Guy Fieri and his Diners Drive-Ins and Dives crew was filming around town on Wednesday. When I got an invite to come hang out in the background of a taping, I was all in to see how that particular brand of magic happened.
LynLake’s Prairie Dogs, owned by Craig Johnson and Tobie Nidetz, was the site of the second filming of the day. “It all happened pretty fast, they only called us a couple of weeks ago,” Nidetz told me, "but we were told to keep it all quiet until after the filming."
When we showed up, they were a bit behind schedule, so we waited out front chatting with the crew. KDWB's Falen and KFAN's Meatsauce were there (Craig did hotdogs at their wedding) along with other superfans of the restaurant and friends. Fieri’s car, which they haul from shoot to shoot, was under wraps at the curb. When he came out in his trademark shades and a puffy jacket to shoot the opening drive-up scene, we were all ushered inside and told where to sit.
It was a good vibe inside, people were laughing and joking, they served us drinks, brought out food and told us not to take pictures. I’ve been around tv show productions where the crew is tense and wound tightly, and this was far from it. It was chill enough that some random dude wandered in and sat at the bar looking for take out. He had to go, but no one was sweating it.
They had already filmed the kitchen portion of the show, we were just there to be in the background during the interviews. A producer asked us to keep it down, because some vocally tall blonde might have laughed too loudly. The Mayor of Flavor Town was both smaller and more gelled than I thought he would be, that hair is a construction to behold. He also has a kind of kinetic energy that was real in the small space, you could feel it rolling off of him and his electric blue shirt. When one of the fans tried to snap a pic, Fieri joked with him that he would have to collect all the phones and might take the liberty of replying to any emails on them.
He did table interviews with Falen and Meatsauce, then a mom and her superfan kid (who had no idea what foie gras was, but knew that he liked it on a hot dog). When he finished, he breezed by me and asked if I was going to eat the huge pork and slaw piled hot dog in front of me, or what. So of course I stuffed it right in my face, because I’m a lady.
And then that was it. I was sitting on the end of the bar, at the very back of the shot so I doubt you’ll be able to see me in the televised version. But the crew set up was behind me, and when I turned around Fieri had pulled off his shirt to change and was standing half in the buff. All I could think was, “DAMN where’s my phone”, and then, “he’s been working out”. I looked to see if anyone else down the bar had grabbed a snap, but no. And then in a flash, Fieri was waving good-bye, dropping the mic, and heading out the door to his waiting car. Hate him or love him (and it seems that most people have a definite either/or stance on him), he was nothing but nice and seemed to really dig the hot dogs and appreciate what Prairie Dogs was doing. I wish I could give you something juicier than that, but it was a chill 90 minute hang.
This could do great things for them, the hot dog eatery could see some serious traffic if they show well on the tube. Triple D has featured Pizzeria Lola, 1029 Bar, the Dari-ette Drive In, and Smalley's in Stillwater among others in town. TCB Mag’s Adam Platt did a whole story on the effect that shows like this have on a small restaurant’s bottom line. No word on when the episode will air, but we’ll stay tuned!