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Café to be featured on Food Network

Putah Creek Cafe regulars — Karen Benson-Neil, John Neil, Debbie Holland and Shelly Burke, all of Winters — are all smiles because they snagged the farmers' table, which is unofficially reserve for local farmers at 6 a.m. and again at 10 a.m. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise file photo

Putah Creek Cafe regulars — Karen Benson-Neil, John Neil, Debbie Holland and Shelly Burke, all of Winters — are all smiles because they snagged the farmers' table, which is unofficially reserve for local farmers at 6 a.m. and again at 10 a.m. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise file photo

By
March 29, 2011 |

The wait is over.

Putah Creek Café, the popular restaurant in downtown Winters, gets its moment in the national spotlight Monday when the Food Network airs an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” filmed last August. Host Guy Fieri will feature chef Fred Reyes and reveal the secrets of some of the café’s stellar menu items.

Reyes will prepare brick oven-roasted chicken pizza, cioppino (which Fieri called “just about the best I’ve ever had”) and homemade country-style pork sausage with biscuits and gravy. All are regular items on the café’s menu.

The chicken is cooked in the outdoor wood–fired brick oven, built by local artisan Yves Boisrame especially for the café. The oven, is fired up every Thursday, Fridayand Saturday night for dinner, not only for chicken and pizza, but other dishes as well.

Fieri, the charismatic spiky-haired chef and TV host, came to Winters in late August to do the filming. He talked to local folks as they ate, interviewed café owners John Pickerel and his wife, Melanie Bajakian, and tasted the food — lots of it.

The show is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. Monday on the Food Network, Channel 60 on the Comcast cable system. Associate producer Jamie Vincent advises checking on the Food Network website as the date draws nearer to confirm the air time; visit http://www.foodnetwork.com and click on “What’s on TV” on the right side, then “Show List A-Z” and then “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

Putah Creek Café is open daily for breakfast and lunch, and Thursdays through Saturdays for dinner. For more information on the café, visit http://www.putahcreekcafe.com.

On filming day, Pickerel said he was happy to see his restaurant and the city of Winters get some national limelight. The exposure, he said, was a reflection not only of the hard work that’s gone into the business, but also the customers’ decision to come there.

“They love this. They know how hard we’ve worked, and they tell us it’s great,” Pickerel said.

Winters residents come in and eat breakfast every day. Nearby out-of-towners bicycle from Davis every weekend to get their fix. When people come back to a restaurant again and again, they’re “vested in that place,” Pickerel said.

And when it gets some credit when, let’s say, a popular national television show decides to feature it, regulars feel they’re a part of that.

“It’s nice your own choices are validated,” Pickerel said. “I think they take it personally.”

Fieri became a national celebrity in 2006 when he won “The Next Food Network Star” competition. He hosts four TV shows and owns two local restaurants — Tex Wasabi in Sacramento and Johnny Garlic’s in Roseville.

The shows are “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” “Guy’s Big Bite” and the “Ultimate Recipe Showdown,” all on the Food Network, as well as “Minute to Win It,” a game show on NBC.

— Jonathan Edwards contributed to this story. Reach him at jedwards@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8052.

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