What Sonoma County really thinks of Guy Fieri

Okay, by now most of us have read the NY Times review of Guy Fieri’s New York eatery. 

Between laughing hysterically at the unrelenting vitriole and feeling some sort of vindication for having our own taste buds assaulted by Tuna Tots, most of Sonoma County is letting out a collective sigh of relief over the Very Personal, Very Funny and Very High Profile attack penned this week.

Mostly because Pete Wells pointed out what we’ve known for years and felt uncomfortable saying too loudly about our native son: Your food is really kind of awful, bro.

Sure we’ve whispered it, we’ve hinted at it, we’ve said it to each other in hushed tones. But mostly we sort of cough nervously and look away when True Fieri Fans ask about his Sonoma County restaurants. We say things like, “Oh Guy Fieri’s restaurants? Hmmm. I don’t know that I’ve been there, but he seems like such a niiiiice guy.”

Really, what can one say? It’s like kicking a puppy. People LOVE Fieri  in places like Dubuque, Iowa and Scranton, Pennsylvania. He’s this lovable lug who represents cuisine for The Rest of Us. He’s the Larry The Cable Guy of Food and its hard not to feel like a snob when you say something like, “Well, if you like Applebees, you’ll probably be really stoked about Johnny Garlic’s!”

It just seems so, well, Wine Country of us, what with our obsession about heirloom tomatoes and heritage pigs and biodynamic seasonal peas served on a bed of free range arugula. 

Not to mention the fact that there’s a personal connection for many folks in Sonoma County. A lot of you helped him with his rise to stardom. A lot of you worked in his restaurants. A lot of you knew him way back when. A lot of folks have benefitted from his beneficence to local charities and causes. Personally, I’ve never seen him be anything but friendly and polite when throngs of middle-aged women crowd around him asking for an autograph. His mom is one of the most charming people I’ve ever not had a conversation with.

Yet we gnash our teeth that his food is connected in any way with Sonoma County, home of fresh, local, sustainable food. Of which Tuna Tots are not. A lot of you haven’t heard from him since he got famous or if you have, it was simply to get an autographed 4×6 which he carries with him at all times. Guy doesn’t do himself a lot of favors by walling himself into his home compound and surrounding himself with fellas who weigh 350 pounds and wear jackets that say Kulinary Krew. He doesn’t talk to local media (which at some level is understandable when any article about him results in dozens of mean-spirited comments). He hasn’t always remembered the little people who got him where he is. Trust me, I’ve heard most of the stories, and what I haven’t heard gets posted all over my Facebook page or blog if i deign to say his name.

What’s so terribly ironic about all this is that the nation is worked up about all this but guess who isn’t? Guy.

He’s mugging it up on talk shows, milking this little bit of PR gold for all its worth. I’m guessing we won’t get a quote from Guy for tomorrow’s news story about how this all is impacting him, but instead get lots of folks around him saying nothing but nice things like, “Any publicity is good publicity for a man who’s really put Sonoma County on the map.” And guess what, he has in his own way.

Meanwhile, his restaurants will continue to be financially successful. He’ll continue to assault our tastebuds with things like Bloody Mary Tri-Tip and Cheeseburger Sausage at Costco, have “cookbooks” on the best-seller list and charm his way into the hearts of millions whose only question is, “So where was that restaurant of Guy Fieri’s I’ve been hearing so much about?”

PS. I think calling him “Sphincter Mouth is a lot meaner than anything Pete Wells wrote..

Guy’s Response on the Today show…

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Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, BiteClubEats.com is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

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84 Comments

  1. my Godfather is from his neighborhood and my sister moved recently moved away from that area.

    His dad and grandpa were named Ferry and so was he until he started to make pizza and faux Italian food and then became “Fieri” over emphasizing it to FieTTi….which was when the laughter started

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  2. In my mind he has brought a lot of attention to Northern California. I think he gives the general public (me) what they want. Entertaining TV. I live in Ukiah and I know without a doubt many N. CA restaurants would have NEVER EVER and I mean NEVER been given any national media attention if it weren’t for him. I appreciate the fact he helps all of us N. CA residents by bringing more tourist to our communities. For that I love him. I watch his shows AND I own his book. A business person I know does some work with him and when I mentioned I was a fan the next thing I know I have a autographed book. I think he must be an OK guy to do that for someone who has nothing to do with his world. That’s my input. No, I have nothing to do with the food industry just an armchair QB.

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    • Although I don’t know the Guy, just from watching his show he seems like a total Ass Wipe. you might say how can state that if you don’t know him. I say watch the show, the way he is…is not act, it’s all natural douche.

      He laughs at his own jokes that aren’t funny(oh yeah his film crew laughs with him, guess they afraid they’ll get ousted for not laughing at a joke from Guy), he’s the only cook show host who is afraid to get any little splash of sauce or whatever on him, geez it’s a kitchen you’re gonna get something on your clothes, he acts like it’s cryptonite and he’s superman

      He does some stupid stuff in the kitchens he visits and you see the faces of some of the owners…they have the look like if he wasn’t Guy with his show they would’ve 86 him out of their establishment,but since they know there’s good chance their business is going to do way better by being showed on Diners Drive-ins and Dives that they put up with his annoying antics.He seems narcissistic because you can tell he wants to be the center of attention.

      He barely helps when he’s in the kitchen, and when he does he always say what I am a sous chef? No Guy, the chef is making his dish and your helping…just because you’re a chef doesn’t mean you can’t pitch in a little, no big deal.

      Especially at the end of a his show he talks with the owners and says to them Congragulations. I guess to be highlighted on his show he makes it known to them that they are lucky to be on it and he’ll tell you you’re lucky(Oprah has had people on her show to cook or whatever, she doesn’t say to them congragulations, and believe me if were on Oprah to cook a dish from your restaurant…Congraguations really would be in order because you will be rich after showcasing what you did on her show.

      So to sum it up…Guy in my opinion seem like a Narcissistic Douche Bag.

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  3. To each his/her own. MacDonald’s has flourished. They are even in Europe. The worst hamburgers on earth. Applebee’s is great for a beer but the food is “microwave” special. There will always be people that are satisfied with eating in these sort of establishments. They don’t even seem to mind that the price of the meal is not commensurate with the quality of the meal. But personally I find myself losing my appetite when I see Mr. Fieri, that along with the fact that one of his local restaurants here in Santa Rosa was closed down by the Health Dept….a safe, pleasant eating experience is not what I think of when I envision Guy Fieri. America, Guy Fieri does not represent Sonoma County California

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  4. Okay, I guess I will take a minute to chime in. I have read a lot of negative things about Guy Fieri on this board. We all know that Guy has an ego that is bigger than most. The majority of us know that his restaurants are not five star establishments. But the fact that he is successful as a television personality is not luck or coincidence. I believe that he has earned his success. Now, with success comes the inevitable attempt to tear him down now that he has been built up. I am not a huge fan of Guys, but I do not wish him ill will because he is successful. He has become a “brand” and I admire the fact that he is working his tail off to succeed at building it. I think there is a lot of envy in this room and it saddens me that people are so ugly to each other and towards Guy. If you dont like his food…dont eat there. If you do not care for Guy, then do not support his endeavors. Better yet if you cannot stand his success then celebrate your own and move on.

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    • Sorry, but still don’t buy into the idea that everyone who thinks his food is garbage, his persona is obnoxious and annoying, and that he is more or less repugnant in general, is secretly jealous / envious / wishing they were him / wishing they had his business, etc.

      This is just an utterly ridiculous argument. So everyone who is annoying in the world we are all just secretly envious of? Everyone who sells products that are sup bar and poor in quality, we wish we could be like?

      This is the most ridiculous conclusion I have ever heard.

      Maybe people don’t like his food just for the plain old fact that it stinks! Maybe he gets terrible review after terrible review after terrible review because his restaurants are terrible! Maybe people rip the guy apart because he really is an annoying phony.

      Why has this world become so overly sensitive that nobody can ever take criticism anymore. That there is no “bad” review, cause that would be “mean” and might hurt someone’s “feelings.” Whatever happened to “If the shoe fits, wear it”? So all the never ending terrible reviews are one giant conspiracy of the secretly jealous to tear Guy down?

      Because there is no possible way anyone can ever do any wrong anymore right?

      Sorry, but all things being equal the simplest answer tends to be the right one.

      And if it talks like a douche, walks like a douche, acts like a douche, and cooks like a douche….well….

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  5. Wait – how did this turn into a Heather bashing?

    Having said that, I will chirrup with this:

    In my (okay – somewhat limited – partner in highly successful SF eatery a couple of decades ago; divorced from a chef who opened or helped turn around numerous high end restaurants during same
    time period; old school “foodie”) frame of reference, I have two questions myself.

    #1 – did Wells eat there FOUR times because he just could not believe what he was experiencing?

    and

    #2 – since when is it okay to excuse four consecutive bad experiences with “hey – it’s only our first
    two months…..we’re TRYING…..”?

    Otherwise I’ll wait to express an opinion until I actually try the place myself. (No breath holding – please.)

    Thanks, Heather, for covering the story.

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    • What comes to mind is “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in the guise of “Guy’s New Restaurant.”
      The problem the food reviewer had was that he didn’t order THREE of the mysterioso aqua drinks and drink them AT ONCE…prior to tasting any of the food. Had he drank drunk drinked first, the food would taste MUCH better.
      Sheff Fieri is due added praise for his blue “anti-freeze” drink. How often have you ordered a tasty cocktail, been unable to finish it and yet unable to carry the remainder home because of open-container laws? With Guy’s drinks, if you can’t finish one on a cold New York night, you just pour the remainder into your radiator. This is the “green way” to drink and drive safely. Thanks, Sheff!

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    • Heather bashing? The Internet is a great place to be anonymous . I know where Heather works!
      P.S. I follow her but not stalking her.

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  6. Well, it seems all the intelligent people have moved on and all that’s left are the trolls. All comments from here on out that are off topic or that I deem to be generally uninteresting will be removed. Fair warning.

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  7. The nationwide Guy Fieri blow up is timely in that it comes just a week after the 2012 elections. We ARE a country divided. Your view of Guy is probably reflected in whether you identify with a ‘red state’ or a ‘blue state’. While Guy is from a true ‘blue state’, Northern Ca., his persona, food and lifestyle are ‘red state’ standards. The food scene here in the Bay Area, and NYC are worlds apart from what people eat in the plains of Western Kansas, Ohio, and Florida Pan Handle. Sure, there are areas in these places where one can find a thriving local food scene with quality restaurants, farmers markets, etc., but like the tiny blue dots in a sea of red, they are few and very far between.

    Traveling deep into the middle of the country you want to believe that you will stumble upon the small town restaurant serving local food, with Grandma in the back making scratch biscuits. This is pure fantasy. The reality is Sysco frozen food and canned green beans. Places like Applebee’s & Red Lobster thrive at every exit on I-80, and for many people ‘The Olive Garden’ is the only “Italian” food they have ever eaten.

    As a Sonoma County chef, i often cringe when I see what Guy is touting. At the same time, I have traveled enough to know that even after reading the NYT review, many of the dishes sound better than what is really being eaten in restaurants around the country. I understand his appeal to the masses. I don’t understand the personal attacks, calling him an A## hole, etc. Really?!?! Have you not seen ego-arrogance of most high profile chefs?? Has reality TV taught us nothing?

    Guy’s customer base in not my customer base, but he has his place. There are literally 100’s of really good restaurants in New York that have never been reviewed by the NY Times. Pete Wells reviews places like Per Se’, Le Bernadin, and Café Bolud. What did he think he was going to find at Guy’s American Place?? He needs to travel a bit more to understand why restaurants like this have their place..

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    • Well said….

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    • Wow. You couldn’t spell a single one of those restaurants correctly. YOU must be the Guy Fieri audience. FYI, it’s “Per Se”, with no apostrophe. It’s “Bernardin”, not Bernadin and it’s “Boulud”, not Bolud. Wow! Nice job!

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  8. I must laugh out loud. For all of this, Guy is coming up smelling like roses. Ride that PR wave, Mr. Fieri, for all it’s worth. Makes me wonder if he didn’t plan it himself. Regardless, as I’ve said to friends, whoever had the great idea (his millionaire backers?) to open a 3 story, 500 seat restaurant as your first foray into NYC definitely didn’t do him any favors. But as all restaurateurs know, if you need to lose some money, or hide it, open a restaurant.

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  9. Heather,
    You are a want to be restaurant critic. You do this as an unpaid freelance. I have been reading your comments for years. You do not know how to diagram a sentence, or spell, but this, I guess, was part of your appeal.
    The restaurant business is very tough as you know. I would rather have a formula hook, a la Bubba Gumps on Pier 39, or a Planet Hollywood in Rome, or a Guy restaurant in the middle of Times Square in New York for all of the one time tourists who will visit. Who cares if they do not come back. There are more getting off a plane at JFK to fill the 500 seats. It is a business that makes money. Period. That is the point. Money is the reason we get up in the morning, and I challenge anyone to say otherwise.
    If you want artsy Sonoma County food, follow the small seats that fill up your vision. If you want to make money, follow Guy.

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    • So by your rationale since guy has made money, that makes everything ok right? He has profited from his crap food and phony persona, so it justifies everything. As long as there is money made, it’s all good. Brilliant philosophy you got there!

      Sorry, but I would rather live poor my entire life than spend one day being a collosal douchebag like him…or his supporters.

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      • Mike you seem intelligent………Tee He He I made a funny!!!

        everybody is entitled to their opinion, but yours.. well, it is incorrect, Guy is a good guy,

        he does a lot for the locals and that is way cool. so you don’t like his food.. good for you… There are a lot of people that do or well, he would not be in business. reading over your posts honestly it seems your Jealous of Guy!! how pathetic is that LOL!!!

      • Yeah…that’s what it is…jealousy. The typical response of those with no brain, “Well you MUST be jealous, THAT’s what it is!!!”. Cause that could be the ONLY rationale for those who don’t agree with Guy, his crappy businesses, and his character…jealousy. The argument for those who truly have no argument.

        You SO got me there!!!! I humbly bow to your 3rd grade logic.

        The only thing more scathing than your idiotic assumptions is that you actually used the phrase “tee he he”. Umm…ok.

        Now do the world a big favor and go play in traffic.

        Or go back to your usual position…on your knee’s blowing Guy.

      • LOL!!!

        That was awesome!!!

        I have to agree with you Mike, Just Some Guy’s assumptions were utterly ridiculous.

        Yes, the terrible reviews of his restaurants, and the thousands of comments from people confirming those reviews are all pure jealousy!!! Lol!

        What an unbelievably stupid argument. But then again, there are lots of unbelievably stupid people.

        And for the record Just Some Guy, I could line up about 50 people in 5 minutes who will attest that Guy is absolutely NOT a “good guy.”

        Sorry…but you live in a land of delusion.

        Or you’re Guy himself posting as “Just Some Guy”.

        Perhaps you really are, Just some “Guy”.

        Either way, take Mike’s advice.

      • Bravo!!! Way to go Mike. way to post on a family board, your mom must be proud, must of struck a nerve LOL!! the truth hurts, you guys are great, Heretic you are just as smart as Mike lol!!! I made another Funny!!! and Heretic wow 50 people I underestimated you, with the comments you made honestly I didn’t think you could count that high. 50 people that is really going to effect the bottom line lol. I know if some body has a different opinion they have to be in a land of delusion just shows how shallow minded you are… happy times. :O)

    • Nope. Wrong again. I actually get paid to do this. Doesn’t that set your panties on fire.

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      • My assumption is it will…since “Guy” is obsessed with money. Sorry “Guy” but they are all right and you have yet to provide any sort of logical argument to what they are saying. And just because you say people are stupid, or think you’re funny or clever with your “I made a funny… yuck yuck” without making any sort of compelling argument to the fact that there are lots of people who don’t think money is the most important thing in life, you just make yourself look like a fool. And its pretty stupid calling others “shallow” when you are the one focused purely on financial gains and nothing else. Does it get any more shallow than that? You really did make a funny!

  10. Let’s remember this when your trying to show Heather the big picture…she believes her farts don’t stink, even though folks next to her at the Wednesday night market disagree.
    She is a redhead, the stereotypical… Full of themselves..
    She could care less what others think if they don’t agree with her .
    As for the review, it is what it is.
    Just hilarious that you self-appointed food snobs are trying to compare your favorite SoCo resto’s to this tourist place.
    Get over yourselves already, your embarrassing, you probably use the word “ amazing” don’t you… sad

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    • That Reply was Amazing :OP

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    • Fact is his food is mediocre. There is no way round this. I keep wanting to like it lot but the flavor just isn’t there regardless of what he does for the area. Good works doesn’t make delicious food.

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  11. Heather,

    You go girl. Proud of you !!!!!!!

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  12. I have tried each of Guy Fieri’s restaurants–once.

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  13. The guy has amazing Karma. He rose from nowhere. His personality, energy, appearance and guts put him in the New York Times and of course the Press Democrat as well as on the Today Show. He also seems to be having a good time.

    I like his food network show “Diners, drive-ins and dives” better than his restaurants. His communication and presentation skills are impressive and will probably always be noticed.

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    • Uhhh…did you read the articles? He was ridiculed relentlessly for his God awful restaurants. Is that supposed to be a good thing that came from all that “karma” he has??? If anything I would say that his personality, (a douche), isn’t yielding him anything good, and his “communication and presentation skills” , (which are that of a douche as well), are only noticed for being obnoxious, annoying, and fake. I’d say that Karma isn’t helping him much.

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  14. Hi all,

    this is a sad day for sure, when Guy’s own comunity is turning aginst him, he donates a lot to the Boy’s and Gir’s club in Santa Rosa and did a lot Recently in New York for Hurricane Sandy, buy hey who cares about that right, Heather….. Let’s Kick the “Guy” right in the chodes when he is down… I have lost great respect for you and your blog which I used to enjoy greatly. Shame on you Heather..

    Johnny Garlic’s for me tonight, because unlike Heather, I support people that do a lot fo our Community and others.

    L8TR

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    • No one said he isn’t generous. Oh wait I did mention that. But why are we giving him a pass on sub par food because he helps local causes? That’s beyond illogical. And shame on u because you clearly aren’t part of the biteclub community nor do u have much perspective — otherwise u would know my rule on “shame in u” posts

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      • Heather,

        I know your rules, and somtimes rules need to be broken, you seem to be comparing Guys food with the likes of the French Laundry. where it does not compare because it is not set up that way, (which you would think you would know) People go to Guy’s Resturant’s for a fun time and experiance, and the food is very good for the price. suprising that there are so many people jumping on the Heather band wagon without looking at the big picture, one person posted he is not the apple of sonoma county, he has contributed more to the benifet of the county then eveyone on this blog combined. so go ahead and continue flogging people that help the comunity and see where it gets you….. way to go :O|

      • You have no idea who is in this blog, so I caution you to make statements like, ” … he has contributed more to the benifet of the county then eveyone on this blog combined.” Heather is not “flogging” anyone. This is an open forum to discuss each singular point of view. You are 100 % correct in saying Guy’s restaurants are much different from the French Laundry, I DOUBT anyone would even think to compare them, but I think your blinded by Guy and not looking at the big picture. We can all have our own opinions. Heather starts a conversation and let’s us roll with it. I march to the beat of my own drum and on my personal experiences at both Tex Wasabi and Johnny Garlic’s I have had sub par food and below acceptable service. Will I go back to either? no. Will I stand to my personal thoughts on both restaurants? Yes. Will I let you attempt to make me feel like your opinion is more valuable than mine and say you know more about what I do for the community than what I really do? ABSOLUTELY NO. Have a great weekend!

      • No one even mentioned French Laundry. I said Applebees. And honestly, I’m not sure it even stands up to that. Because at Applebees I know I’m getting microwaved food and my expectations are set.

        I feel like you really aren’t a regular reader (or you’re someone with financial ties to Guy), because you’d know that I’m about all kinds of food — highbrow and lowbrow. My measuring stick is whether that food lives up to what it should be for that place. If its Thai, then it should be good Thai. If its Denny’s, then it should be really greasy diner food that we all understand is not locally sourced, but really hits the spot after a long night of drinking.

        I’m tired of people excusing Guy’s awful restaurants because he’s a philanthropist. I’m sure he’s a stand-up person in that arena. I’m not criticizing him for that. I’m saying, Guy…your food is disappointing. Maybe you should do something about that.

        Trust me, there are lots of people who do good for the community. It doesn’t mean I want to eat dinner at their house. Let’s just separate the two things.

        PS. Maybe you want to read a few of the hundreds of stories i’ve written about people who help the community. You can start with this http://www.biteclubeats.com/evelyn-cheatham-on-chopped/
        http://www.biteclubeats.com/grange/
        http://www.biteclubeats.com/waterhorse-jams/
        http://www.biteclubeats.com/jess-flood-tractors-and-tiaras/

        All I can ask myself now is why I’m wasting time on this rather than doing something productive. Blah.

      • Amusing Heather,

        so since I have a different opinion then yours I must be on the payroll of Guy’s LOL!!! not on any payroll of Guy’s man that would be awesome if I was. nope I just disagree with you an some of your bloggers. I guess you are not use to that. any way I am so glad I don’t have to put people down to make a living that would be awful..

      • I think Heather is doing a great job giving us the straight on what’s happening with food in the county. Many of us are on limited budgets and want to eat good quality food that tastes great and cannot afford to have a bad experience. This is a great forum for people to share their experiences and I appreciate the honesty. And I agree someone should not get a free pass because they give to charity. It’s all about the food!

    • Please, Heather did not kicking. This is a story that has gone viral nationally for many reasons. To not cover it here would be truly silly. It’s not about him. It’s about his food concepts. Anyway, I doubt his restaurant is some kind of personal risk. This kind of enterprise has big corporate backing and is more of a concept than a “restaurant”. The question is why did the NY Times even bother to review an industrial food eatery?

      This is what these kind of places like the Cheesecake Factory etc, are like, I don’t think as a rule the NY Times reviews them, but if they use the name of someone like Guy, then they are a target for some and a destination for others.

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    • Just because he donates doesn’t mean he’s no an annoying douche. If you make lots of money just say hundreds of thousands or millions a year the least you can do is donate.

      So to donate if you have a fat bank account really is no big deal. Another example we all know Donald Trump is another A hole, I’m sure he donates, but he still is an A hole.

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  15. The New York Times review was lovely, delicious and fun to read. The Observer review was just ugly.

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  16. Well said Heather! Guy is absolutely NOT the “apple” of Sonoma County’s eye. He is more like the unfortunate step child that nobdy wants to claim ownership of, and everyone secretly wishes would just go away.

    The review that Pete Wells wrote was HANDS DOWN the most accurate, spot on, well written, hysterical and absolutely brilliant review I have ever read! It should be preserved in history books so that future generations may read it and bask in it’s glory.

    Guy is, and continues to be, successful because he takes advantage of the fact that 99% of the population in this country is just as cluesless about food as he is. He panders crap to the masses and they mindlessly gobble it up. Such a shame.

    What’s worse is that he also tries to push his “nice guy / down to earth” persona on everyone as well, when in fact he is the utter definition of “douchebag”. There should be an image of him when you open up a Webster’s dictionary and find that term. From my own experiences seeing him around town, driving around in his “I-swear-I-don’t-have-tiny-genitalia” massive yellow truck, or from the never ending stories I hear from people who know or have worked for him, he is an utter tool. There is not a genuine thing about the guy and he is about as phony as they come. One of my favorite events was seeing him out at a local bar, high as a kite, trying to act like he didn’t want to be seen, yet announcing constantly who he was. Uber douche.

    Can’t wait until him, and all his restaurants, vanish into oblivion.

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  17. Heather, I enjoyed your comments much more than the NY Times. Well Done! Guys menu and method of preparation is just not my thing, but he must be keeping some folks satisfied because he still has about 8 restaurants around the country. He markets his business interest as Diner and Dive Food which means we shouldn’t expect 4 star quality, just a satisfying gut bomb. Food and Restaurant “reviews” are like art exhibit reviews. Taste buds and eyesight are like fingerprints – they’re all different and some folks don’t have any.

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  18. Tried the Windsor location, that was enough. It’s just not my cup of tea. Some people think it is the best meal in the world. Those are the same people that leave 5 stars on Yelp, which mean, It doesn’t get any better…..
    Really……

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  19. I have never been to one of Guy’s restaurants and likely will not ever go to one. I do, however, watch his shows. He “reviews” places that nobody else does and I have eaten at several of those all over the country. They are fitting to my taste, interesting and affordable. I like that.

    Sure, he tries to capitalize on his fame. He is hardly the only celeb to ever do that. I don’t expect the folk who can afford the French Laundry [a really excellent experience] or a NYT food critic, or a lot of foodies, to frequent any of Guy’s spots or those featured on his show. Fine by me if they vote with their feet. I like to see places that I can afford and might enjoy on a regular basis. I watch The Food Network and the like, but frankly, except for the rare special occasion, it is just a vicarious thrill.

    Call this an opinion from one of “the rest of us”.

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  20. Guy Fieri has hit the bulls-eye with Guy’s American Kitchen. While this restaurant will not appeal to foodies, and be of little or no interest to most New Yorkers, (with the exception of New Yorkers looking for place to take 25 kids for their 10-year-old’s birthday party) it will be a success with the audience he is targeting – tourists. Times Square is the “mall” and Guy’s American Kitchen is the “food court.” In Times Square tourists are able to visit most of the same chain stores that have outlets in their local mall, eat at a “famous celebrity restaurant” by someone they all know from TV and eat what they will consider “gourmet” food which to most Americans is Applebee’s or any place with table service. I doubt many of these tourists read the NY Times and couldn’t care less what NY newspaper restaurant reviewers have to say. To answer Peter Wells’ recurring question – why, why, why? The answer is – Guy Fieri knows his audience which is out of towners who will absolutely love this place.”

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  21. Heather, your article is right on. He’s an overpaid celebrity and his food is total crap!

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  22. Ha, ha, Heather your article is as funny and true as the NY Times article! Sometimes the truth hurts. Overpriced crap food and an Emeril Lagasse type personality has him unfortunately laughing all the way to the bank.

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  23. Pretty cheap article Heather. Way to jump on a bandwagon and kick a man while he’s down. I lost a lot of respect for you and your blog. By the way, Johnny Garlic’s happy hour is great (6 dollar BBQ chicken pizzas). Tex Wasabi’s is gimmicky but not as bad as its reputation.

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    • Way to troll. Did you even READ the article? There was no “kicking” and even if there was- Guy Fieri (as mentioned in Heather’s article that, again, you must not have read) is certainly not down.

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    • I agree that this was a major cheap shot Heather. If you don’t have the nerve to speak your mind on your own don’t come out from under a rock to pile on after some yahoo at the Times slings the manure. You lost major credibility with this Sonoma County Diner.
      Instead of a hit piece why not report on some of the new places opening in West County?

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      • Meh. Im really ambivalent about the whole thing. I felt like I should weigh in because so many people were discussing it…and wanting to discuss it. I honestly i wrote what i felt and it wasn’t anything more or less than what i’ve said in previous reviews of his restaurants. I’ve just never thought his restaurants lived up to the potential — I’m a fan of wacky flavors and creativity. I honestly LOVE the concept of his restaurants and the stuf fon his menu always SOUNDS great. It just never tastes all that great.

        Whatev. I would rather write about other stuff as well. So I’m officially moving on.

      • If Guy had ever been serious about offering a modern take on classic comfort food, the original incarnation of Johnny Garlic’s (felled by the food poisoning escapade) would have served the current menu at Three Squares Cafe.

      • I love when people post comments like this…”You lost credibility / You lost my respect, blah blah blah.” Really, how much of a narcissist are you that you actually think Heather gives a rats a** what an ABSOLUTE STRANGER thinks of her??? I’m sure she’s really going to lose a ton of sleep tonight over your thoughts. Get a life man, for real. It’s not a “cheap shot” when she is just reitterating what someone else wrote that was 1000% spot on and reflects what pretty much everyone in Sonoma County already felt.

        And since you’re obviously a royal protector of the Guy Kingdom, you should probably get over to Tex Wasabi or Johnny Garlics ASAP! They really need you during this tough time! I’m pretty sure tonight is there usual weekly douche meeting, so be sure not to be late.

  24. I harvest my greens only in the wild, under the light of a full moon….and they must be pre-chewed by catepillars. In fact, I have successfully taken slo food to its logical conclusion: no food. I’m hungry!

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    • David, best post so far.

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  25. I’d like to know what exactly Guy Fieri has brought to the local food scene.

    Much is made of his reverence for, and frequent public mentions of his adopted hometown, but there are no local influences apparent in the product he’s putting out and selling.

    And is the attention he brings the area overwhelmingly positive? If he doesn’t represent the cuisine of this region, how can his bringing business to his own establishments while his persona is scoffed at by the majority be good for anyone but him and his partners and maybe a few mid-level hotels.

    Those that are drawn to Sonoma County because he is kinda-sorta-not really from here aren’t going to make a trip to Willi’s or Zazu or many of the other restaurants locally that represent this region’s innovation and unique offerings. They are going to do lunch at Johnny Garlic’s, and dinner at Tex Wasabi’s, spend the rest of the night hovering around their hotel room’s toilet, and never truly experience out local cuisine.

    Is any attention good attention? Even if it’s based in… a false/poor representation of the amazing talent and bounty we have to offer?

    It makes me cringe to hear a “chef” like Fieri cite Sonoma County as their inspiration or background. He represents our food about as much as a fart represents the weather.

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    • “[A] fart represents the weather.” Great metaphor!

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  26. I went to Tex Wasabi’s once and did not like it. This was before Guy became famous but I have no desire to find out if it’s better or not. I’ve been to Johnny Garlic’s a few times. The food was good but certainly nothing to write home about. And add me to the list of those that thinks that most of the food at JG’s is very comparable with Applebee’s, Since it’s so much more expensive, I’ll take Applebee’s instead.

    And none of them use garlic anywhere near as good as we can get from local sources.

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  27. Isn’t it sort of a right of passage, a badge of honor if you will, that you will, at some point in your Sonoma Co residency, get dragged to Johnny Garlic’s or Tex Wasabi’s by unsuspecting, star-struck out-of-towners? I mean, how else can you really bitch about the terrible food, if you haven’t actually eaten there?

    Man, his food is bad and that review was unintentionally hilarious! But we need a guy like Guy in Sonoma Co, because otherwise we forget that not everyone can live in paradise and have access to amazing, fresh, local food. It keeps us humble. Or something.

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    • Actually, I think Wells’ review was quite intentionally hilarious.

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  28. I love going to Happy Hour at Johnny Garlics with my girlfriend. Two pizzas, calamari, and a pint of microbrew for 20 bucks. I hate Applebees. I don’t see the comparison at all. Tex Wasabi’s isn’t very good though. Anyway, I’m sure you people are hamming it up over the national press lambasting your favorite local villain. Hope that is fulfilling for you.

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  29. I think hes fun to watch, his restaurants arent the worst in this town. Im glad we have someone from Santa Rosa in the limelight. I wasnt into Minute to wine it (or as I call it, the stoner olympics) but DDD is the best. I know I will be meeting him at end of the month so we will see how he is in person. I hope hes cool or my image of him will be tarnished.

    He might not be the mayor of flavortown but hes fun!

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  30. I wonder if he has huge flatscreen TV’s all over his Times Square location, with only him on the screen? What an egomaniac! That turned my stomach so badly I wasn’t able to eat at the Texwasabis downtown location.

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  31. Guy Fieri HAS done a lot for Sonoma. We don’t have a lot of locals that end up in front of millions of viewers every week so we’re “celebrity deficient,” and thus Guy gets all the tomatoes tossed at him. But if everyone in Sonoma dislikes him and his restaurants/food, they should have had the backbone to speak up, instead of just tittering at the one person (other than Anthony Bourdain) who took him on and called him on cranking out crummy food.
    I loved the NYTimes article–so well written and deliciously vicious. It hit just the right tone, a combination of Gore Vidal and Dorothy Parker. We don’t see that caliber of writing often IMHO.
    And, by the way, it’s VITRIOL, NOT VITRIOLE…

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  32. He’s never gotten points with the foodie community. So sad when I meet out of towers and I have to break it to them that Johnny garlics actually sucks.

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  33. The is jerk and always has been…….he almost ran me and my friends over while he was driving his golf cart at sears point in june…….he didnt even say he was sorry….

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  34. truly, a living, breathing SNL character. bizarro world.

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  35. He is sort of a jerk from everyone I know who has talked to him, including myself. And Johnny garlic stinks, Tex wasabi, who knows anymore if it still is there, but it sucked so I never went back. As far as I’m concerned we are completely spoiled in Sonoma County with perfectly wonderful fresh healthy food to eat else where!

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  36. Unfortunately, the importance of the brand supersedes the importance of the quality of the product. That has been the rule in business for some time. Look at TGI Friday’s. Garbage, but well branded. And to answer some of the NYT writer’s questions, yes, here in his flagship restaurants, the food is terrible, greasy, poorly prepared, and yes, the service is terrible also. I had such an awful experience at the Johnny Garlic’s in Windsor with a client from out of town, that I had to take them to Sante just to regain some credibility. Our server was clearly hung over, had a side-pony tail that she was waaaay to old to be sporting, and the worst part was we were one of five people in the restaurant and still got terrible service. She spent most of her time at bar flirting with day drinking firefighters and texting while our not very good food died in the window and got much, much worse….at any rate, if the service/food are anywhere near what Guy is representing himself with in his hometown, I’m sure it will succeed just as it has here. Too bad.

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  37. All I got to say is. This was a good story. I gotten a good chuckle from reading it. Even if it was at Guys Fieri Expense.

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  38. Guy Fieri represents Sonoma County food culture about as well as a deep fried twinkie represents diet food. He’s embarrassing, and dangerous, as he cheerfully promotes fat and sugar laden, calorie dense, nutrient deficient junk food. For shame, Guy…try sampling your home county’s REAL food and change your tune quick!

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  39. Well, personally I think Applebees is one up on Guy…at least you get your food and generally it’s hot. No, I think Guy is the ego and he’s not showing the pride. As my husband said, he’s the disco of the food industry. We can’t wait until it’s done!

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  40. The A-Gassers at Sears Point Raceway in the late `90’s thank Guy and his crew for supplying us with free plates of his fabulous Pastrami Sandwiches. It kept us going round after round and winning 5 championships. Thanks Guy. We’ll race you anyday. Steve, Mark, Danny, Rob, Luke, and Spencer.

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  41. I read the review (like a lot of people) and since I’m basically neutral on him I just chuckled and thought “oh man.” But my question is– I’ve only been here a few years, but is he really considered a spokesman/representative of Sonoma County food? I’ve seen the show but does he go out of his way generally to say “I’m from Sonoma” or “bringing the Sonoma County food scene to America,” etc. I’m sincerely asking, as from the episodes I’ve seen and the general vibe I don’t really get the sense he sees himself as an ambassador for anything else but himself and his brand. And most chefs clearly associated with a city – ie Rick Bayless in Chicago or Wolfgang Puck or whomever — have at least one well-reviewed and well regarded signature restaurant in that place, and he doesn’t have that.

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    • He does frequently represent Sonoma County. Apparently he was on Entertainment Tonight this week talking about his hometown.

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      • Got it thanks. Guess I’m just in denial.

  42. Guy is the poster boy of what I call Brutal Food movement. The diner is brutalized and the food is brutalized.

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    • Agreed, but where else can you order a Pizza and get enough oil to lube your Massey Fergesen Tractor and the horse trailer.

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  43. I think he is on the edge of a Financial Food Cliff, and an avalanche of chunky jewelry is coming down hard.

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  44. Perfectly captured Heather!!

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    • Food aside, I’m thinking of the charitable causes mentioned in the article. Guy spends time up in Trinity County. Last summer he promised to provide tickets to a major league football game and dinner at his local restaurant for a fund-raiser for a Trinity County resident suffering from cancer. He never came through. Guy, if you read this, you know what I’m referring to.

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  45. We had friends visit recently and all they wanted to do was go to local places “Guy likes” and then, *shudder* they insisted on going to Johnny Garlic’s for dinner which was, well, awful. But, they were like zombies- so excited to be at Guy’s restaurant (“I wonder if he’ll come by!”) that they didn’t notice the bad food and lousy service. So, in the end, we showed them the side of Sonoma County they wanted to see- even if it wasn’t the most flattering side.

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  46. Thanks Heather. I found myself silently thinking the “Applebee’s” line myself. You captured our mixed emotions about the North Coast’s prodigal son perfectly. In his (scant) defense, I have to say that doing anything well in a 500 seat restaurant on Times Square would be a challenge. If the NYT wants to rip someone, rip the investors.

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    • Heavy Helpings: absolutely hilarious.

      I honestly feel a little bad for Guy at this point. Not really because he’s being picked on so badly but because he actually does deserve a lot of it. I can’t stand to eat at Tex Wasabi’s or Johnny Garlics although the bartender at the JG on Farmers by my work is great and can make a great drink. But that’s just a good hire and I have never ordered one of GF’s “signature drinks” nor would I.

      I think Guy could really do a lot (to the tenth degree) better. How hard would it be to use this criticism to actually work on it and make it better- make it good. Make it something that SOCO would be as proud to endorse as he is as proud to proclaim he is from SOCO. You can tell me he can be proud of what so many people clearly REFUSE to eat.

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