TV chef Fieri also drops by St. Petersburg icon Munch's

Another favorite local haunt, Munch's Restaurant, also was visited by Guy Fieri this week for his popular Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

On Tuesday, Tampa's Taco Bus was serving Mexican favorites to the blond-tipped celebrity chef. On Wednesday, Fieri was chowing down on Munch's famous Texas hash, made with home-smoked chicken that's pulled off the bone and mixed with garlic, peppers, onions and potatoes and served with eggs and a buttermilk biscuit.

Opened in 1952 at 3920 Sixth St. S in St. Petersburg, Munch's comfort food had made it a family-style favorite, with killer fried green tomatoes, ribs, brisket and dreamy creamy milk shakes.

Larry Munch said its reputation got the network to give it a call a few months ago, but it was a sense of humor that seemed to seal the deal. After an inquiry from a producer, he made a video and e-mailed it to the network.

In it, bald-headed Larry is wearing a Guy Fieri wig and saying to the camera that he's so obsessed with the Diners show, people say he's starting to look like Guy. The camera pans to his waitress, Taylor Carmen, also wearing a Guy Fieri wig, and she agrees. Then the camera moves to the kitchen where the African-American cook, Eric Harvey, is also looking a lot like Guy, blond tips and all.

"We got a phone call the next day," Munch said.

Two months ago, he said, a film crew came and filmed from 8 in the morning to 8 at night as staffers showed how they smoke their meats and ribs and assemble their dishes.

Then on Wednesday, Fieri himself showed up to cook with Harvey and Munch in the kitchen for about three hours as they made the hash and their famous homemade creamed chip beef, as well as a pork loin that they cut into pork chops.

"He is a really nice guy, but I had no idea how funny he was. He had us in tears we were laughing so hard," Munch said.

To cap off his visit, Fieri signed some T-shirts and hats that Munch was putting up for auction for the fallen police officers' memorial fund. Then Fieri went to his truck and brought out his signature Knuckle Sandwich chef knife and signed it, "Thank you for supporting St. Pete's finest." Munch plans to put it on eBay for the cause.

As he does at all his restaurant visits, Fieri spray-painted his likeness on a wall and signed it as a souvenir. Munch said he was told the episode will air anywhere from two to six months from now.

TV chef Fieri also drops by St. Petersburg icon Munch's 03/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2011 10:00pm]

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