PJ from Traveling Tastebuds and Mike from Mike Speaks

South Jersey’s Dynamic Food Review Duo: Behind the Scenes with Mike and PJ of Grungo Law

This post is brought to you by Grungo Law.


Have you spotted these two foodies gracing your social media feeds with tantalizing food reviews? Meet Michael P. Aloi and PJ Johnson, the creators behind the digital personas Mike Speaks and Traveling Tastebuds.


Michael serves as the Head of Workers’ Compensation, while PJ is the Social Media Specialist at South Jersey law firm Grungo Law. Together, they form an intrepid duo, venturing across South Jersey to uncover hidden culinary gems and sharing their delectable experiences.

I sent over 10 questions to get to know Mike and PJ and learn more about what they’re up to!

1. How did it come together?

Mike’s conversations on food were secretly recorded, unbeknownst to Mike, and posted online. This began Mike’s journey as a social media star being Mike Speaks. The first thing we began filming was a cream donut series, scouring South Jersey for the best cream donut. After this, we ventured out to things like Girl Scout cookies and other sweets. This began around 2019.

Mike: Once Covid hit, We saw how COVID took a bite out of so many local businesses. We then decided to put the spotlight on local restaurants, small shops and chain restaurants alike. Eventually, Mike Speaks slowed down due to schedule and staff changes, and it faded out until PJ came around.

PJ: Mike had prior recordings before I got there, and I had been doing food reviews since 2020. In my interview with Grungo Law, I remember talking about Mike Speaks, but I had never seen the videos. I knew from the start of my time here that I could add some value to that. Initially, I was weary of doing anything related to the food reviews. I wanted to make my own mark. Eventually though, we wanted to get Mike Speaks back up and running.

2. What is the best part of doing this?

PJ: I think it is great to spread awareness to local restaurants that may not have the marketing for it. Also, it is fun.

Mike: We love trying new foods and giving spotlight to local businesses.

3. What does it take to make these videos happen?

A lot of planning and ensuring Mike is available. We also sometimes reach out to the restaurants and make sure it is okay to record. It is important for them to know we are coming so it isn’t awkward filming.

Mike: One of the better differences with PJ around is that a lot of the places we go, PJ already knows them, so they are happy to have us there.

PJ: A lot of the staff is excited for us to be there, sometimes they give us extra food for us to try. The first review we did together was the Dolsot House. I remember they brought out so much food.

4. What has been the response?

We have had over 6 million views on our videos. Mike and PJ are becoming local celebrities. Well, PJ already kind of was one. Together, their personalities make for a lot of fun and entertaining videos.

Mike: Just yesterday, a guy came to my house to replace my windows. I had him and his dad here 10 years ago and haven’t seen him since then. He’s looking at me and says, “You’re a lawyer, right?” I say, “Yeah, yeah I’m a lawyer.” He says, which firm are you at? Grungo Law?” In the next breath he goes, “No WAY! That’s the firm that does those videos with the young kid.” Mike has also been recognized at places like Saladworks and Giamarellos in Haddon Township. “I was standing at the bar, and a guy at the other end began waving to me. “He says I know you; I see you on those videos”

PJ: Since Mike and PJ have joined forces, PJ is living with some differences. “I think this content with Mike is my favorite content I ever made. I had a good amount of followers on TikTok, but the quality of my content has increased. Doing videos with Mike has helped me to improve and grow as a content creator.

5. What’s it like the both of you working together?

Mike: Fabulous, we are a good team. One of my favorite duos of all time is Pinky and the Brain and if we were them, I would be the Brain and PJ would be Pinky.

PJ: We know how to make a good video and what the people want.

6. What do you see for the future of Traveling Tastebuds and Mike Speaks?

Grungo Law has recently invested in a wrapped truck, which will be our way to spread awareness for giving back to the community. It will be a tool for Mike and PJ to do food reviews, do randomized and radical giving, and attend fundraising events.

PJ: It can only get better with the truck; it is going to bring a lot of visibility to wherever we go and what we do. This past year we have exceeded every expectation. Our year was so unprecedented, and it’s only up from here. We are in major group chats of business owners; one is for wing spots around NJ.

Mike: We will continue to give back to the community, spread the word. We will be all over, especially down the Jersey Shore in the summer.

7. How many restaurants featured to date?

Around 130 restaurants have been featured on Mike Speaks to date: around 38 with Mike and PJ, and about 86 Mike Speaks episodes before PJ.

8. How hard is it to balance Mike Speaks with being an attorney?

Mike: It is quite a challenge. I have had to cancel and reschedule our episodes on many occasions. It has been trial and error. It is easier now that we have a scheduled day to go out and film.

9. What’s been your proudest moment?

PJ: One that sticks out is a text from Rich, the owner of Holy City Public House about how word got out that Mike and I reviewed their wings. People in the food scene kept reaching out to Rich to see what we thought about their wings.

Mike: One of the most memorable is when we were at the tail end of the donut challenge, there was Randolph’s bakery right near me. I have been going there since I moved to the area, and they had the best donuts around, and I put it in a video. The owner saw it and she always liked me, but after that, she loved me. They were ready to close down permanently, so I had to stock up on donuts. About a week before closing, the owner was there, and a kid was behind the counter was wearing a Grungo shirt from one of the times I had brought swag. I took a photo of him in his shirt, and two young girls who were behind the counter serving a customer whispered ‘Hey, hey that’s Mike, that is the guy from the videos.’ It was quite amusing. It was one of my most memorable moments of being noticed. It’s nice to be noticed and identified, almost always in a good way. No one has been mean or nasty about it, so it’s nice.

10. How do you convey the values of the firm by doing these videos?

PJ: We care about the community. It brings awareness to our firm.

Mike: We are a heck of a lot of fun. We are regular people. You know what, in this business, if you can’t find a way to have some fun, it’ll drive you crazy. This is our way of having some fun while also doing service to our community. On the last sentence of boards around the office, it says, ‘Change the way people think about a law firm’ and I think we are doing just that.

Other comments?

Mike: I never thought that Mike Speaks would turn into this. I never thought I would be experiencing this at my age.

Be sure to follow Mike and PJ on Instagram!


This post is brought to you by:


Meet Grungo Law of South Jersey
Grungo Law are personal injury attorneys in South Jersey that truly care about their clients and value their local communities and families. Check their results and reviews. If you’re seeking legal assistance, contact Grungo Law today!

Call (856) 528-4494 or visit GrungoLaw.com.

author

Marilyn Johnson

Marilyn is a freelance writer covering the food and drink scene of South Jersey. You can find more of her writing on Philly Grub and NewsBreak.

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