In December 2012 Hwy 61 Roadhouse & Kitchen (34 South Old Orchard Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-968-0061) appeared on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Since its initial airing, the episode has replayed a handful of times each month, with four airings slated for April, including tonight at 8:30 p.m. and two times tomorrow, at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
This month Hwy 61 Roadhouse is offering a special menu item themed around Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Gut Check caught up with owner Bill Kunz to find out what it's like taping with Food Network's No. 1 show -- and of course its bold host, Guy Fieri.
Kunz was first approached by the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives production team a year ago at the recommendation of Tom Coghill, owner of Iron Barley (5510 Virginia Avenue; 314-351-4500), who appeared on a popular episode of the show. By June, following several rounds of interviews, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives' team descended on St. Louis, with two days of filming scheduled at Hwy 61 Roadhouse.
"My friend had kind of prepared me that Guy is kind of busy and important and you won't get much time with him," he says. "At that time, the production company had said he's reason the show is so popular, and that kind of stuff. They prepared me for, 'Don't feel bad if he shuns you or something.'
"It's kind of weird...the producer gets this phone call, 'Guy is now leaving the hotel. Guy is now ten minutes away. Guy is now arriving.' It's like, holy cow, the Pope's coming or something. Then before Guy got there his valet or assistant was there and ironed 25 shirts for him, for Guy to pick one out. It was pretty funny. So it's like, maybe this guy is the Pope, maybe he's going to walk on water. He got there and I wasn't in awe of him; I wasn't intimidated and things went really well."
Once they got to talking, Kunz and Fieri learned they actually have a bizarre, intersecting history: Both men attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas at different times and lived in the same dorm room (Tonopah Hall, Room 101), and Kunz ran a bar in Los Vegas that Fieri used to frequent quite often. They also lived in the same apartment complex in Vegas for some time. Kunz says all these commonalities set the stage for a laid-back, good time during filming.
Click through for a video preview of the episode with Kunz and Guy Fieri in Hwy 61 Roadhouse's kitchen.