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TV personality enjoys taste of Superior

TV personality Guy Fieri, fourth from left, poses with the employees and owners of Shorty’s Pizza & Smoked Meat outside the eatery at 1015 Tower Ave. Monday. Fieri filmed a segment for his show, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” at the establishment this week. (Photo courtesy of Shorty’s)

Guy Fieri left his mark on two Douglas County establishments this week. Crews filmed footage for Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” at Shorty’s Pizza and Smoked Meat in Superior and the Kounty Quarthouse in South Range.

Beth Cherny, owner and chef of the Quarthouse, got confirmation Fieri would be filming at her bar about a month ago.

“I thought, ‘This is exactly what they do, a dive bar with fantastic food,’ ” she said. “That’s the show.”

Filming began Tuesday morning with Fieri on the set.

“It was awesome to meet him,” Cherny said. “I watch the show all the time. … I almost had a heart attack when he got out of that truck.”

Shorty’s owner Brian Noel took his head chef David Andert across the street to the Palace Bar to tell him they’d been selected for the show.

“I was like a school girl at prom,” Andert said.

“He’s a super fan,” Noel said.

Andert, who has been in the food business for 38 years, says Food Network is what he watches when he’s not at work. It’s his school, his way of staying ahead of the curve. Working with Fieri on Monday was fantastic, he said.

“What you see on TV with him is exactly what he is, he’s got an electric personality,” Noel said. “He’s just a normal kind of guy who’s got a big personality and you can tell he’s got a big heart.”

The host with the frost-tipped hair concentrated on the eatery’s hunter chicken sandwich and meat lover’s pizza with smoked meat. He liked the pizza so much he snagged an extra piece for himself and one for his chauffeur on the way out the door.

At the Quarthouse, Fieri focused on the chipotle brisket sandwich and the crispy pork belly.

“He loved that one,” Cherny said. “He had it all over his face.”

While the restaurants are closed to the public during shootings, owners and the show bring in special guests. Thunderbird pilots, who would later fly over the baseball All-Star Game in Minneapolis, were at the Quarthouse along with Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec.

Cherny was almost more nervous about meeting the Thunderbirds than meeting Fieri, but the pilots loved the food.

“I don’t know how they’re going to fit in their little skinny uniforms because they’re all this big,” she said, spanning her hands apart. “I don’t know how they breathe, these boys.”

About three years ago, Cherny decided to move the bar in a new direction. The chef, who launched Savories catering, missed creating food. So she went back to the kitchen, earning a solid base of customers and winning over the taste buds of newcomers.

“Every time I try something new it’s just so good,” said Ashley Evans of Superior, who was present during filming at the Quarthouse Tuesday.

Dalbec said he stops by the bar for food often. He wasn’t surprised the business was picked for the show.

“Surprised it took this long,” the sheriff said.

Cherny mixes flavor combinations in a fun way, relying on fresh ingredients and careful preparation to bring the tastes to life.

“All the food we put out it’s amazing food and people love it and it makes you feel good about yourself to actually be part of that,” said Harley Kiehl, head cook at the Quarthouse.

Shorty’s was chosen for filming even though it’s only been in business for 11 months. One cameraman told Noel that he’s filmed 252 different restaurants for the show, but less than a handful had been open for less than a year.

One of the things the two restaurants have in common is a commitment to fresh, homemade food. The mashed potatoes at Shorty’s are the real deal and every dressing and sauce is made from scratch. The menu ranges from a BLT to coconut-curry shrimp, each item tried, tested and customer-approved. Nothing is on the menu just to round it out, Noel said. Shorty’s brings some of his Canadian favorites, like Montreal smoked meat, to Superior and offers hearty, classic fare.

“We just want to stay down to earth and keep putting out good stuff,” Andert said.

Fieri’s film crew, minus the host himself, shot at the Anchor Bar and Grill about four years ago. It was, said co-owner Adam Anderson, a free, nationwide, three-minute commercial that gave the business a boost.

“We’ve always been steady,” he said. “After they came it was steady for longer.”

The Food Network exposure attracted more tourists to the eatery as well as area residents who hadn’t realized it was there. Anderson’s advice to Noel and Cherny was to be prepared for the rush.

“It’s going to change a lot,” he said. “It’s good but then sometimes it can turn around on you.”

Neither owner knew when their segment would air, but Kiehl was told they usually run about three to six months after filming.