This eight-stool Jersey diner has special significance for Fieri since it's the first location the series ever shot. Plus, Fieri is a diner fanatic: "You pack everybody in there, they cook right in front of you," he explains of the appeal of such eateries. As for this one, he doesn't wax poetic about a particular dish or two so much as the impossibly small setting, replete with a cramped basement where the roasted turkey is prepared.
American Restaurant in Pescadero, CA, United States
The restaurant takes up about "three quarters of the town," says Fieri, noting that the 104-year-old eatery has a "humongous" garden where they "grow everything from berries for the pies to artichokes for the dips." Plus, they make a cioppino, the popular California seafood stew, that Fieri promises is "to die for." ("And I'm a cioppino junkie," Fieri adds.)
Don't let the name scare you: This place is "a real funky joint," converted from an old motel and coffee shop, says Fieri. The food fits the spirit, from battered and deep-fried hot dogs ("Red Rockets," they're called) to a Hawaiian-inspired pizza with rum-soaked raisins.
"They put chili on spaghetti, chili on [hot] dogs, chili on grilled-cheese sandwiches," says Fieri. To top it off -- no pun intended -- it's not your everyday chili. "It's more like a meat sauce," explains Fieri, adding that it's made from a secret recipe.
Yes, pizza in Tennessee -- in a decades-old establishment run by Greeks, no less. But Fieri says it shouldn't be so unexpected: Greeks are among the best cooks around, known for their expertise in running diners. At this Knoxville establishment, "Everything they make, they make from scratch," Fieri notes. And in case you're not in the mood for a pie, they're equally known for their -- you guessed it -- Greek salad.
"A nondescript joint, run by a family," says Fieri. But the food? It was so good, says Fieri, "I just about lost my mind." The menu is heavy on seafood, but the house favorite is the mofongo, a dish made with mashed fried plantains and any number of additions, from pork to chicken.