It was as if a bit of Hollywood came to Hagerstown Sunday night as a throng gathered outside the Georgia Boy Cafe at Park Circle for the reveal of the restaurant’s makeover for the Food Network reality TV show “Restaurant: Impossible.”
While its host, Robert Irvine, was not seen from across the street as the guests filed in, a number of people said they met the chef Saturday and Sunday.
“My daughter and I are big fans of his,” Tyler French said in a telephone interview.
They drove by Saturday and saw a large group of people across from the restaurant and stopped, she said.
“We just happened to go by at the right time,” French said.
Her 11-year-old daughter, Alexis, had her picture taken with Irvine when he came out to meet spectators Saturday afternoon.
Tyler French had also just received her new copy of the Food Network magazine, which Irvine autographed.
“He was absolutely super with the children,” said Brenda Sterling, who also saw Irvine on Saturday, and got his autograph and a picture taken with the TV host.
“He is like down-to-earth awesome,” Sterling said of Irvine.
“He truly was all about the kids,” said Christa Whittington, who saw Irvine Saturday and Sunday.
Irvine also emphasized that the makeover was about the community and how it needs to support local businesses like Georgia Boy Cafe, Whittington said.
Sterling also ran into him Sunday in City Park, where some folks got to try out some of the restaurant’s fare.
“The chicken was better” than she remembered from a past visit to the restaurant, she said.
“I thought I’d come by and see some Hollywood camera action,” said T.J. Fair, who lives near the restaurant.
He has never watched “Restaurant: Impossible,” but like others gathered across from the Virginia Avenue side of the business, he planned to check out the restaurant in the near future.
For the uninitiated, the mission of “Restaurant: Impossible” is to make over a restaurant in two days on a budget of $10,000. Irvine and his crew tackle the decor, menu, staff training and anything else needed to put the restaurant on a track toward success.
The Georgia Boy Cafe episode is scheduled to air Nov. 20.
For some people, the show was more about business than show business.
Chris Eckenrode, a contractor from Boonsboro, said he got called in to power wash the sidewalk and do some other repairs.
“I appreciate that they are using local contractors,” he said.
“I was sitting at home drinking coffee” when a friend called Sunday morning asking him to do some last-minute work at the restaurant — and be on television, said Doug Tapley of Tapley Electric in Hagerstown.
Tapley said he helped hang some lights and sconces, and worked on the restaurant’s track lighting.
Fair said he was happy to see that Hagerstown would get some good national publicity from the show.