Windy City Wine Guy Meets Guy Fieri

img_1210I recently had the pleasure of meeting Guy Fieri of the hit Food Network TV show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (also known as DDD).  I was not only excited to see Guy, but also the place he was taping an episode at- The Depot American Diner on the west side.  I have heard great things about this spot, but hadn't yet made my way out to visit.

I am a huge fan of Guy's show because it has foods that make my mouth water, excellent homemade preparations, spots that locals love (some with long traditions), and real chefs with personality and enthusiasm.  Now, alot of the food can appear rather rich (maybe even unhealthy?), but everything in moderation my friends.  I still had a few questions however- how do they pick the restaurants?  How many do they hear about?  How many actually make the cut?  What is Guy's favorite beverage?

First thing I want to say is that Guy is a real guy, a man's man.  He knows how to be funny and entertaining, but also genuine.  It is no secret why he has multiple TV shows- he has a boisterous personality and commands attention.  So img_1213what if he eats foods that would give a cow a coronary?  So what if he wears sunglasses on the back of his head or wears the same clothes your nephew does?  The guy has style.  Did you see his car?!

Listening to Guy talk about the restaurants on DDD gives you a sense of his passion and integrity.  Hundreds of places are submitted to appear on the show, but only 1 out of about 80 make it.  There are many requirements.  It has to be a diner, drive-in or dive.  It has to serve food that people love and rave about- this is how they get Guy's attention in the first place.  Then come the specifics: you have to make a majority of your food homemade and fresh.  This means alot of prep- stocks, sauces, doughs, beans, etc.  Also, it means alot of fresh ingredients.  They may make scale tipping cuisines, but alot of it is natural, and there is also alot of care involved.  He also likes the owners and chefs to have personality- love what you do!

img_1203Now a bit about The Depot.  The place is owned by Robert Nava, former executive chef of img_1204The Signature Room and Hard Rock Hotel.  Robert is originally from the Bronx, where the idea for his delicious egg cream beverages comes from.  The decor is old school diner look- red  leatherette booths and counter seats, old diner photos, all classicly created by Robert and his wife Anamarie.  The place also boasts awesome breakfast, donuts, soups, pot roast sandwich, blue plate specials, and desserts.  Take a short ride west and give this lively spot a try!

img_1209I did get a chance to ask Guy about his beverage likes.  Besides malts and shakes, we don't img_1206normally get to see or hear Guy talk about this subject.  He is a huge wine fan and agrees that it is the best drink with a meal.  But he also loves Pabst Blue Ribbon and Buleit Bourbon.  Those are definitely Guy drinks!