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Final South Jersey "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" episodes to air Friday

Final South Jersey "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" episodes to air Friday

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Triple-D at the Grilled Cheese & Crab Cake Co.

Steve Novak, chef and owner of Somers Point's Grilled Cheese & Crab Cake Co., prepares food with Food Network host Guy Fieri.

The final batch of Food Network episodes of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” featuring three local restaurants will debut over the next few weeks, starting Friday.

The episodes, premiering at 10 p.m. on the next three Fridays, will show off the dishes and personalities of the Anchorage Tavern Restaurant and the Grilled Cheese & Crab Cake Co., both in Somers Point, and Carluccio’s Coal Fired Pizza in Northfield.

The shows will finish off the expected appearances of Atlantic City-area eateries on the popular show hosted by Guy Fieri. Rumors, whispers and tweets from early November of Fieri and his red Camaro touring around South Jersey were confirmed about a month later when the episodes started airing.

Don Mahoney, owner and chef at the Anchorage Tavern, said he usually flicks the show on if he has the time. Friday, he’ll be a star in the “Roadtrippin’” episode, in which Fieri eats his way from coast to coast. All 13 televisions in the restaurant will air the episode, he said.

For the East Coast portion of the show, Mahoney showed off the restaurant’s crab-stuffed flounder and cannelloni ala Milanese, or pasta sheets stuffed with three meats and four cheeses.

“People have been coming in because they watch the show all the time,” he said. “It’s great to bring this to Somers Point.”

The timing couldn't have been more perfect for "Triple-D" — fans’ nickname for the show — to come to the area, particularly with the casino closures in Atlantic City, said Steve Novak, owner of the Grilled Cheese & Crab Cake Co.

"Obviously it's a personal win for us, being in the restaurant, but at a time with everything going on in Atlantic City, there's no better time to attract attention to the area.

Novak, like Mahoney, is a fan of the show. Having the host and crew of the Food Network staple was surreal, he said.

Mahoney said he didn’t realize how much planning goes into the few minutes of air time he’ll actually see on the half-hour-long show. He was asked to cook his showcased dishes multiple times and be sure the food, the containers and even his shirts were the same during the taping.

Guy Fieri and a dozen television crew members came to Carluccio’s in Northfield on three separate days to tape, said chef Mike Laurenza.

During that time, Laurenza said he and owner Carlo Citera ended up making about 20 separate dishes — from fresh pasta to pizzas to traditional Italian fare — for Fieri to choose from. Ultimately, the restaurant’s Grandma’s pie and homemade pappardelle pasta made the cut.

“It felt like a big puzzle, and we were putting the pieces together,” Laurenza said.

The show will help promote the restaurant’s penchant for fresh, authentic ingredients, Citera said. But don’t expect the menu to change after the show airs on March 13, he cautioned.

“We’re still going to make the meatballs and the fresh pasta, but we know we’re going to be busy,” he said. “This is where you can get good food at a good price.”

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