Bern’s Steak House
For the “Old School”-themed episode of Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate,” chef and TV host Alex Guarnaschelli highlighted Bern’s Steak House and her favorite dish there — the 22-ounce strip sirloin. “The old-schoolness at Bern’s is all about that steak,” she says in the episode. “You get this incredible tender texture and this really unique steak, beefy essence and flavor. You can’t beat it.” Upstairs at the Harry Waugh Dessert Room, chef Anne Burrell loves the Macadamia Decadence Cake from the Taste of Bern’s sampler. “It’s just decadent,” she says on the episode dedicated to “Chocolate Obsessions.” “It’s creamy, it’s chocolatey. It’s so delicious. It’s really a hedonistic dessert.”
Tampa Bay Brewing Company
Guy Fieri pulled up to Centro Ybor for a stop at one of Tampa’s oldest brewpubs on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” On their menu, TBBC identifies the episode’s featured items, including the cider wings and the Wild Warthog spicy curry mussels. He dug right in to the wings, tossed in a cider-infused hot sauce, and quickly warmed up to the mussels dish, made with sauteed mussels, grilled onion and tomato and a coconut red curry with the brewery’s Wild Warthog Hefeweizen. “The broth is out of bounds,” he said. “I’m gonna pass out eating that.”
Danny’s All-American Diner
Fieri left an impact on this roadside shack near the I-4 and I-75 interchange, which now serves up his Triple-D Triple Play Burger, topped with pastrami, mojo pork, Swiss and American cheeses, tomatoes, jalapeños, fried onion rings and mustard on grilled sourdough, on a daily basis. Owner Danny Doak also whipped up a homemade chili cheeseburger and their unique Cuban sandwich, made with Doak’s own mojo sauce and topped with capicola. “What you get is Cuban Thanksgiving in a sandwich,” Fieri said. “Every bite is a party.”
One of Tampa’s most nationally recognized restaurants got its day on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Founder Rene Valenzuela surprised Guy Fieri with the torta chilorio, something Fieri had never tried before. Made with Mexican pulled pork seasoned with allspice and orange and coated in ancho pepper sauce, the sandwich hit all the right notes for Fieri. “It’s got to be one of the best tortas I’ve ever had,” he said. He was also impressed by the butternut squash tostada, a flavorful vegetarian option Fieri said he’d “order again in a heartbeat.”
Aguila Sandwich Shop & Skipper’s Smokehouse
Food challenge guru Adam Richman stopped for two iconic Tampa sandwiches on an episode of his show “Man v. Food Nation” on the Travel Channel. At Aguila Sandwich Shop, he watched owner Mario Aguila prepare his version of the Cuban sandwich with hand-pulled homemade roast pork, topped the traditional way without mayo. “Sometimes words fail me,” Richman said after biting in. “Everything works perfectly.” Up the road, he tried the blackened grouper Reuben at Skipper’s Smokehouse. “We can beep it, right?” Richman asked the producer behind the camera. “It’s [freaking] amazing,” he said, adding the expletive. He also joined Skipper’s Vicky Dodds to prepare gator ribs, which he compared to pork, with a barbecue- Key lime sauce.
Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish
At the request of viewers, Guy Fieri made a final Tampa Bay area stop across the bridge at Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish, where he saw the fish-smoking process firsthand. The trays of mullet, mahi mahi and salmon are moved up from the bottom of the smoker to the top as they cook. “That’s tasty,” Fieri said after trying the smoked mullet. “Who would’ve thunk?” He also indulged in the so-called “Ted Peters surf and turf,” their iconic fish spread and a cheeseburger, plus their warm potato salad, complete with bacon grease. “That is up there in the best potato salads I’ve ever had,” Fieri said.
CORRECTION: This story was updated on September 25 with Rene Valenzuela’s current title. Valenzuela was the owner of Taco Bus at the time of the show’s filming but no longer owns the restaurant chain.