‘I love Nashville’: Guy Fieri meets over 500 fans at downtown Chicken Guy! location
In the early evening of May 4, an extended line of more than 500 loyal fans anticipating getting their pictures taken with the Food Network television star and fun-loving restaurateur Guy Fieri began at Chicken Guy! Nashville’s brick building at 139 2nd Ave. N. and wrapped along Commerce St.
When asked why he stopped by his popular chicken tender location on a seemingly regular Wednesday night, Fieri joked, “Well, I’m coming to get some chicken. I know that’s why everybody came by here.” Relatable for his quick humor, Fieri’s lighthearted remark was met with laughter and cheers from the crowd.
In actuality, the Mayor of Flavortown is back in Music City to shoot episodes for his long-running show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” in which he explores local “greasy spoon” eateries across the United States of America in addition to meeting with his team and focusing on furthering important efforts for the Guy Fieri Foundation.
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“We’re doing ‘Triple D’ – we just shot three locations today,” Fieri said. “I wanted to see Bucky, who’s a great partner here at Chicken Guy! and meet the ‘Gov.’ and the First Lady and talk about this program we have for our charity, the Guy Fieri Foundation. We do programs for veterans and for first responders, so we’re here to talk about that. We’re shooting some more ‘Triple D tomorrow,’ and what else do we got going? Maybe to have a good time and hang out with old buddies.”
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and First Lady Maria Lee were also present at Fieri’s meet and greet. Both are supporters of the Guy Fieri Foundation.
“When we started the foundation, first, it was based off of teaching kids how to cook, getting kids involved in food — that’s always going to be one of the core line initiatives. But then we started to have these disasters in California where we started having all of these fires, and there were so many people who weren’t being served and who weren’t being taken care of. And we found folks staying in gymnasiums and county buildings eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cold hotdogs. So we said, ‘As a chef and with all of my chef buddies, I’ll build a $450,000 rescue rig that’s 48-feet-long and can feed anywhere from five to ten thousand people a day, and the idea was to deploy that whenever necessary.”
With the California fires having slowed down, Fieri acknowledged that the direction of the foundation’s mission slightly shifted, “Now the whole program for the foundation is to, at least once a month, go to a different area, different part of the country, and just recognize our veterans and recognize our first responders and just do something for them and just say ‘thank you.’”
Fieri noted that he has been working with entertainment company FACE Amusement, especially CEO Bucky Mabe, to create a top-notch, family-friendly dining experience at Chicken Guy! “Our team with FACE Amusement is so awesome. They’re so great. I was telling the governor a moment ago that they are the ‘underpromising / overdeliver’ people. That’s who they really are, so anytime that I’m in town, it’s a great chance to see them interact,” Fieri told The Tennessean. “I‘ve got to go down to my house and see my team and thank everyone for the great job.”
With the help of the FACE crew, the restaurant’s signature sandwiches and famous crunchy, flavorful chicken tenders that can be dipped in a wide range of appetizing sauces from classic flavors to “hot n’ spicy” choices can be enjoyed in a high-end yet welcoming environment – one that is often prioritized in up-and-coming Nashville dining places.
“I love fried chicken like everybody does. Probably one of my favorite chicken places in the world is Prince’s. I mean, that’s the epicenter,” he said. “I just thought ‘if you’re going to do it — if you’re going to eat fried chicken, then why not eat really great fried chicken?’ And that’s what we’re doing. We’ve been having great success with it.”
When stating how it feels to be back at Chicken Guy! Nashville, Fieri expressed that it’s a great feeling due to his personal memories of the establishment, “This neighborhood’s been rocked. You know there has been a lot that has happened here. We had the grand finale to ‘Guy’s Chance of a Lifetime’ where we gave away Chicken Guy!”
Overall, the city of Nashville is an inspiring one to Fieri, who hopes to expand his food empire here.
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“I want to do more restaurants in Nashville without question,” he said. “I love Nashville.”
According to Fieri, a new Chicken Guy! spot in Philadelphia will open in the next few months, and more projects in sports stadiums, Florida and California are in the works. Additional exciting news will be announced by Fieri soon, “We’re getting ready for a big family road trip through Tennessee in June, my family and six other RVs, and we’re going to do that as a show — as a big family road trip show. So lots of good stuff coming up.”