What happens when Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives comes to your restaurant

L to R: Prairie Dogs chef/co-owner Craig Johnson, Guy Fieri, chef/co-owner Tobie Nidetz

L to R: Prairie Dogs chef/co-owner Craig Johnson, Guy Fieri, chef/co-owner Tobie Nidetz

A guy strolls casually past the facade of Prairie Dogs, the year-and-a-half-old gourmet hot dog joint on Lake near Lyndale, and does a double take. Then a triple take. Then he whips out his cell. Was that who I think it was?

It was. Who else would it be? The bleach blond spiky hair, the goatee, tats, and sterling silver jewelry are unmistakable. None other than Guy Fieri. The guy snaps a surreptitious photo and strolls on. 

The Diner, Drive-ins and Dives crew descended on Uptown on Wednesday to shoot at the gourmet hot dogs bistro, temporarily setting the place atwitter with the excitement of lights, cameras, and action. 

When I approach the door to fulfill my role as an extra, I'm stopped by an official-looking dude who inquires whether I'm there for the "special event." There's a hushed air to the proceedings, and the lot of us are asked to wait outside. It's raining, but we do as requested. Once we're finally inside, the restaurant has been utterly transformed into a set, with sweltering camera lights, what seems like an incredible amount of equipment, and a room full of extras constantly being implored to keep it down. This only looks like a restaurant now. It's an official set with all the rules and regulations that go along with being "on."

When a guy fishes out his camera to take a shot of Fieri, an assistant holds up a clipboard between the camera's sightline and the talent. "NO photos." It's all very Hollywood. 

The rest of the shoot happens inside of about a half hour. Fieri is pretty much what you'd expect: brash, sassy, and enjoying an intense level of fame. He does his part in about 15 minutes, conducting feigned interviews with the ad hoc diners, asking questions in a speaking manner that's way above "indoor voice." 

DDD crew members relax after a long day.

DDD crew members relax after a long day.

And before it even seems to start, it's over. Prior to exiting, Fieri changes his shirt in full view of everyone, and now I can say I've seen a shirtless Fieri and I don't know exactly how to feel about that. And then he's out, bellowing, "Adios! Adios! Adios!" to no one in particular, like a mic drop before jumping into an idling SUV with tinted windows.

He's not warm or friendly. He's famous. It's impossible not to try to calculate how much money the man just made in less than half an hour, and it's impossible not to feel a little envious.

The shoot will likely be a huge boon to Prairie Dogs, a great concept in a space that's a bit of a blind spot near the Lyn-Lake intersection, formerly occupied by the Grey House. The food is pure DDD territory — big, messy, and delicious dude food. You'd be wise to check them out now, before the throngs of Fieri-followers inundate the place.

No word yet on when this episode will air, but keep an eye on the Prairie Dogs Facebook Page for news about an upcoming viewing party. 

Prairie Dogs 

610 W. Lake St., Minneapolis