Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives Secrets Only True Fans Know

Guy Fieri eating with friend
Guy Fieri eating with friend - Steve Jennings/Getty Images

"Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" is one of the most successful Food Network programs ever. At time of writing, the show is on its 48th season and has received numerous Emmy award nominations. Triple D, as it's known to fans, has garnered millions of views over the years, catapulting its host Guy Fieri to national stardom and allowing him to open nearly 100 restaurants. Despite both the show and Fieri's fame, there remain many secrets about "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" that only true fans know. In this article, we highlight these secrets, providing you with the insider knowledge needed to go from casual fan to Triple D expert.

Fieri's bombastic on-screen persona has won him many fans and more than a few haters as revealed by a survey Daily Meal performed. It's also led many people to believe that Fieri is all show, a celebrity first and chef second. This misconception has led many to overlook various aspects of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," from Fieri's deep culinary knowledge to the crew's painstaking research process. All of this means that Triple D is one of the most secret-laden TV shows out there.

Read more: 11 Tips For Keeping Your Grill Shiny And Clean

Fieri's 1968 Camaro Is Trailered To Each City

Guy Fieri's 1968 Camaro
Guy Fieri's 1968 Camaro - Chevrolet Performance/YouTube

Fans of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" know that every segment begins with Guy Fieri standing by his 1968 Camaro and introducing the restaurant where he is about to eat. Slick editing would have us believe that Fieri drives about in this classic car, traveling from one city to another and stopping off to try some incredible burgers along the way. Of course, the reality is quite different.

Instead of being driven by Fieri from location to location, this iconic vehicle is transported across the country by trailer and is almost exclusively used as a prop. A crew member ensures that the Camaro is set up outside the restaurant prior to shooting. All Fieri has to do is pretend to get out of the car as part of the introduction to each restaurant.

There are a few times when Fieri is filmed actually driving the car. In these shots, Fieri is usually talking to a cameraman in the seat next to him. The size of the camera equipment is one of the main reasons why Fieri and his crew chose a convertible for the program. Quite simply, all the filming equipment couldn't fit in anything else.

Fieri Doesn't Talk With Proprietors Before Filming

Guy Fieri pointing
Guy Fieri pointing - Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Guy Fieri's ability to easily interact with a variety of people is one of the reasons why "Diners Drive-Ins and Dives" is so popular. Although these interactions seem completely natural, Fieri and his production team go to great lengths to ensure that their authenticity is maintained. One of the main ways they do this is to ensure that Fieri doesn't meet the proprietors prior to shooting. Ann Kim, the co-owner of Pizzeria Lola, a restaurant that was featured on Triple D, explained this to Twin Cities Business, saying, "Guy doesn't like to meet people before the taping. He is focused on it being as spontaneous as possible. They're super-serious about it being authentic."

The owners of Cafe Nooner, another establishment that was featured on "Diners Drive-Ins and Dives," explained that their interaction with Fieri was also limited before the camera started rolling. Mike Morris, one of the show's field producers, explained to the owners of Cafe Nooner that Fieri and his team didn't take this approach during early iterations of the show. However, in these episodes, they found that conversation between Fieri and his proprietors didn't flow as naturally. The result was several awkward and slightly jarring segments.

Patrons Featured In The Show Are Regulars

Guy Fieri talking with customer
Guy Fieri talking with customer - Food Network UK/YouTube

During "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" segments, restaurants are full of customers. Despite what some people believe, these are not random patrons who happen to be in the restaurant at the time. In fact, the restaurants are actually closed during filming and these customers have been specially invited to star in the segment by the restaurant's proprietor. As a result, the crowd is usually made up of the proprietor's friends, family, and faithful regulars. Those customers who agree to partake are required to be familiar with the restaurant's menu and must be willing to discuss it if and when they are interviewed.

Unfortunately, not all of these individuals are interviewed by Guy Fieri himself. As executive producer Frank Matson explained to People, "In addition to Guy interviewing people, we continue to interview other people once Guy has left and that then is edited together with the customers that Guy has interviewed within the final piece." Happily, all customers have a good chance of appearing on national television. They also get to enjoy some free food to boot.

He Invites Make-A-Wish Children To The Show

Guy Fieri smiling
Guy Fieri smiling - Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Guy Fieri is as a charitable individual who volunteers his services for a variety of causes. For example, Fieri recently headed a chef fundraiser to raise money for Maui fire victims. His most enduring charitable effort, however, is with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, a non-profit that grants the wishes of critically ill children. As an incredibly famous celebrity, Fieri gets more than his fair share of requests from the Make-a-Wish Foundation and he does his best to grant them, often inviting the critically ill children and their families to tapings of "Diners Drive-Ins and Dives." In an interview with Delish, Fieri said, "I know what the family is going through, to some degree. I know that heartache and I see that, and if there's anything I can do to help enlighten or empower those kids, I want to do it."

Fieri's dedication to the Make-a-Wish Foundation has seen him honored with the Chris Greicius Award. This award is only given to people who have done a great deal to aid the foundation's mission and helped many children's wishes come true. As Fieri tells it, the wishes he grants aren't limited to bringing children on set. Often, he visits them in hospital and recreates famous dishes from "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" for their entertainment.

They Shoot Several Locations A Day

Guy Fieri in Texas
Guy Fieri in Texas - Food Network UK/YouTube

The way in which "Diners Drive-Ins and Dives" is shot has changed markedly over the years. Initially, the crew would spend days in one place, working on a single show. By 2009, the team had developed a two-crew system. This allowed shooting to take place both before and after Guy Fieri was on location, enabling them to cover double the number of restaurants. This process was explained by David Page, the man who created "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" in an interview with Heavy Table. "The crews will shoot ahead of time," Page said. "Guy will then come in and do his visit to each of these restaurants, which is half a day at a time. He'll do two restaurants a day for three days."

In 2019, it was revealed that the crew had started covering even more ground. The team now consists of two 10-man crews that manage to film at three or four restaurants in one day. Fieri is very forthright about the importance of his crew and has even said that when filming without these familiar faces, shooting isn't the same.

Restaurants Must Share Their Health Inspection Report

A spotlessly clean dining room
A spotlessly clean dining room - Food Network UK/YouTube

Despite the show's name, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" does not feature any old establishments. In fact, the selected restaurants must meet certain criteria to even be considered for the show, including that they make just about all food from scratch. It's not just the quality of the food that the Triple D team checks before shooting at the restaurant, but its cleanliness too. When being considered for the show, restaurants are asked to supply a copy of their most recent health inspection report. Anything less than a stellar report and the restaurant will not be considered.

The focus on cleanliness does not abate once the restaurant is accepted. Many proprietors repaint, deep clean, and generally spruce up their establishment so it looks its best on shoot day. Fail to do so, and the shoot might be canceled. As David Page highlighted to Heavy Table, "we're very, very good in the research department, but still you can be surprised. And to be candid, we have gotten to town and canceled places because the key to the show is that they have to meet that bar." Aside from making good TV, the high standard of these vetting processes means that some of our favorite restaurants featured on Triple D are actually among the very best restaurants that the United States has to offer.

Shoots Last Two Days And Are Expensive

Sandwich from Northern Waters Smokehaus
Sandwich from Northern Waters Smokehaus - DeBaunDan/X, formerly known as Twitter

Although the average segment on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" only lasts eight minutes, it takes a production team of 10 people hours of shooting to get all the content they need. As a result, the featured restaurant has to be closed to the public for at least two days. Some proprietors have even stated that they were closed for up to four days due to Triple D shoots.

Closing for this amount of time is not easy as proprietors are giving up on a lot of potential sales. What's more, shooting a segment of "Diners Drive-Ins and Dives" necessitates a huge amount of food be cooked, with some chefs saying they cooked the entire menu three times over when filming their segment. While some of this food is eaten, the vast majority is wasted incurring huge costs for the business. Eric Goerdt, who owns the Triple D-featured Northern Waters Smokehaus, a place known for its sandwiches, highlighted this in an interview with Twin Cities Business, saying, "I was reluctant. I think it cost us nearly $15,000 in wasted product and costs associated with cleaning." Thankfully, the huge uptick in sales that inevitably occurs after the episode is aired — known as The Fieri Effect — more than makes up for these losses. Some establishments even report revenue doubling after their episode airs.

Fieri Cares About The Restaurants They Feature

Guy Fieri on talk show
Guy Fieri on talk show - The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube

Guy Fieri takes a very active role in the restaurant selection process for "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." In fact, after producers put together a list of potential establishments, Fieri picks not only which of them will feature on the show, but also which dishes he will try at each. Aside from ensuring he doesn't have to eat eggs, his least favorite food, Fieri also takes part in this process to ensure the show focuses on small, mom-and-pop establishments run by dedicated, hard-working individuals. Fieri obviously feels a duty to these people and frequently mentions that providing employment, and opportunities for local communities is why he continues to host "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."

Fieri is known to check up on the proprietors of restaurants featured on the show, perhaps because of the affinity he has for them, and the fact he chose the restaurants himself. As Griffin Bufkin, owner of Southern Soul Barbeque, said to Thrillist, "Exactly one month after filming our episode, our entire restaurant burned to the ground. And one of the first people to call us — while the place was actually still on fire — was Guy Fieri. He wanted to see how we were, if he could help." If that's not proof of Fieri caring about the restaurants featured on Triple D, we don't know what is.

Fieri Doesn't Always Like The Food

Guy Fieri discussing food
Guy Fieri discussing food - Food Network UK/YouTube

Guy Fieri is known for being incredibly enthusiastic just about every time he eats something on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." He often nods with an agreeable "mmmm," and even shouts catchphrases such as "Flavor jets, activate!" after trying the food. Occasionally though, Fieri fails to react in this manner, leading people to suggest that he doesn't actually like the food. For his part, Fieri has done his best to put these theories to bed saying to People, "There are different scales of good, great and awesome. Not every dish is A+. But if I don't like it, you won't see it."

While Fieri's statement is tactful, it isn't necessarily true. In early seasons of the show, he said plainly that he didn't like certain dishes, including a peanut butter burger served at Triple XXX in Indiana, as this clip on YouTube shows. Fieri doesn't react in this way anymore, but many viewers still believe they can tell when Fieri doesn't like what he's eating on Triple D. According to them, you know he doesn't like something when he starts listing the components of a dish and describing them instead of saying one of his trademark statements.

The Crew Love To Prank One Another

Guy Fieri laughing
Guy Fieri laughing - Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Guy Fieri and his crew have been working together for a long time and this is reflected in the way they interact with each other when shooting. According to Fieri, the crew trusts each other's judgment enough to make creative decisions on the fly. This often means pivoting to focus on a different dish or changing the lighting to better suit their style.

Aside from coming up with quick creative decisions, the intimacy between crew members also means that they love to play pranks on one another. Fieri explained one of the games they like to play in an interview with Heavy Table, saying, "We have a variety of little games we play on each other. 'Hide the Meat' is [one], where we take a piece of meat and hide it in someone's gear bag. People have things ditched in their bag that they don't know."

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