Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen Descends on South Florida

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In a 2012 restaurant review that will surely go down in history as one of the most scathing and funniest examples of the genre, the New York Times’ Pete Wells attempted to describe what it’s like to dine at Guy’s American, celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s restaurant Kitchen & Bar in Times Square.

The review took the form of an open letter to Fieri in which Wells asked questions such as, “When we hear the words donkey sauce, which part of the donkey should we think of?” And: “Is that how you roll in Flavor Town?”

The review went viral – to the point where Saturday Night Live’s Bobby Moynihan performed a parody of Fieri commenting on the review. (The piece didn’t make it after the dress rehearsal, but it lives on thanks to YouTube.)

Eight years later, in the midst of a pandemic, Fieri tiptoed to Florida to launch a ghost kitchen concept called Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen. The company is partnered with Virtual Dining Concepts, the Sarasota-based brainchild of Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl, whose Earl Enterprises encompass the cheesy chain restaurants of a real mall, including Buca di Beppo. Flavortown Kitchen is present in more than 30 states and has 13 locations in Florida, five of which are in South Florida. (While none are in Miami, residents of most of Broward County and West Palm Beach are in the coverage area.)

Flavortown Kitchen’s menu is rich in items that sound delicious if you are a lad who has just done a hefty bong rip.

Starters include cheesesteak egg rolls, jalapeño pork poppers, chicken wings, and queso dip and fries. You can be a “Chicken Guy!” Roast Chicken Sandwich, a Real Cheezy Burger (with donkey sauce!) Or a Bacon Mac’n’-Cheeseburger.

There is also a “Crazy Cuban” sandwich that will offend most Miamians for the very existence of it.

Among the few starters: Cajun chicken Alfredo and a chicken “Parm-a-Roni”. Oh, and there are salads, though one wonders why someone would order a salad from Guy Fieri.

Sides include Flavortown fries, “Mac Daddy” Mac ‘n’ Cheese, and fried pickles.

For dessert, there’s something called a “Cheesecake Challenge” that tops a cheesecake with salted potato chips, mashed pretzels, and fudge sauce ($ 8) and a “Choco Whiskey” cheesecake (also $ 8) that tops one Cheesecake in salted whiskey caramel envelops sauce and a crumbled toffee bar.

In a spirit of experimentation, New Times tried Fieri’s wares.

We ordered a “Chicken Guy!” Sandwich, Flavortown fries, the queso and (of course) the “Crazy Cuban”.

Orders can be placed directly through the Flavortown website or through third-party delivery apps like GrubHub, DoorDash, Postmates, Uber Eats and Seamless. We ordered through the website and Postmates arrived with the food in about 40 minutes.

A chicken guy!  sandwich

A chicken! sandwich

Photo courtesy Chicken Guy!

How was the food?

It shouldn’t shock anyone that the $ 10 Cuban sandwich isn’t exactly authentic. For one, the bread is much softer than traditional Cuban bread. Other than that, the ham and roast pork were flavorful and the sandwich was well pressed. It was a well-made pressed ham and cheese – or an acceptable facsimile of a Cuban sandwich for a Guy Fieri fan who ordered from the Flavortown Kitchen in Midvale, Utah, for example. After all, not everyone in the US has access to a million Cuban restaurants.

The “Chicken Guy!” Sandwich ($ 12) was A! Enjoyable! Surprise! The chicken breast was plump, the coating not too salty and only with a touch of pepper. Served on a buttered brioche, it was a fine fried chicken sandwich. The only misfire was the shredded lettuce, which wilted and became warm in transit. The Flavortown fries ($ 5) were golden brown and crispy.

Then there was the queso dip ($ 13).

It arrived with a side of french fries that was thick and dusted with a sweet and tangy coating that infused it with the taste and texture of cinnamon pita french fries. The queso that looked promising was … bad. One bath was enough to come to a judgment. A second bath would have been inedible. The queso tasted sweet and artificial – as if our ghost chef Velveeta had added sugar.

Is a Trip to Flavortown Right for You?

For sure. The packaging is instagrammable, the eating is quick and easy, and the chicken sandwich is superior to many others that cost more. But the queso? Avoid it. It could be that Fieri was hiding the rest of the donkey.

Guy Fieris Flavortown Kitchen. guysflavortownkitchen.com. Delivery only.

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Laine Doss is the food and liquor editor for the Miami New Times. It was featured on Eat Street by Cooking Channel and in the Great Food Truck Race by Food Network. She won an Alternative Weekly Award for her contribution on what it’s like to wait for tables.

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