Emmy Award-winning television chef Guy Fieri is expanding his chain of chicken joints across the state of Tennessee.
The host of the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” and his business partner, Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl, are teaming with FACE Hospitality to open four Chicken Guy! eateries in the state. The first will be on Nashville’s legendary Honky Tonk Row, where country music stars from Kris Kristofferson to Gretchen Wilson got their start.
"Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" has filmed episodes all over the state, "and I know how much the great people of Tennessee love their real-deal chicken,” Fieri said. The spiky-haired champion of American comfort food built his career on a certain amount of flash — a rock star image complete with tattoos and jewelry, a fleet of yellow muscle cars and high-octane dishes including Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese Burgers.
Chicken Guy!, which specializes in chicken tenders alongside scores of sauces, has its flagship site in the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Fla. The Nashville location will be followed by restaurants in Knoxville, Johnson City and Gatlinburg, a tourist hotspot in the Great Smoky Mountains. FACE didn't provide opening dates for those eateries.
The expansion of Fieri's empire comes just after the closing of his New York restaurant, Guy's American Kitchen & Bar, located in Times Square. The business was greeted with a no-star review from The New York Times’ restaurant critic when it opened in 2012. It garnered annual sales of roughly $17 million, Restaurant Business reports.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.