Just about four months after the opening of Guy Fieri's Chophouse at Bally's in Atlantic City, Fieri himself dropped by for a look-see at the place.
It's money, all right, sitting right there next to the Buca di Beppo on the second level, above the casino floor: red banquettes, lobster tank, expansive bar, lively vibe. Even critics are grooving on the menu, which takes a typically Fieri-esque approach to the traditional chophouse menu. (Yes, there's donkey sauce.)
The platinum-spike-topped Fieri multitasked during his long weekend in A.C.
Besides meeting media and dignitaries, he roared his Camaro convertible up to six Jersey shore restaurants for his Food Network series Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. (The Press identified them as The Anchorage Tavern in Somers Point, the Grilled Cheese & Crab Cake Co. in Somers Point, Carluccio's Coal Fired Pizza in Northfield, Kelsey & Kim's Southern Café in Atlantic City, Ernest & Son Meat Market in Brigantine, and Oyster Creek Restaurant & Boat Bar in Leeds Point.)
Left unsaid was Tuesday's closing of one of his Johnny Garlic's restaurants in Sacramento.
To anyone who wants to make it in the food-TV game, Fieri said: "Knowledge is power. Take chances. It's funny because the only thing that will prepare you for the television business is the restaurant business. You are talking a lot of hard work. You're talking about a lot of team work. You're talking about a lot of creativity. I never thought I would be on TV in my life and what brought that to reality was the restaurant business."
Fieri was hardly an overnight success. He was 38 in 2006 when he won Season 2 of Next Food Network Star.
His heroes: "My dad is my superman in so many ways. ... I try to take influence from as many people as possible. ... Marc Summers is probably who gave me the baseline of information and awareness. Some people won't allow other people in their life to give them direction and advice. ... I'll listen to anybody."
And he knows he can be a polarizing figure. Asked last week by Washington City Paper why there's such an extreme reaction, he said: "I really don't think about it, and I really don't care. I think people like what they like, and some people love Coke and some people love Pepsi and some people hate the two. You know what? I'm not that kind of person. I don't have those issues. I'm a big Chevy guy. It doesn't mean I don't like the other car manufacturers. I don't know. Everybody's got their own thing that makes them tick, and if it's me negatively then amen to them. I don't have an answer to that one."
He's also laughing at/with Saturday Night Live's Bobby Moynihan, whose dead-on impersonation is genius.
In Parade magazine not too long ago, Fieri said he would love to join Moynihan on camera during one of the Weekend Update bits.
So I asked him the other night to impersonate Moynihan impersonating him.
See the video above.