Help Talia's Tuscan Table in Boca Raton Become Guy Fieri's Next Drive-by on his Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

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Talia's Tuscan Table owner, Chef Andy Bennardo, behind the bar at Baba's Shrimp Shack
​How does Guy Fieri choose the restaurants he features on his Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives?

If it's anything like his upcoming prospect, Boca Raton restaurant Talia's Tuscan Table, it's got a lot to do with character. Character from the food, the customers -- and even the establishment's owners. 

And that's something Talia's Table has plenty to go around.


"We're your local dive joint. You come here for some good food, for a good price, and a big portion. It's a no frills thing," said owner and Chef Andrew Bennardo.

Frills or no, a spot on Fieri's show isn't in the bag just yet. It's actually up to people like you to make it happen. Like them on Facebook, and write to the Food Network, if you'd like to see this local South Florida spot on an upcoming episode.

"We're close. That's why we've gone on this campaign [to get more support]," Bennardo told New Times Thursday. 

The last e-mail Bennardo received from Food Network producers read: 
"We'd like to hear more noise from your customers."

Luckily, they've got plenty of those, too. In fact, Bennardo credits his customers for his chance to be on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. With over 1,000 Facebook friends -- and growing -- it's his loyal supporters who have made his business the next spotlight for Guy Fieri's foodie show. 

So, what kind of a dive is it? The kind of place with $1 drafts poured from a self-serve keg in the middle of the dining room, and where the Godfather streams continually 24-hours a day. 

"It's a New York kinda place, with a Sopranos feel to it," said Bennardo, who has since expanded Talia's to include Baba's Shrimp Shack, the nautical-themed portion of his restaurant. Baba -- his nickname since childhood -- is homage to his hometown of City Island, Bronx's own "mini Cape-Cod." 

"That's where I grew up, and I worked every seafood restaurant on that island," said Bennardo, whose specialty at Baba's include fresh fish tacos, New England-style clam bakes, and a Moroccan-style paella -- to name a few. 

Sounds like one delicious dive. We'll be doing our own drive-thru pretty soon. Look out Guy Fieri! Here comes Clean Plate Charlie...


Follow Clean Plate Charlie Facebook on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.

Location Info

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Talia's Tuscan Table

4070 N. Dixie Highway, Boca Raton, FL

Category: Restaurant

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11 comments
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Aaron
Aaron

Hey, I'm Aaron, im 16 and im from New York. Every summer I hang with my father in florida. He lives RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from talias, and I can't stress how much I love the place. Since andrew is from bronx, new york, the same area I'm from, its a good connection. The food is amazing, and the workers are the friendliest people around. It deserves to be in guy's sure so everyone can know.

Chefbz
Chefbz

Dear Food Network,I love your shows and I am glad to hear you are considering Talia's Tuscan Table & Baba's Shrimp Shack, at 4070 North Dixie Highway, Boca Raton, Florida 33431.  I feel that this the type of place that would fit right into your Diners, Drive-ins and Dives Show.  The food is great, the place has a unique and fun atmosphere and the Chef/ employees are wonderful, with all this you would have an extraordinary episode.  I can not wait to see this episode!Thanks for your time.Bill Boettcher

tony
tony

My name is Tony Esposito.  I have frequented many an Italian restaurant in my life.  Boston, DC, New Orleans, New York and Baltimore's Little Italy.  None have compared to Talia's.  Now, if you insist on 5 star white glove service, fine gold-encrusted china, $20 drinks and the such, this may not be the place for you.  If true to form, authentic, REAL Italian gut grabbing cuisine is what you're looking for, then bring Guy to Talia's to show off to the world!  No frills, no substitutions, no cellphones.  Just exemplary food like momma (more like grand momma) used to make. Chef Baba is the real deal as exampled by his "resume" hanging on the wall.Come to Talia's for a great time, a great show and great food!!!   Free fresh Mozzarella with every order!!!  You can watch "The Godfather" while you wait.

Tony Esposito 954.649.2257250 SW 13th StBoca Raton, FL  33432

kim
kim

Guy, Talias is truly the best Italian deli in Boca!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Andy even customized his BOTTICELLI sandwich and made it my way( my name is now next to item on wall menu)He uses the best Ciabatta Bread in the world and roasted garlic....it is my favorite weekily treat!!!!!! sincerely, kim rossetti    long time Talia patron. 

Eau5
Eau5

Here's what I wrote. Good luck!! Hi --I am writing to recommend Talia's Tuscan Table in Boca Raton for your Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. My husband and I visited Talia's the last time we were in south Florida (we are well-traveled foodies).  We needed to travel to this place, which is a little out-of-the way for us, but the trip was more than worth it!  Hidden in a non-descript strip mall, it is anything but ordinary. Memorabilia from Chef Baba’s family’s NYC deli enhance the walls, among many interesting and humorous wall décor. Chef Baba works right alongside his employees, making sandwiches the likes of which you have never had (and I grew up in New York city and know what good is!) Chef Baba, himself, is a colorful character whom you will enjoy. But you will be most impressed by the food – fresh, flavorful, bursting with creativity, and ciabatta breads (made on the premises) incredibly crunchy and delicious!It would be great for Guy from your Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives to check this place out. I promise you, you will be as happily surprised as we were! Sincerely,Elsie Uffelmann152 Olean St.Worcester, MA 01602508-612-1869

Eau5
Eau5

Here's what I wrote. Good luck!! Hi --I am writing to recommend Talia's Tuscan Table in Boca Raton for your Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. My husband and I visited Talia's the last time we were in south Florida (we are well-traveled foodies).  We needed to travel to this place, which is a little out-of-the way for us, but the trip was more than worth it!  Hidden in a non-descript strip mall, it is anything but ordinary. Memorabilia from Chef Baba’s family’s NYC deli enhance the walls, among many interesting and humorous wall décor. Chef Baba works right alongside his employees, making sandwiches the likes of which you have never had (and I grew up in New York city and know what good is!) Chef Baba, himself, is a colorful character whom you will enjoy. But you will be most impressed by the food – fresh, flavorful, bursting with creativity, and ciabatta breads (made on the premises) incredibly crunchy and delicious!It would be great for Guy from your Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives to check this place out. I promise you, you will be as happily surprised as we were! Sincerely,Elsie Uffelmann152 Olean St.Worcester, MA 01602508-612-1869

Jeff
Jeff

From: Jeff Klay [mailto:jeff@coastalcleaningent...] Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2011 5:10 PMTo: 'DDDinfo@mac.com'Subject: Talia's restaurant       Hello Food Channel. We love your show and watch it very often for ideas on recipes and places to go when we travel. We live, “just around the corner”, from Talia’s/Babbas in Boca Raton, Florida and go there often because we love it. My favorite is the New England steam bake for an amazing $20.00!! And , I am from Massachusetts. The sauce that it renders is awesome and delicious when sopped up with their own  homemade, air pocket-filled, garlic bread…… Salivating as I type. The self-pickup food baskets and self-serve beer is fun plus a great value and promotes customer interaction with the staff and Andy the owner of course. He is a classic New Yorker with that accent everyone recognizes and the attitude to boot. Lots of casual fun bantering back and forth between free slices of cheese hunks at the counter. The place itself lends to this open communication atmosphere as the two restaurants are as one with only an open doorway between them. Talia’s is Italian of course with a variety of sumptuous dishes in stainless steel serving pans behind glass available for close inspection by the customer for fast counter delivery. However, if you prefer a custom made dish or just want it that certain way you like it , just ask and it will be done for you. Pull a cold Miller Light from the keg adjacent to the ordering counter, drop  a buck in the pitcher, sip for a while and wait for the classic,” DING” of the bell and the accompanying yelling out of your dish order implying a hurry up…”come and get it”. Silverware/cups/napkins/salt/pepper/hot sauce..etc.etc. are all available on the allotted serving table ready for use. Get what you want then put it back when you’re done if you know what’s good for you!!! Babbas Shrimp Shack is the other half of the place. Same low key program but a whole different menu available. Or, you can even mix and match…how about that for service!! Some prefer a tight, strictly organized ship that caters to your every whim…this is not your place. The service is exactly what you ask of it not what has been predetermined. That is the difference here. You get what you ask for not what someone else decided to serve you.  No one place is for everybody but this place is for me and my friends. After you finish your yummies you can parouse the Shacks variety of imported  and popular groceries tastefully displayed around the perimeter of the tropical, Key West style decorum. Watch a little TV on the flat screen or just pretend you’re on the beaches of Key West not that far away sipping a cold one.

Podgursky
Podgursky

I know you were in Palm Beach County at Flakowitz of Boynton Beach (near where I live) which is fine and all that…my wife is a chef and puts their knishes to shame…But now I hear Talia’s Tuscan Table is on your route… Talia’s is something completely on the other side (near my real estate office)Your Fieri Grandma will be proud of Baba (aka Chef Andy Bernardo) for his laid back Italian Sandwich and pasta shop…but walk through the hole in the wall and find his seafood shack Some fun facts:-          Throw a buck in the cup and pour your own ice cold beer…-          Get a slice of cheese to whet your appetite at order time-          Connect online for great discounts-          Check out the rogues gallery of locals and celebrities… Menu items to focus on… A lot of people come in and get the Caruso – Italian Sausage and Meatball Parmegiana on his homemade Ciabatta… some get the Michelangelo – chicken cutlet and gorgonzola … some rave about the bronx bomber – full of Chris Cosentino delights like Mortadella, Capicola (Gabagool), Salami and hot peppers…***But I love the Columbus – Pepper Beef, Feta, Tarragon Bearnaise (chef school paid off cause he makes his own sauce), and Artichoke on the same Ciabatta… not your typical deli sandwichToday I have a sinus infection so I’m going for some Pasta Fagiole… my wife’s homemade Chicken and Matzo ball soup helps me at night but I need something NOW and soul food is soul food to this Jewish Boy At Baba’s Shrimp Shack, get some conch chowder, cioppino and a locally caught dolphin or snapper fresh fish taco wrap…( I stopped eating the farmed stuff a long time ago and the local fish is fantastic and down here is almost always in season)… He’s a little off the main drag (next to an auto parts store where you can get some Royal Purple for your convertible)…but a local favorite doesn’t need to be where EVERY tourista can find it! He also does some great events – Godfather parties where he has a prix fix and shows a Godfather movie – this month he’s doing Cher’s Moonstruck – he also does a 50/50 from 3-5pm – come in and flip a quarter and if you get heads, 50% off the check! Perfect for your underpaid crew! http://www.taliastable.com/ is where he lives on line(561) 362-0874 his phonechefbaba@aol.com his email addy Just think… a TRIPLE D on both sides of the wall…  a Triple D Ciabatta Sandwich – maybe Pepper Beef, Hot Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and some melted Fontina… and a Triple D Fruitte del Mare Taco wrap!?  Cioppino you can eat with your hands! I’d love to dine with you – just don’t touch my food or you’re likely to lose an arm J David

Jswcott4819 jill
Jswcott4819 jill

Cc: CHEFBABA <chefbaba@aol.com>Sent: Thu, Jul 14, 2011 10:16 amSubject: Talia's Tuscan Table

Guy, Talia's Tuscan Table in Boca Raton, Florida is a MUST for your DDD show...Chef Andy is amazing in his food creations and bold tastes...from his famous sandwiches to his special order only Osso Bucco and Roast Duck.  Chef Andy also does a Sunday cooking class once a month...I have participated and it is a great time and you learn some great tricks to incorporate into you own cooking at home.  Again...go see Chef Andy at Talia's and you will see just how special this down home family eatery truly is.  I am a Sommelier and foodie at heart and know great flavor and taste and this is certainly it! Jill Scott4819 S Classical BoulevardDelray Beach, FL  33445jscott4819@aol.com561-809-2034jscott4819@aol.com561-809-2034</chefbaba@aol.com>

adam goldberg
adam goldberg

Hi there!My name is Adam Goldberg and I've got to tell you about Boca's bestknown secret, TALIA'S! I think Guy would love this spot. The best $10sandwich you could ever get. I'm not going to lie, South Florida isn'tknown for too many great spots to eat, but around these parts, youcould never go wrong getting a Talia's sandwich. Walking into Talia's,they always have The Godfather on. Not to mention, the atmosphere ingeneral is just a great feeling; all the pictures of every fan ofTalia's is on the wall. Chef Andy makes you feel at home when you walkinto his place. Without a doubt I'd recommend this place no questionsasked! If you need to contact me any further about this amazing place,my cell phone number is 732.406.9629 or you can real me via email. Ihope you consider stopping by for an amazing Italian sandwich underthe Florida sun!

freakerdude
freakerdude

Talia's is a great little NYC dive and is worthy of being featured.  But Andrew may be asked to tidy up the place before shooting since all of the places featured aren't really divey at all.

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