The Butcher and the Bar in Boynton Beach held a watch party when the restaurant appeared on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Seated at bar are (l-r): Renata Jaremko, Joe Pisicchio, Elizabeth Greene and her husband, Graham. Foreground: Ashley Weber and Roy Madalinski. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star
Food Network star shines a spotlight on local eateries
By Faran Fagen
A hot dog with attitude, a giant and juicy food truck burger and short-rib pappardelle sure to make any mom proud all made their way into the culinary spotlight last month when celebrity chef Guy Fieri brought his Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives to South Palm Beach County.
Of course, the food items shared the limelight with the chefs who “made them great” and with the restaurants where they have distinguished themselves as favorites.
Although the episodes aired in March, filming was done in December and the restaurateurs continue to savor the memories, photographs and the added business the exposure brought them.
Now back to the edible stars.
In Boynton Beach, the Butcher and the Bar’s signature hot dog is a 100% Florida beef — no fillers — natural casing favorite. Head butcher Logan Gates grinds the meat with a variety of spices.
For just the right taste, the New York-style delicacy is smoked to cook it through and cooled. For service, it’s reheated on the grill, put on a split-top bun from Old School Bakery, and topped with a house-made sauerkraut and yellow mustard.
“Guy told us people are going to travel from around the state to eat these menu items, so you better stock up or they’ll disappear,” co-owner Eric Anderson said.
The Butcher and the Bar (aired March 17) is one of five South Florida eateries featured in the latest season of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
The other four establishments and their air dates were: Boca Raton food truck Cheffrey Eats (March 17); Rose’s Daughter, which serves Italian-American cuisine in Delray Beach (March 3); La Cosinita Latina in West Palm Beach (March 24); and Hellenic Republic, which serves Greek and Mediterranean food in Coral Springs (March 24).
The series has showcased Fieri tasting and evaluating food for the soul at stops throughout the United States on the Food Network since 2007. The Rebel House in Boca Raton appeared on the show last year. Also last year, Fieri bought a house in Lake Worth Beach, and uncorked a style of his show at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
And, by the way, Fieri doesn’t really drive around in that souped-up 1967 red Camaro seen in the promos. The convertible is shipped on a trailer to each locale and Fieri is simply filmed opening and closing the car door.
Jeffrey Lemmerman is the owner of Cheffrey Eats. His food truck offers mouth-watering burgers in the parking lot of Barrel of Monks Brewing in northern Boca Raton.
Since the December filming, Lemmerman was itching to talk about his appearance on the show. On March 3, when the new season began, he and his following were finally able to spread the word.
“We have a very supportive community,” Lemmerman said. “The responses have been very genuine and heartfelt.”
The March 17 watch party took place inside Barrel of Monks.
Lemmerman said Fieri was “blown away” by the size of his operation.
“He couldn’t believe the high volume of food we produced and he was surprised we have such a vast menu with the size of our kitchen,” Lemmerman said. “It was a very humbling experience for us.”
When he took a bite of one of Lemmerman’s signature burgers, Fieri said, “A lot of these ingredients were made with love.”
Lemmerman felt proud.
“We order our patties daily and season them daily for the freshest burgers,” Lemmerman said. “And each burger is given the same close attention. Consistency is the key.”
Fieri tasted two of Lemmerman’s items: the Barnyard Burger, an eclectic chicken breast over an Angus chuck blend burger, plus candied bacon and cheddar on a kaiser roll. For dessert, he had brownie-batter cheesecake in a mason jar.
The filming lasted 20 hours, just two of those hours with Fieri. He insisted on doing the interview in front of a mural of Fieri’s face that Lemmerman’s brother, Brian, painted on the food truck.
“We’ve always been pigeon-holed, and people knew us as only a food truck guy before they knew us,” Lemmerman said. “Now the phone is ringing off the hook.”
Lemmerman believes in personal attention so much that he doesn’t take online orders. He likes talking to people so he can get to know them and build longtime customers.
Homage to Mom
Suzanne Perrotto, chef/owner of Rose’s Daughter in Delray Beach, first drew inspiration from her mother, Linda Rose Kaufman, a chef.
She skillfully and lovingly showed Perrotto how to combine Italian cuisine with seasonal ingredients. Those skills and the resulting dishes are on display today at Rose’s Daughter.
Perrotto’s short-rib pappardelle and black truffle paste garnered rave reviews from Fieri.
The episode on Rose’s Daughter aired on the March 3 opener and generated much buzz in the restaurant just north of Atlantic Avenue. The watch party was a modest staff-only affair on the restaurant’s back patio.
“It’s surreal, seeing yourself on television,” Perrotto said. “It’s definitely part of promoting the business.”
Perrotto slow-roasts her short rib for almost a full day, and a main ingredient of the pasta is Caputo 00 flour, which has higher protein content than regular flour. This means that the dough will stretch more easily and doesn’t require as much kneading as other flours. Using Caputo 00 flour allows you to roll your dough thinner and avoid tears while it stretches to the right size.
Kaufman watched her daughter’s restaurant on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives from bed. She’s in recovery from open-heart surgery, although Perrotto said she is “getting a little better each day.”
What began as a need for carpal tunnel surgery turned into something much more serious after the prep work revealed a leaky heart valve.
“It’s just a miracle she survived,” Perrotto said. “She wouldn’t have made it without the surgery.”
Kaufman took part in the filming just before the operation and kept her sense of humor in front of the cameras. At one point, the producer asked her to cook something in the kitchen, and she responded, “Cook? I’m too old for that sort of thing.”
“She’s brutally honest,” Perrotto said. “I would know — she was my first mentor. Mom is from Brooklyn, and the restaurant layout mimics New York neighborhood style, with tables close together, so you’re sitting near strangers.”
The atmosphere was not lost on Fieri. He commented on how relaxed he felt.
“I guess he wanted a pillow so he could take a nap,” Perrotto said.
But the celebrity chef with the spiky hairdo was wide awake when he tasted the pappardelle.
“I was so relieved when he took the second bite,” Perrotto said. “I literally stared at him for two minutes of chewing until he finally made very flattering comments.”
The Butcher and the Bar team in Boynton Beach includes (l-r) Kal Foks (cook), Matthew Swig (lead bartender), Logan Gates (head butcher/executive chef), Taylor Tucker (manager), Marit Hedeen (managing partner) and Eric Anderson (managing partner). At right is Food Network’s Guy Fieri. Photos provided
A special porchetta
As for Anderson, he turned the watch party for the Butcher and the Bar, where everything is made from scratch, into a refined event. The pots and pans — and even the silverware — were cleaned to a shine. Samples of each item spotlighted in the episode — the hot dog and porchetta sandwich — were shared with guests.
For the porchetta — a type of pork — executive chef Gates adds fennel, lemon zest, other herbs, salt and pepper, rolls it and ties it, skin out. Then it is roasted, gradually, raising the heat, and finished under very high heat to crisp the skin.
To serve, the staff removes the skin, and chops it into fine, crunchy bits. The meat is sliced thin and warmed on the flat top while the ciabatta bun from Old School Bakery is toasted. The bread is spread with a gremolata (parsley, garlic, lemon zest, and oil) and topped with a fennel salad that is dressed with a house-made preserved lemon vinaigrette.
“Since word officially got out on March 3, it’s been a whirlwind,” Anderson said. “We’ve been extremely busy, which we appreciate very much. We were obviously very excited to see how things turned out, what made the show, what didn’t, and how our food and ourselves looked on TV.”
Anderson said since he doesn’t often get the chance to appear on national television, he wanted to put his best foot forward. It happened to be St. Patrick’s Day, which he said brought him luck.
“We really appreciate having this opportunity and want to thank Food Network, Citizen Pictures and Guy Fieri for this amazing opportunity,” Anderson said. “And more importantly, thank you to all our regular and new customers for their support and well wishes. We wouldn’t be here without them.”