WEST TOWN — Wait, is that dude sitting behind Guy Fieri a Chicago politician? Or is he a man who was “exiled from Flavortown and aims to exact his revenge?”
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) made a brief appearance in a recently aired episode of Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” starring Fieri.
During the episode, a camera caught Hopkins sitting in a booth behind Fieri at Bella Luna Cafe, 731 N. Dearborn St., with, well, a less-than-joyful expression on his face.
On Twitter, author Chuck Wendig shared a screenshot of the episode and said, “watching DINERS DRIVE-INS AND DIVES and whoa check out the guy behind Guy. … he looks PISSED, like he was exiled from Flavortown and aims to exact his revenge”
Suddenly, Chicago’s 2nd Ward alderman found himself in a bonafide Twitter meme.
@bryancamp: First my elaborate haunted house ruse was thwarted by those meddling kids and their damn dog, and now this.
@N7IRL: His bank was going to buy up Flavortown properties for cheap by scaring off the locals and then sell it off to developers to make it suburbs snd strip malls, but Guy and a ragtag group of teens uncovered the plot while learning important lessons along the way.
@MExasperated: That’s just Flavortown Secret Service. Being the Mayor is dangerous!
Hopkins took it all in stride.
“I never intended to be a meme,” Hopkins told Block Club Chicago. “I actually had a really good time during that.”
He even invoked another meme in a tweet.
In October 2018, Hopkins was invited by Bella Luna Cafe to sit in on an episode of the show.
Fieri had picked Bella Luna Cafe as a stop on his tour of Chicago’s “diners, drive-ins and dives.”
And “dive” is exactly what Bella Luna Cafe is, Hopkins said.
“It’s a secret for locals,” he said.
On the day of filming, Hopkins showed up and ordered a piece of lasagna and the veggie and sausage supreme pizza.
When Fieri showed up in an old red Camaro, the “larger-than-life figure” commanded the restaurant, Hopkins said.
“Guy was hilarious,” he said.
First, Fieri went to the kitchen to see how recipes were prepared. Then he went table to table, “riffing” with customers.
Fieri, however, skipped Hopkins’ booth.
“I must have looked too mad for him,” the alderman said.
Hopkins insisted Fieri did not know he was in the presence of a Chicago alderman.
“He worked the room on his own terms,” Hopkins said. “I was just another guy sitting there.”
On its website, The Food Network describes Bella Luna Cafe as such:
“If you are in the the River North region of Chicago and craving old school Italian head to Danny Alberga’s Bella Luna Café. Try the crispy deep-dish sausage pizza with hand-crushed tomato sauce and the massive handmade sausage ravioli.”