men in general. The apps are fucking disastrous. That’s what we’ve really been trying to find out, where eligible men go, because we are tired of the finance bros.

JONGENS: I don’t think it’s hard to find dates, but I want someone who’s different and interesting.

RADICE: It’s always a Brad or a Chad working the standard hours, not able to see you until 10:00 PM. 

RAJAGOPAL: I’ve never met anyone off an app.

RADICE: Unfortunately, I have. It’s not worth it. 

JONGENS: I literally dated this guy off of Raya and he did cocaine on our table.

RAJAGOPAL: At the table?

JONGENS: Yes. He’s like, “Do you want some?” 

RADICE: And then he was like, “Let me set your business partner up with my roommate—”

JONGENS: And his roommate was an ex-addict right out of rehab. These are great options.

RADICE: Okay, we’ve got the mains. The linguine is good. It’s my favorite thing so far. Burger has a little bit too much aioli on it for me, but I like the fries.

JONGENS: These fries are like McDonalds’ fries.

RADICE: I was literally going to say that. 

RAJAGOPAL: I like these fried olives. Have you had any other jobs?

JONGENS: I haven’t. I just graduated and started this right after school.

RADICE: I was in finance. I worked in wealth management before this. Honestly, I don’t know how I even worked in finance. I’m not really good with rules.

JONGENS: I did work as a hostess when I first moved to New York, in Little Italy. If you told me 10 years ago we would be in business together eating at restaurants for a living, I’d be so confused. 

RAJAGOPAL: What were you posting on the internet as a kid?

RADICE: We loved Vine. When we were in high school, we dropped a mixtape. It’s on the internet. We dropped a Christmas album, too.

RAJAGOPAL: Really? What genre?

JONGENS: It was rap.

RADICE: One of the lyrics was, “I’m smoking crack, no Amanda Bynes.” When we were 16 we said that and we put it on our school speaker.

RAJAGOPAL: Was Amanda Bynes on crack?

RADICE: Yeah, at that time. “Rolling in the deep, got money like Adele.” In high school, we were menaces.

WAITER: Hey, guys. Still working? 

RADICE: We’re done, do you have a dessert menu?

WAITER: We have a stracciatella gelato. 

RADICE: We’ll do it with affogato. A meal is not complete without dessert. I need to reward myself with a sweet treat every day.

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JONGENS: It’s getting a little crowded in here.

RADICE: It’s such a cute little vibe. We need to get the fuck out of our neighborhood. It looks like a lot of people are just getting cocktails.

RAJAGOPAL: I almost feel like they should have a club downstairs. What are your favorite late night spots?

JONGENS: You’ve got to go to The ‘Bu.

RADICE: That’s our favorite late night diner. It’s called Malibu Diner.

JONGENS: You don’t go there unless it’s past 3:00 AM.

RADICE: The vibes are immaculate.

JONGENS: Everyone’s just so fucked up. One time we had a premature Bu night and it wasn’t the same.

RAJAGOPAL: What is that the afters to?

RADICE: The Box is my favorite club. The first time I went, the bartender was like, “Do you want a free shot?” I was like, “Of course,” so I try it and it’s salty and sour. “What the fuck did I just drink?”


RADICE: The curtains open. A woman is fisting herself and squirting into the shot glass that I just drank out of. I left after that, but I returned. I’m one of them now.

RAJAGOPAL: You came back like, “So do you have free shots tonight?” 

RADICE: Damn, I feel like I broke The Box code by saying what I saw.

RAJAGOPAL: Everyone breaks that code. What’s the worst restaurant you’ve been to?

RADICE: The little monsters are going to kill me but Lady Gaga’s family restaurant is horrible. I feel so bad saying that because I love Lady Gaga. 

JONGENS: Two Michelin stars, $1,200 dollars, and it was the worst meal I’ve ever had. 

RADICE: They had fish paste as an appetizer. Straight lard and fish paste. This is a cute place for a chill night out, though. It’s like elevated bar food. 

JONGENS: This was so fun. Thank you for having us. We love Interview.

RADICE: This is so iconic. 

RAJAGOPAL: We get hate comments, too. People are always like, “Warhol would be ashamed that you’re featuring influencers.” We might get some about y’all. But I think he would have lived for it.

RADICE: Andy Warhol was friends with the OG influencers back in the day.