Welcome to Flavortown, Boston. Guy Fieri, the prolific restaurateur and spiky-haired host of the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” will open his first restaurant here in late September.
The celebrity chef will launch Guy Fieri’s Tequila Cocina at the Hub on Causeway, adjacent to TD Garden. The restaurant is part of Big Night Entertainment Group’s Big Night Live, a 40,000-square-foot music hall. (Big Night operates destinations throughout the city, including Empire, the Grand, and Memoire and Mystique at Encore Boston Harbor, as well as Guy Fieri’s Kitchen & Bar at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.) Hub on Causeway will have retail, office, hotel, and residential space.
“You can’t come here without feeling the energy. There’s so much history at play. We’re standing on history! And that’s coming from a Cali boy. We always knew the Celtics. We always knew what was going on,” said Fieri, who slipped into the Garden before the Bruins game on Wednesday evening to check on the restaurant’s progress. He was then slated to travel to Cape Cod to participate in the 20th annual Best Buddies Challenge and culinary festival in Hyannis Port.
The 185-seat restaurant will serve Latin street food. Fieri, who presides over businesses ranging from steakhouses to barbecue parlors to chicken-tenders joints, recalled that his first jobs growing up in California were at Mexican restaurants.
“I want to bring you great street tacos. Legit. Funky. I want to show you the diversity, uniqueness, and varying profiles of great Mexican food that you don’t always see. . . . We’ll street taco you like you’ve never seen!” he promised. “I want to push the boundaries.”
Fieri also appreciates Boston’s independent spirit. His wife is from Rhode Island, and he visits frequently.
“Driving down the road, looking at all these mom-and-pop places — you don’t get overtaken by the big box. It still has the feeling of mom and pop,” he said. “I like Boston. Actually, like isn’t the word. I love Boston. It’s a big little city.”
Fieri enjoys visiting Rino’s Place in East Boston when he’s in town, which was featured on his TV show. He also walks to Chinatown for soup dumplings (he promised to track down the name of his preferred haunt) and hangs out at Mike’s City Diner.
Fieri is known for his gregariously open-minded nature when it comes to trying new food, and he encourages his fans (and skeptics) to take the same approach.
“I was doing an interview the other day, and they said, ‘What do you think of people saying ‘no pineapple on pizza’ or people who have a hang-up with truffle oil?’ Here’s my deal: There’s enough people [complaining] about enough things. Give people what they want to eat. Everything has its place. I don’t get hung up on telling people what they should and shouldn’t eat. Just explore,” he said.
Despite his egalitarian outlook, he does draw the line somewhere. Don’t expect to see liver tacos on his menu in September.
“Something I cannot possibly do is liver. Now chicken liver pate, I can get all into that. But beef liver?”