Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” Landed at Three Women-Owned Restaurants in Twin Cities
By Isabel Vander Stoep / [email protected]
If Flavortown is the destination, residents of Lewis County do not have to board a plane.
“Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” one of Food Network’s most popular shows, came to the Twin Cities this summer to record segments with three local restaurants: Centralia’s Dick’s Brewing Company and Chehalis restaurants Mackinaw’s and Once Upon a Thyme.
The show, dubbed “Triple D” by viewers, has been on the air since 2007 and features hundreds of independent restaurants across the country. It’s hosted by Guy Fieri, an enthusiastic chef and comfort food lover known for his collection of American hot rods and funky sayings.
It’s like all of the American barbecue dads suddenly melted into one man.
And of those hundreds of places visited, production crews told Lewis County restaurateurs that they were part of a small percentage of women-owned businesses.
“The production team were very impressed that the three of us were female,” said Julie Pendleton, owner of Dick’s Brewing Company. “So having three of us at one time was so cool. October is National Women’s Small Business Month, so it’s fitting that the episodes featuring the Centralia and Chehalis joints ended this Friday, October 15, with the Once Upon a Thyme lunch.
The appearance of Dick’s Brewing Company aired on September 17 and Mackinaw’s appearance on October 1.
While selecting restaurants, Fieri told Once Upon a Thyme owner Joy Templeton that showrunners look for restaurants in the area and narrow the list down to 14, of which Fieri picks the bottom three.
Templeton and Mackinaw owner Laurel Khan was in front of the camera, it was natural. Pendleton struggled to adjust to the idea of being seen on national television, but quickly recovered when she was with Fieri, who all three owners said was a pleasure to work with.
“I think the whole experience has been great. … Guy was awesome. Really fun to work with, ”she said. “I was a nervous wreck until this morning, but once they’re here you just have to let it go.”
For all the hours spent filming, only a few minutes are part of the series, and Fieri is only present for a few hours.
The whole process takes a lot of energy, time and money for businesses that have to shut down for filming days. But the exposure gained through a Triple D appearance has lasting effects. Templeton said producers encouraged her to advertise as a business “as seen on the Food Network” and prepare for a surge in sales.
“He comes in, you meet him and you say a few things and then you drive off. I mean, he was doing three in one day, so it’s like you walk in and get down to business, ”Templeton said.
Fieri meets with business owners on camera to make their first meeting as authentic as possible, Khan said.
Watching her episode, she felt it was an authentic representation of her experience, which she said made her list of the 10 funniest days of her life.
“Basically we’re just showcasing ourselves, and he’s interested (and) so passionate about the restaurant business, especially family-owned. So this was basically the time for us to put ourselves on a pedestal and show what we’re doing, ”said Khan.
The three restaurateurs agreed this was a unique opportunity to show the passion and hard work of their lives.
“What I do is a labor of love. I put my heart and soul into this business and it takes everything I have, and more, ”Templeton said. “But I just like giving people good food and making them leave happy, which is why I do it.”