(Photo: Jay Cheses)
The scathing 2012 New York Times review of food terrorist and human Ed Hardy t-shirt Guy Fieri’s Times Square pig trough is by now the stuff of legend. It’s sincerely one of the great literary achievements of our time and if you haven’t yet read it I’d suggest you do so immediately. But while critics both professional and amateur have savaged the restaurant equivalent of that cavernous “Sportatorium”-type venue on the edge of town that still books Sammy Hagar and Dokken — the monstrous monument to all things Guy in the middle of Manhattan — it turns out that Fieri is of course having the last laugh. Because this is America. And we fucking suck.
According to a ranking of the most profitable independent restaurants in New York City by Restaurant Business, “Guy’s All American Kitchen and Bar” came in ninth — and 26th overall across the country — raking in an obscene $16 million last year. If you’re a fan of good food and you’re at all familiar with New York City’s plethora of exemplary restaurants, that puts Guy’s frosted pubes well above Le Bernardin, Daniel, Morimoto, Eleven Madison Park, Per Se, Gramercy Tavern and on and on and on.
The only thing we can be thankful for here is that Balthazar and Del Posto miraculously came out ahead of Fieri’s late-term abortion clinic for food, but that’s little consolation.
In some ways you have to give Fieri (née Ferry, never forget that) credit for realizing that the only place he’d be likely to succeed in New York City was Times Square. It’s basically a toilet bowl with tourists as the turds: they come there by the millions and swirl round and round and round until finally flushing themselves into the highest priced Olive Garden or Friday’s in America where they’ll be gouged for crap they get right up the street from their homes every Saturday night. The culinary maze of Saw traps Fieri insidiously constructed and slapped his name and ridiculous face on was practically guaranteed to ensnare these kinds of folks by the hundreds of thousands.
The takeaway from this, no pun intended, is that Fieri has won. He’s worth a fucking fortune and even his New York City restaurant is a howling success. Anybody who thought the spotlight on him would mercifully dim — especially after all this time — is fooling himself. All hail Flavortown. I for one welcome our new douchebag overlord. Praise the Lord and pass the Donkey Sauce.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.