Guy Fieri is a “Say what you will” celebrity, as in “Say what you will about his personality, he’s been good for indie restaurants, especially burger joints.” His “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” program on Food Network is maddeningly formulaic (“It’s bananas! And bananas is good!”) but it has made it hip for people to scout out hole-in the-wall restaurants with unexpectedly good food. Fieri has saved more than one restaurant’s bottom line during the past years’ recession.
Fred Guerrero of The Oinkster in Eagle Rock, Calif., told GrubStreet.com that Triple-D staff told him to expect a 40% jump in sales once his restaurant was featured “but it was more upwards of a 100% increase,” he said. There’s a FlavortownUSA.com website lets people find restaurants visited on the show so they can make their own pilgrimages.
Which brings us to Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, a 500-seat powerhouse that is expected to open this Sunday at Times Square in New York City. It’s Fieri’s third concept, following Tex Wasabi’s and Johnny Garlic’s (I’m not counting Guy’s Burger Joints that bear his name on Carnival Cruise Lines) and it is no diner, drive-in or dive.
Eater.com has kindly scouted out the menu for the new venture and it’s as relentlessly on-trend as you’d expect. Think Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese, a Roasted Pork Báhn Mì sandwich, Chipotle BBQ Pork Soft Tacos and Salted Whiskey Caramel Fool. It’s Fieri’s own “No buzzword left behind” initiative. But say what you will…the restaurant will do blockbuster business. If I still were compiling a Top 100 Independent Restaurants list for the late Restaurants & Institutions magazine, I’d be saving a spot for Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar.
The burger choices, shown at right, are limited to two–Guy’s Big Bite Burger and The Ringer–and not surprisingly both are Pat LaFrieda custom Angus blends. Curious what’s in Fieri’s “Donkey Sauce” for burgers? Check this recipe for his Straight Up with a Pig Patty Burger from Food Network.