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Burns & Gambo

'Diners, Drive-ins and Dives' tapes in Phoenix

Perk Restaurant, in north Phoenix, is one area restaurant that will be on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." (Bob McClay/KTAR)

PHOENIX -- Several Valley restaurants will soon be getting some exposure on national television.

While he was in town to sell his 2013 Corvette 427 at the Barrett-Jackson auction, Chef Guy Fieri took his camera crews around town to tape episodes of his popular "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" show that airs on the Food Network.

One place that will soon be on television is The Perk Eatery, near 65th street and Greenway road in north Phoenix.

Owner Pauline Thomas-Martinez said she got a call from the Food Network about three weeks ago telling her they wanted to feature her restaurant in an episode. Crews were in the restaurant for about three days, with Fieri showing up for the big taping on Jan. 15.

Thomas-Martinez said she had a blast taping the episode.

"[Fieri] is exactly as rambunctious in person as he seems on TV. He is a really nice guy. The whole crew was really phenomenal to work with. They were all very, very nice to work with. It was a great experience."

Thomas-Martinez described her restaurant as "classic Americana with a little Southwest twist." She whipped up three dishes for the show, but has decided not to reveal exactly what she cooked until the show airs.

"They are dishes that I have featured as specials, and that I don't run full time on the menu," she said. "They are all really great dishes, and I sell them out every time I make them for the restaurant. They are really great."

Thomas-Martinez that the show will drive customers to the restaurant, so she will be serving the dishes when they begin to arrive.

The Scottsdale-based Up Agency is handling Fieri's local media relations. It would not confirm what restaurants were visited by the show, but Thomas-Martinez said that her restaurant was just one of several places where taping occurred.

"From my understanding, I think they went to Curry Corner, which is a Pakastani restaurant in Tempe, they went to Defalco's Italian Grocer, they went to Barrio Café, St. Francis, they did us and they did The Duce [in] downtown [Phoenix]."

Thomas-Martinez said the Food Network has told her that the episode featuring Perk Eatery will air "sometime within the next three to six months."

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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