I have a soft spot for celebrity chefs. It's probably because my TV at home is permanently glued to the Food Network. So I was pretty excited to hear yesterday that Food Network star Guy Fieri is in Vancouver filming the first international episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
If you've never seen this show, Fieri travels all over the U.S. seeking out the best of little-known diners, drive-ins, and dives. Often, these restaurants are family-run businesses; sometimes, they're cool '50s-style throwbacks; and once in a while, they're just really kitschy hideouts with cowboy memorabilia crawling up the walls and 10-pound bison burgers on the menu. What’s cool about Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives is that you often find out about places you would've never heard of or typically gone into, and Fieri decorates the show with hilarious little "Fieri-isms" over Beach Boys-style rock music.
In Vancouver, Fieri has reportedly already visited the newly opened Save On Meats (43 West Hastings) and The Red Wagon (2296 East Hastings Street). He's remained mum as to which other Vancouver spots the show will be filming at.
If Fieri did his research, I'd expect him to be dropping in on The Templeton (1087 Granville Street) or Hamburger Mary's Diner (1202 Davie Street). Both places have been serving up classic American diner fare (real ice-cream milkshakes, apple pies with a slice of cheddar cheese, all-day breakfast, etc.) to Vancouverites since 1996 and 1979, respectively.
In terms of dives, or small family-run restaurants, how about Phnom Penh Restaurant (244 East Georgia Street) in Chinatown? This place is a no-frills, communal-table dining, family-run biz, and I have no doubt that Fieri would throw out one of his well-known catch phrases, like "That's money" after taking a bite out of Phnom Penh's amazing lemon and garlic fried chicken wings.
Fieri might also want to take a bite out of Vancouver growing food cart scene while he's in town. Re-up BBQ's mouthwatering pulled pork sandwich would surely please this grill master. For something different, Fieri might also want to try a Chilean churrasco sandwich at the newly opened Nostradamus.
What are your favourite Vancouver diners, drive-ins, and dives?
You can follow Michelle da Silva on Twitter at twitter.com/michdas.