Influencer: Laura Afonso

Buns and Bites went from cheeky idea to a must-follow Instagram account and blog dedicated to helping the local food industry while boosting body confidence

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Since starting Buns and Bites what is the biggest change you’ve noticed in the Rhode Island food scene?

The Rhody food scene just continues to grow and grow! My favorite change has been the shift to pop-up popularity. COVID-19 obviously significantly impacted the service industry and sadly we lost some great establishments. But at the same time, we saw some good come out of the pandemic when tons of massively talented folks started feeding the state via pop-ups! And with these pop-ups, we saw small businesses open their doors and collaborate to build each other up. Now, that’s a beautiful thing to come out of something rotten. 

 

How did you navigate your food blog through the ongoing pandemic?

The main priority was providing a value to the small businesses and Rhode Island restaurants. While in lockdown, I did my best to showcase the local ingredients and goods that I used to cook with at home, and of course, show my following where I was getting my takeout from! As someone who is still involved in the service industry, it was extremely important for me to advocate for restaurants who were struggling, who wanted to advertise reopenings, new takeout menus, contactless pickup, etc. It was all hands on deck!

 

What is your favorite Rhody food staple?

My favorite has to be bakery pizza! I grew up off of Charles Street in Providence where I would walk to the local Italian bakery for pieces of strip pizza so it is also very nostalgic for me. Out-of-towners don’t get it until they try it! 

 

What is your favorite part about running Buns and Bites?

I know you’re expecting me to say “the food”, but really it’s the people I have met! I have made real friendships from connecting with other women, small business owners, and local people that all started on Instagram and became real life relationships! 

 

What are your other passions?

One of my other major passions is real estate. I am lucky enough to be able to work with my husband selling houses. There is no better feeling than helping a client get into their first home. It is also the perfect industry for me to be Rhode Island’s cheerleader! I love taking out-of-state clients around town to show off our gem of a state. 

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