Word of Mouth

Months after filming, three Colorado spots are finally showcased on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Last November, Food Network personality Guy Fieri rolled into town with a camera crew, making pit stops at Tocabe, Bang! and The Sink in Boulder, where he joked with staffs and sampled dishes for the show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Nearly a year later, those episodes are finally airing: Tocabe had its moment in the spotlight on Monday night, Bang!'s show airs next Monday and The Sink episode premieres the Monday after that.

The delay was thanks to a lawsuit and counter-suit between the production company, Page Productions, and Food Network. During the scuffle, new episodes were put on hold -- which included the airing of our hometown spots.

But while waiting was agony, restaurateurs eventually received news that the shows would air. "We don't know why it resolved," says Matt Heinritz, owner of The Sink in Boulder. "But we got a call from Food Network in the midst of it saying that they owned the shows, so that was encouraging because we knew it would run eventually." He just didn't now when.

He finally got an answer about a month ago: The lawsuits are still working their way through the court system, but the show is back on, and the three restaurants have begun appearing in episodes, starting with Tocabe three days ago.

"We were so excited," says Ben Jacobs, who owns the American Indian eatery with Matt Chandra. "We joked when they filmed that it wouldn't show up for a year. I guess we jinxed ourselves."

The restaurant hosted a watch party, and then put the featured bison ribs on the menu as a regular item (they were previously a special). "We've been selling out every day," says Jacobs, who also notes that while numbers are up, they're expecting to see a bigger increase this weekend.

Next up is an episode that features Bang!, which airs Monday and features the restaurant's meatloaf with homemade ketchup, gumbo with jalapeño cornbread and gingerbread with whipped cream.

But while owner Cissy Olderman says she and her fellow owners are psyched that the show is running, they're not planning anything at the restaurant for the debut. "We had a party in June for the staff when the show was originally scheduled to run," she says. "We're going to watch it at home with our families. It definitely has a different feel to it this time around."

The restaurant has staffed up, though, in anticipation of bigger crowds, which is something The Sink, scheduled to hit the airwaves on September 26, doesn't have to worry about.

"We've already staffed up for football season," says Heinritz. "We're in pretty good shape in that respect."

The Sink, he says, will host a viewing party that includes food specials appearing on the program, including the Buddah basil pizza, cowboy Reuben and the grass-fed Texas string burger.

Diners, Dive-ins and Drives airs Mondays at 7 p.m.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk