Popular For Being Popular

Please forgive the rambling nature of this rant. It's Monday, there's no sign of the "Knockers" post due at 11 a.m., nor of some other stuff. I have a nice sunburn from the FC Dallas game. And on Saturday afternoon I waited in a 30 minute line, just so I could order one of Twisted Root's so-called milkshakes.

Now, there's no way I'd stick around that long in real life. The Deep Ellum burger joint is pretty good--but not half an hour shuffling impatiently good...especially for a pathetic vanilla shakes. In real life (which is to say my not working on a food story life), only their alcohol-spiked shakes are worth the trip, and I would have turned around when I saw a crowd spilling out the door.

But it seems the episode of Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives featuring Twisted Root aired the night before (or thereabouts). As a result, much of the city's stay at home on Friday night watching cooking shows crowd showed up for lunch.

How quaint. Some people were even posing for pictures next to a picture of the show's host.

Dallas should be cosmopolitan enough to shrug off a little minor celebrity--but that's obviously out of the question. The curious thing is that people chose to wait 30 minutes for one of the restaurant's burgers just because a contest winner-turned TV star visited the place, especially when nearby Angry Dog sat almost empty.

Imagine if Oprah had singled out the place.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with a desire to walk where Guy Fieri walked. The show convinced a lot of folks--including the gentleman standing in line behind me, who answered his phone as "Doctor" so and so and looked quite out of place--to venture into the wilds of Deep Ellum. I guess what's bothering me is that so many of us allow celebrity, buzz and elbow to elbow crowds to confer quality. It's good because people line up to go there, it's good because I saw it on TV, it's good because it picked up three stars or because everyone talks about the place. Primo's is an example of this. So is the Mercury, Breadwinners and any restaurant owned by Alberto Lombardi.

Doesn't mean they're bad, just that too many guests suspend criticism because, well, they are supposed to be good.

I've had Twisted Root's burger on a few occasions and am still trying to understand the fuss. Like I said, they are quite decent, but hardly worth a special drive and definitely not worth the uncomfortable wait when a line forms outside...unless you live in burger-deprived zones such as Carrollton.

Oh, well. Maybe the owner of Wingfield's or the Cock and Bull should convince Fieri to come back for a visit and send crowds their way, as well.  

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Dave Faries
Contact: Dave Faries