The wait is over. Episodes of The Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" showcasing South Jersey restaurants are getting some air time.
Brigantine's Ernest & Son Meat Market and the Oyster Creek Inn Restaurant and Boat Bar in Leeds Point will be featured at 10 p.m. Friday in an episode titled "Oldies but Goodies."
Mel Cortellessa, owner of the butcher shop in Brigantine said he enjoyed his time with Guy Fieri, who's stood at the helm of the show since its inception in 2007. Cortellessa said he bonded with the host after Fieri said he started his life in the food industry as a teenager in a meat market.
"We both agreed, (butcher shops) is what America needs back," he said. "He loved the fact that we were an old-fashioned butcher shop, that we had the old butcher blocks."
A call and email to the Oyster Creek Inn was not immediately returned.
Alice Hobson, a media representative for the Food Network's parent company Scripps Networks Interactive, confirmed that Ernest & Son and the Oyster Creek Inn would be shown this Friday.
Atlantic City's Kelsey & Kim's will get its time on the small screen at 10 p.m. on Jan. 16, in an episode called "Fish, Fries and Feet," she added. A summary of the episode describes the husband-and-wife duo cooking up turkey chops and pigs feet.
Social media sites buzzed in mid-November when Food Network star Guy Fieri's signature red Camaro convertible was seen parked outside several South Jersey eateries. The reason for his visit was two-fold: To tape, and to promote his Atlantic City restaurant, Guy Fieri's Chophouse, which opened at Bally's over the summer.
"Triple-D" crews also filmed, according to the Press of Atlantic City archives, at the following: The Anchorage Tavern Restaurant and the Grilled Cheese & Crab Cake Co., both in Somers Point; and Carluccio's Coal Fired Pizza in Northfield.
Cortellessa said he's planning a viewing party for Friday's episode at JD's Pub and Grille in Smithville for family, friends, employees and customers. He'll serve some of the food featured in the show, from homemade sausage bulking up the Tailgater sandwich to beef jerky made from scratch. He added that the Oyster Creek Inn will have their own viewing party a block or so away at the same time.
He said he hoped the show would boost business, especially in the colder off-season when tourism dips.
"(Fieri) told me I won the food lottery when they taped," Cortellessa said. "He said I better be ready to ship my product all over the country."
For now, though, Cortellessa said he was more than content with his local fans.
"I've been getting a ton of support on Facebook, with people telling me how excited they are," he said.