Guy Fieri looks like one of those people who, if your friend started dating him or someone like him, you'd find yourself compelled to ask her if she was kidding or, in fact, that desperate. The hokey catchphrases, the loud raspy voice, the questionable fashion choices (note: sunglasses worn on the back of the head + shorts in all weather = unmistakable mark of the douchebag) all add up to a losing round of Death Is Not an Option for me.
But he is inexplicably popular among a sizable amount of Food Network viewers, so much so that there's a whole website devoted to finding the places he features on his "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" show. I have no idea why places would agree to be featured on a show that refers to your life's work as a "dive," but whatever. For those restaurant owners who agree to the meaty television embrace of Guy Fieri (brrrr), though, life is never the same.
Fans of "Triple D," as they call Fieri's show, will actually travel hours just to have lunch at one of his featured eateries, crowding out the local customers that made it successful in the first place and bring them levels of business they never previously dreamed of -- and may be unprepared to handle.
As skeevy as I find Fieri, I'll give him (and his producers) this: they do stick to local, non-chain places that maybe don't show up in guidebooks. The one place he's visited in my area that I have been to is a great little place with inventive food ... but it's been kind of an "in the know" place for people in the surrounding area, not a destination spot. While no restaurant wants to turn down customers or complain about having lines out the door, it can be a bummer for longtime customers who are reduced to going at off-hours or getting takeout.
You're happy to see a place you love succeed ... but it's kind of sad to lose that "our place" kind of feeling.
Are you a Fieri fan?
Image via Kelly Huston (ProComKelly)/Flickr