Friday, August 27, 2010

Fans visit over 100 Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

On Monday's Season 10 premiere of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, the show returns to Hillbilly Hotdogs in West Virginia on the day two super fans, Roger and Jane Holm, visit their 100th restaurant on the Triple D list. At the time of this writing, they've been to over 124 restaurants from the Food Network program, following in Guy Fieri's footsteps.

"Our 100th restaurant featured on Triple D and was it ever a spectacular party!" Jane Holm writes from Facebook, "Sonny and Sharie, their family, staff and friends went all out to make our day absolutely perfect!"

Visit Family Joints DV1001H for more information on the 10th season premiere episode, future air dates and times.

I'm keeping in touch with dozens of fans of the show, many hitting their 20th, 50th and a few now having visited over 100 restaurants that have been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

Perhaps my best Triple D buddy and pen pal has been Dr. Robert McCleland, who recently visited his 100th DDD in, of all places, Hawaii, with his family. Both Jane and "The Robster" have helped me enormously by collecting pictures of "Guy Ate Here," spray-painted tags on the walls of featured restaurants. My thanks to you both. :) Further, may I also thank the dozens of others who keep me organized, true and honest with my Triple D information and database.

Listen to Dr. DDD on Restaurant Radio. Click here.

When Rob asked my opinion on which Hawaii Triple D restaurant should be his 100th, I recommended Poke Stop.

Chef Elmer Guzman wrote from Twitter, "I'm honored that Rob McCleland visited Poke Stop for his 100th diners drive in and dives restaurant."

While in Hawaii, Rob kept account of all the restaurants on Oahu. And now, in his own words:


Triple D—Aloha Style!

I recently spent a week on Oahu and had the privilege of eating at the seven Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (yes, there were some of each!). First off, hats off to Triple D and Page Productions for putting the list together. I understand that the Hawaii Bureau of Tourism really wanted the show to visit the Aloha State. The joints they picked were very good. They had a wide range of Triple D delights, from the most authentic Hawaiian you could imagine (Highway Inn), to some unbelievably good Asian Fusion (Poke Stop), with several great stops in between. Funky joints with good food, they just happen to be off the mainland!

First stop was Nico’s Pier 38, the closest joint to the airport. If you watched this episode you’ll remember that Nico hits the giant fish market early every morning. Trust me, his fastidious control is worth it in every bite. We ordered the catch of the day and the largest selling, Furikake Pan-Seared Ahi Tuna w/ Ginger Garlic Cilantro sauce. I’m salivating just thinking about how good it was (seriously). It’s a small place in an industrial area, but totally worth the stop

Next up, Murphy’s Irish Pub, a couple of miles from Nico’s. I met Don, the owner, who was nice as can be. The funkiness of this place is derived from the fact that is half Irish fine dining and half sports bar, with good food on both sides of the house. Standard comfort food prepared the right way for the long haul—it’s what earned them a well-deserved spot on the show. I wish I could have been there for some of the World Cup games.

Hank’s Haute Dogs. Very funky, reminiscent of Fab Hot Dogs in Los Angeles. Got love their funky ways of dressing up the dogs (think mango/pineapple relish, or the Lobster sausage!). While I’m not a dog connoisseur, these were excellent. The counter help was excellent, you could tell they believed in their product! My only suggestion would be serving the dogs a little hotter. These would be “warm dogs” rather than hot dogs. On round two we asked for hotter dogs and they were perfect. Yelp reviewers had the same suggestion.

The Rainbow Inn—this place is a classic. We were the only Houlis (white people) at the place, and every parking space was full. This is one of those local joints that need to know what and how to order when you arrive or you look like an idiot. I’ve found that “give me what he got on the show” works well in these situations. Food was good, cheap, and there was plenty of it.

Germaine’s Luau does have the best luau food (in my many trips to the islands). Most luaus are simply about feeding people quickly and putting on a show; the quality of the food is usually an afterthought. Not here. You get the good show with a great host, but the food is center stage. Since you’re going to attend a luau anyway, make it this one.

I’ve saved the best two for last. One of the two I expected to be good—but it was great! I did not have high expectations for the other one, but it was outstanding as well! “Whoa, Dr. M, how could you not expect a Triple D to be fantastic?” Good question that is worth asking.

When you watch the TV segment for the Highway Inn you see how truly authentic the food is. Guy has a great appreciation for the authenticity of preparation and the old school methods that have been preserved. My experience is that most “fully authentic” cuisine is not as tasty to uninitiated palate. Boy was I wrong! The Highway Inn is THE REAL DEAL on about a million levels. First of all the history of the place is remarkable. The daughters have done a great job capturing the historical context and the importance that food plays in the culture. Second, wow was that food good! I tried 3 or 4 dishes and each one was multi-dimensional, full palate, unique tasting, and downright delicious! Third, this place is special. I’ve been to over 100 Triple Ds and this is one of the best when it comes to caring, giving back, and making a difference in the community.

I had the good fortune of talking to Monica, one of the daughters who returned to Hawaii to run the place when the dad had a medical issue. She was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. You can tell that this family is “all in” when it comes to making outstanding food and making a difference. The Highway Inn isn’t in downtown Honolulu, you have to make a 25 minute drive out of town. It’s worth every mile it to support a place with great food that is doing it right on so many levels. You’ll thank me for this one.

My personal favorite in Hawaii was my 100th Triple D: Poke Stop. Hodad’s in San Diego was my 50th Triple D; I wanted someplace just as special for my 100th. Dora told me that she and Chef Guzman had tweeted a couple of times and that she thought this would be a great place—it was outstanding. The flavor combinations, the freshness, the family atmosphere… it blew me away. Chef Guzman worked for and was mentored by both Emeril and Sam Choy. You can see the fun when you walk in the door and you taste the flavor with every bite. Chef Guzman and his family were very kind to my family. This is the kind of place that you could eat at two or three nights a week and never tire of it. When you watch the episode you’ll see Guy’s reaction. That was my reaction as well—and soon it will be yours. Enjoy.


For more on all of the Hawaii locations and episodes, click here.

Are you a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives super fan? Been to 20, 50, a 100 places or more? We'd love to hear about it. Please write to

Related Posts:
Fans travel miles to Diners, Drive-ins and Dives
Dr. M’s TOP TEN reasons that visiting Triple Ds is a great hobby!
Dr. M gets me a #shoutout from Guy Fieri

pass it on,


Lisa said...

Need to see the Super Fans got a nice welcome at Hillbilly Hotdogs! I've driven by the locale, but never stopped. A friend's hubby told me about it years ago, he loves the place.

Keizo said...


I love your site, It is a pleasure to visit.

I have added your site to my site.

Please link my site to your site.

Thank you!

Sunny Rodriguez said...

I love this! I think its great to see people wanting to get out and try these new places. I too am trying to try all the places in my city that Guy has been too. So far it's been exciting and can't wait to keep trying them. There are also a ton of places I would love to try outside of my city that he visits. It would be such a journey to do what this couple is doing- a journey filled with alka seltzer and a lot of pit stops. But none the less an amazing time filled with amazing food. Can't wait to see where he goes next.