By: Sarah Blaskovich
A visit from spiky-haired Food Network chef Guy Fieri comes with a spiky secret. No restaurateur filmed for an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is allowed to tell anyone during the several months while Food Network’s TV production crew readies days of footage into a segment
for the show.
The rumors about where Fieri and his red 1968 Camaro convertible might’ve been seen don’t matter. Restaurateurs can’t tell.
“We had a customer come in and tell us, Diners, Drive-In and Dives went to an Afghan restaurant in Dallas,'” says Matt Pikar, co-owner of one of Dallas’ few restaurants that serve Afghan cuisine. Fieri and his crew visited Pikar’srestaurant. But Pikar followed the rules, hemming and hawing to the customer. “Hmm. No idea!” he had to say.
Fieri and Diners, Drive-Ins and Divesare infamous for turning hometown favorites into dining destinations. If you like a place seemingly nobody else knows about, a spotlight on Food Network will send people from all over the country to your once-secret spot. Just ask restaurateurs from Dallas restaurants Cane Rosso, Pecan Lodge, Twisted Root and many more: An endorsement from Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins and Divesmeans serious business.
Jesus Carmona, owner of Tacos Mariachi, says he plans to cook twice as much food for customers once his restaurant is featured on Food Network on Jan. 19. He’ll also hire more employees so the line moves faster.
For Carmona, the feature on national TV is priceless for his small business.
In fact, “It’s the American dream,” he says.
Here’s a look at 6 restaurants in Dallas that will be featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives soon:
Don’t be afraid of ordering an octopus taco. It’s the thing to get at Tacos Mariachiin West Dallas. The pulpo, or grilled octopus, comes topped with asadero cheese, a slice of avocado and cilantro-pesto sauce, wrapped in a corn tortilla. Carmona served Fieri a pulpo taco and a basket of his mole fries. “They’re the two dishes that I love the most,” Carmona says. You can bet a lot of people are going to order them soon.
Episode premieres Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. on the Food Network and is called “Delicious Discoveries.” Tacos Mariachi is at 602 Singleton Blvd., Dallas.
Nora Restaurant and Bar
Nora Restaurant and Bar, located on Dallas’ Lowest Greenville, is the first Afghan restaurant featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, its owners believe. Nora is more upscale than most on the show. (“I kept saying, ‘We’re not a diner, or a drive-in, or a dive,'” joked Rosalind Lynam, a co-owner of the restaurant. Good point.) But a feature on Triple D means Pikar and Lynam can explain Afghan food to a national audience. Chef Pikar says Fieri was knowledgeable about his restaurant’s flavor profile. “He knew all the spices,” Pikar says. “He said, ‘You have black cardamom in this.’ Nobody has heard of black cardamom.”
Episode premieres Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. on the Food Network and is called “Delicious Discoveries.” Nora Restaurant and Bar is at 1928 Greenville Ave., Dallas.