My honest and completely unfiltered reviews for the top three WordPress themes I would recommend using for your food blog, and which personality types would go best with each one. Spoiler alert: none of them are perfect!
I firmly believe in doing things right from the get-go, rather than hobbling something together as a temporary solution knowing you'll have to come back later to fix it.
That's why I recommend getting a WordPress theme that can scale with you and adapt to monetization opportunities even if you're just starting out.
If you're serious about turning your blog into a business, you need to treat it like one from day one. And that means there are some areas in which you'll need to make small investments – in this case, the purchase of a quality WordPress theme.
The whole “you gotta spend money to make money” line usually makes me roll my eyes, but I'll admit it is true. That's why I'm going to outline the three WordPress themes I think are worth spending that money to start building your food blog empire 👑
The Best WordPress Themes for Food Blogs
In my post about how to start a food blog, I outline the 10 things to consider when choosing your WordPress theme – rest assured, all of the themes I recommend can check all of these boxes:
- Mobile-first, responsive design
- Clear navigation
- Gutenberg compatibility
- Plugin support
- Timely updates
- Customer support
There are “experts” out there who will tell you that users don't care what your site looks like and that you shouldn't worry about the aesthetics. I strongly (and not particularly respectfully 🙃) disagree. Users want a pleasant experience, and if your site hurts their eyeballs, they will click away and go elsewhere. I know that *I* do!
- Great for: people who want someone else to worry about the technical details
- $249 per year
- Built specifically for food bloggers
- Includes 5 different themes
- Optimized for Core Web Vitals
- Frequently updated to support evolving SEO, page speed, and accessibility standards
- Industry standard, used by small and large bloggers alike
- Customer support can be a bit snarky
The Feast Plugin is a plugin that controls all your theme's functionality and customization in one place. It also gives you access to 5 different WordPress themes built on the Genesis Framework:
- Foodie Pro
- Brunch Pro
- Cook’d Pro
- Seasoned Pro
- Cravings Pro
The individual themes can be purchased for $19 each without the Feast Plugin, but it provides you very little functionality compared to the Feast Plugin. I've had both and I can confirm that going with the Feast Plugin is the way to go, despite the huge price jump between the two options.
Foodie Pro is the most popular that I guarantee you've seen on other food blogs whether or not you realize it. Check it out below on my friend Elizabeth's extremely successful site, Bowl of Delicious:
This is proof that bloggers of any size can use the Feast themes: Bowl of Delicious is a Mediavine Premiere blogger – which means she makes $500K+ each year! She's had the wonderful team at Grace & Vine Studios make some minor tweaks for customization purposes, but the bulk of what you see is native to the Feast design.
It's designed for the “modern homepage”
Gone are the days of a feed-style homepage with the most recent posts in descending order – now people want a more curated and personalized homepage when they land on your site.
This widget-based design allows you to easily highlight your top posts, seasonal content, trending categories, or whatever else you'd like to make sure is front and center for your readers.
This design also provides an easy foundation for internal backlinking, which is a big thumbs up for SEO purposes.
MAKE CHANGES ACROSS YOUR SITE WITH ONE CLICK
By making updates and customizations from the Feast Plugin itself, you're able to change things across the whole site without having to dig into WordPress code or edit all the individual posts.
For example, if you wanted to change the wording on your affiliate disclaimer, you would simply update that setting in the Feast Plugin, and bam! It's live on every page, and you're done.
Optimized for speed and accessibility
The design of the plugin and themes themselves were designed with Google's Core Web Vitals in mind, but there are also additional settings in the Feast Plugin that give you a chance at even more speed and function optimizations.
Customer support is a bit snarky
A few things before I dive in, and I encourage you to read this in its entirety to get the full picture:
- This has improved a bit over the years as the customer base has grown
- I'm not just being snarky myself – I think this is genuinely important to address
- This section doesn't deter me from recommending the product! It's all about context.
When I say customer support, I mean the owner of Feast, Skylar. And I don't bring this up just for the sake of being salty on the internet! But from the perspective of a paying customer who asks questions about a product, the responses received online can (at times) rub people the wrong way.
I've seen things in the vein of “that doesn't make any sense”, “why would you do that”, “that's not a Feast problem”, or “just read this”. It's not like insults are being thrown around or anything like that, it's all a matter of tone. Rephrasing in more empathetic ways could go a long way to having customers receive the messages in a less defensive way.
- “That doesn't make any sense” = “I'm not sure I understand – could you clarify?”
- “That's not a Feast problem” = “This doesn't appear to be an issue with the Feast plugin – have you [checked your other plugins]?
- “Just read this” = “Here is a link to our documentation on this that I believe will be helpful”
I can't remember the exact details, but years ago it was brought up to him by users and he addressed it in a public forum to explain that his perspective is that he's here to do a job and not be sweet and fluffy in conversation. He just sees himself as getting right to the point and is very direct.
He fully expects that you will do your due diligence and exhaust all the documentation and resources that he's worked so hard to put together before you reach out with a problem or question.
As someone who works in IT who spends a lot of time pointing people at the documentation my team and I worked so hard to compile so they can be self-service and free me up to do other important work – I totally get it. It's taken everything in me over the years not to throw “LMGTFY” at people as a response (“Let Me Google That For You”).
The difference is that I still have to be overly kind in my responses and assume good intent (even when it might be the one question that pushes me over the edge that day) to keep my day job 🙂
If you swapped the context of a blogger asking questions about a WordPress theme for a rich person asking questions about their wealth management account, some folks would be asking for a manager. You know what I mean?
At the end of the day, if you never need assistance on anything or have a tough shell, it won't matter to you because the product serves its purpose, and does it really well!
But if you're someone who needs a lot of 1:1 handholding and is looking for a buddy-buddy relationship with customer support for the product, this might not be the one for you.
It's a $249 annual fee
I only mention this as a con because one of the other options in this list is a one-time expense. I just want to make sure that it's clear that this is a recurring annual cost that goes toward the licensing, maintenance, and updating of the plugin and themes to adapt to the ever-changing web standards.
However, it's worth noting you can use the theme for 3 different sites for that single annual fee.
So if you're not in a place where that recurring expense feels feasible for you, check out the next option in the list.
Limoncella by Restored 316
- Great for: people who want to have control over every aspect of their site
- $249 (one-time purchase)
- Designed with food blogs in mind
- Customization and creative control over every aspect of your site
- Lots of different optional add-ons to further extend your branding
- Optimized for Core Web Vitals
- Visually stunning design
- Can be overwhelming because there are so many customization options
- Customer service is prompt and personable
Restored 316's goal is to create customizable feminine WordPress themes built on the Kadence Framework, and they're the best in the business at it. As of September 2023, they have 22 different themes for purchase between $129-$249.
The Limoncella theme is their newest, as well as their most expensive. And while you might gawk at the price a little, I personally believe it's worth it for the absolute crapload of features and beautiful prebuilt “blocks” they provide.
it doesn't look like every other food blog
As great as Feast is with regard to performance and users' familiarity with their theme layouts, sometimes it feels like everyone and their mom has their blog on the same theme.
If you want to break out of the mold and stand out a bit, the Limoncella theme would be a great way to do that.
It has lots of pre-built design options
There are three different homepage designs to choose from as your starting point (plus two more if you pay for Kadence Pro) – check out the options below:
And outside of the homepage, there are seemingly endless pre-built block sections for use throughout your site. Essentially every section you see on the page is a “block” that was pieced together with others to build each page. All customizable, all reusable.
Check out the images below to see some of those block options in Limoncella, as well as examples of the recipe index, recipe post, and category page (with an indicator that a post has a video!):
Integrates with wprm recipe cards
If you use WPRM as your recipe card plugin (highly recommend), they have templates built to further extend your site's cohesive look and feel.
did i mention it's beautiful?
I could go on for days, but among some of the other gorgeous features are:
- Attractive numbered lists (I know, weird sentence – but it's true!)
- Visually pleasing blocks to feature ingredients, kitchen gadgets, etc.
- Custom header and footer
- Choosing what to show or hide on desktop vs. tablet vs. mobile (or just how to display it)
Lovely customer service
Whether it's a general question, a technical issue, or anything else you can think of, their customer support is always very prompt, and pleasant, and always makes sure you have all the information you need.
Can be overwhelming
I'm a visual and technically adept person and even I felt a little overwhelmed looking at all the options available. Just about every single aspect of the themes can be customized, and each of those settings can be customized to be different for desktop, tablet, and mobile.
Do you have to use all of them? Not at all!
Do you have to use any of them? I mean, technically no, but I certainly wouldn't buy this if you have no intent to use the customization options!
If you're the type that loves having control over everything, you're going to fall in love (speaking from experience). But if you're the type that gets analysis paralysis or is overwhelmed when you have too many options, this might not be a great fit.
- Great for: people who just want to get the content out there and don't want to mess with customization
- $149 per year
- Created by ad network Mediavine specifically for ad optimization and speed
- Includes 3 different themes
- Includes Trellis Images photo compression
- Takes a “less is more” approach
- Lacks visual appeal, looks a bit amateurish
- Customer service is lovely
The Trellis Framework was built by the team at Mediavine – and as an ad network, their goal was to ensure that it was built for speed and optimized for running ads.
It costs $149 per year and comes with their homegrown core framework and three different child themes that you can customize (and you're probably going to want to):
It's very simple to set up and manage
Trellis is quite barebones – not a ton of options, lots of whitespace. If your focus is just to get your content out there and you don't care much about customizations and playing with settings, then you're golden! No muss, no fuss.
it includes an image optimizer
You won't need to install or pay for an image optimization plugin because they include their own with the framework, called Trellis Images.
They have a refund policy
If you're not satisfied, Trellis can be refunded within 30 days of purchase – which is basically unheard of for a digital product.
There's not much to it, and there's not a whole lot you can do to it. If you're skilled at HTML and CSS you can certainly mess around quite a bit to get things to look more interesting and modern – but on its own, I feel like it looks quite amateurish.
From the blunt drop shadows on images to the oddly aligned index pages and giant fonts, it just doesn't scream professional. Mind you, I know Mediavine had reasons for doing all of it – it's just not for me and my business.
But if your readers are of a certain age and find this the easiest way to consume your content and don't need bells and whistles, then you're golden!
… like the girls reading your site 😉
It's a $149 annual fee
I only mention this as a con because one of the other options in this list is a one-time expense. I just want to make sure that it's clear that this is a recurring annual cost that goes toward the licensing, maintenance, and updating of the framework and child themes to adapt to the ever-changing web standards.
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