During the episode, which airs at 10 p.m. and is dubbed “Smoke and Seafood,” Fieri visits with L. Drew Pumphrey, the man behind the truck, along with a couple Florida establishments known for their seafood.
The Smoking Swine is the first Baltimore food truck to be featured on the show, which expanded its reach beyond the technical definitions of “diner,” “drive-in” and “dive” long ago. It’s not, however, the first Baltimore food establishment to find its way onto Fieri’s radar.
The show, now in season 24, has featured nearly 20 local eateries, noshing on everything from pizza to pit beef. In anticipation of the show – and the viewing party, which takes place at Waverly Brewing Company on Friday night – I asked a handful of local DDD alumni about being on the show and what it meant for their businesses.
Guy Fieri often gets razzed for his crazy hair and in-your-face attitude. But across the board, the restaurateurs I interviewed had nothing but love for Fieri, his crew and the show as a whole. The crew, they said, was fantastic and Fieri was professional, generous and fun. Plus, being on the show is a serious boon for business. Everyone reported a major (and welcome) uptick in customers.
Here’s a bit of what they had to say:
Drew Pumphrey, The Smoking Swine
Pumphrey had a great time working with Fieri and the crew and came away from the whole experience feeling good about what he does and how he does it.
“The best part was, for me, getting what I felt was real genuine encouragement from someone I very much look up to. He was very into what we’re doing. He liked our style, liked that we are a little left of center, which made me really happy.”
Chad Wells, Alewife
Wells respects the aims of the show and how seriously Fieri and the crew take what they’re doing. Plus, he says, they’re a lot of fun.
“The crew is incredible. They’re really nice people. You do hours and hours of phone calls going through every detail of everything. They want to be sure they’re going to a place that cares about their recipes. They look for small businesses.
“The majority of the work happens before [Fieri] is there and he comes in for a couple hours and hangs out. He really cares about what he’s doing. He’s genuinely interested in talking to you about what you do and why you do it. He hangs out, eats food and he’s a hilarious guy.”
Brigitte Bledsoe, Miss Shirley’s Cafe
The Miss Shirley’s episode ran about two months ago. During filming, the crew had a great time and as soon as the episode aired, the restaurant – and Bledsoe, its chef – felt the impact.
“The whole experience was fantastic. They were a lot of fun to work with and made it very comfortable and easy. It was two long days of filming but they were a lot of fun.
“Our coconut cream French toast and crab cake po’boy [the items featured] have tripled in sales since the airing on January 15. We’ve also seen quite an increase in our business. Right before the snowstorm, I was in Target and got stopped by three people who recognized me. People come up and ask me questions and it’s been interesting. It’s kind of neat being recognized around town.”
Winston Blick, Clementine
The Clementine crew butchered a pig on-screen with Fieri, but for Blick, the most memorable part of the DDD experience came from something he observed when the cameras weren’t rolling.
“It was the most gentle, nice experience I could imagine. I have an uncle who is pretty ill and he loves the cooking shows. Obviously, it’s a closed set and you can’t tell anybody. But I went to the producer and said, ‘I have this uncle who is pretty ill, he loves Guy. Can I get him up here somehow?’ The guy, with complete sympathy, said, ‘Let’s make this happen.’
“So he was able to come. When I came out, after we had filmed my part of the episode, Guy was over with my uncle. He’s awesome. He was done, had handed out the autographed hats and needed to leave – and he was over there with my uncle. I just thought was amazing.”
To see The Smoking Swine on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, tune into Food Network at 10 p.m. this Friday, March 11.