When the frosted-tip celebrity chef rolls up for a segment of ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,’ restaurant owners buckle up for a wild ride.
A candy-apple red 1968 Chevrolet Camaro roars down Beacon Street in Somerville on a sunny day in 2014. The door swings open, and Guy Fieri, the star of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, hops out, his platinum-frosted tips glistening under the blue sky. As he crosses the street and heads into Trina’s Starlite Lounge, a neighborhood comfort-food joint, a local yells from across the street: “You gonna have those chicken and waffles?”
Indeed, Fieri would rave about that dish (“That’s good fried chicken like your mom would make!”) during a whirlwind, multiday shoot that would culminate with the restaurant appearing on the popular show, which is referred to by fans and Fieri himself as “Triple D.” But as the teams at Trina’s and the several other Boston-area restaurants would discover, it’s what comes after the camera crew packs up and leaves that’s most interesting.
Since the series premiered in 2007, the show and its tried-and-true formula have become a television staple. In each episode, Fieri profiles three restaurants, typically mom-and-pop-type spots without the financial support of a major chain. Those that are actually chosen to appear — a list that includes dozens of spots in New England — often reap the benefits of Fieri’s greasy-spoon, golden touch.
“Guy’s like Santa Claus to business owners like me,” says Paul Barker, whose Boston sandwich shop, Pauli’s, appeared on an episode of Triple D…