|Talia's Tuscan Table owner, Chef Andy Bennardo, behind the bar at Baba's Shrimp Shack|
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.
"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.
4070 N. Dixie Highway, Boca Raton, FL