"I really like being able to talk to people, getting to know them and how they like their food, who likes extra onions and who doesn’t. Money isn’t everything.”
Nicholas said revenue has definitely been up, which has allowed him to invest back into the business.
"If Guy Fieri or any of those Food Network folks calls me at 3 a.m. with a flat tire, I’m there,” he said.
The feeling is mutual at Mama E’s, where Stephanie and Keith Patterson make some of the city’s most beloved soul food.
"We’ve had people visit us from all over the world,” Stephanie Patterson said. "We just had some people in here from New York, Detroit, Germany.”
But there was one tense moment before cameras started rolling with Fieri thanks to some signs Stephanie Patterson posted, alerting the public about the Food Network’s visit.
"When he got here he said, ‘Who posted all those signs around town?’ And I said, ‘Ummm, I did.’ And he said, ‘Great idea!”
Stephanie said the show turned around their business.
"We’ve tripled our business since Guy was here,” she said. "It’s truly been a blessing.”
The Pattersons are looking for a space to open a second location.
No second location or expansion is sought by the owners of Cattlemen’s Steakhouse.
"We’ve got around 300 seats,” owner Dick Stubbs said.
Partner David Egan said the show has aired several times, and the difference is with out-of-town visitors.
"We’ve found that the show helped us become a destination for people who are traveling cross-country.”
Egan said filming at their century-old establishment took much more time than he imagined, but it was a lot of fun.
"Initially, they weren’t wanting to do anything on the lamb fries because they’d already done several different places with that kind of specialty. But they’re so popular with customers, they did it anyway.”
In fact, Fieri had them out of necessity.
"One of our breakfast specialties is beef brains and eggs,” Egan explained. "Guy doesn’t really like eggs, but he tried them out, and then he grabbed the closest thing to him, and it’s lamb fries. So, he was having brains and eggs with a lamb fry chaser.”
The only thing being chased out at Eischen’s in Okarche was fans.
"We got out to there, and they had something like 300 people outside
the restaurant cheering,” Fieri said.
That’s no surprise to anyone who’s ever made the trip to Okarche for fried chicken; Eischen’s is practically always at capacity. The Eischen’s segment was perhaps the most humorous, with owner Ed Eischen walking Fieri through the limited menu and repeatedly assuring the TV star, "That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
Ingrid’s Kitchen owner Lee Burruss had to wait the longest to see his restaurant featured, but he said it was worth the wait.
"Business has more than doubled,” he said. "It’s been a great experience.”
See segments from Fieri's visit to Oklahoma City