The Breadfruit's Dwayne Allen Takes Some of the Mystery Out of Food Network's Mystery Diners

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Chow Bella
Dwayne Allen

See also: Local Restaurants Featured on Mystery Diners
See also: Phoenix Area Restaurants Featured on Mystery Diners Find a Mixed Bag of Reactions
See also: Kim Brennan of Big Earl's Greasy Eats Pushes Back Against Cave Creek Conservative Columnist, Defends Mystery Diners Episode and Plans White Trash Bash

Those of us who've subjected ourselves to the painfully bad acting on Food Network's Mystery Diners have suspected from the get-go that the so-called reality show is completely scripted.

Now Dwayne Allen of The Breadfruit takes us one step closer to unraveling the mystery behind this embarrassing farce, which has made a half dozen of our local bars and restaurants (not to mention the people who run them) look so woefully clueless we wonder that any of them have managed to stay in business five minutes.

Here's what he told Chow Bella in a phone interview, after noticing that the Big Earl's Goes Wild episode (which features a Big Earl's Greasy Eats bartender and her shocking shenanigans) had a familiar ring to it:

Allen received a phone call from Food Network, which set up the Mystery Diners show as a partnership with Bon Appetit -- a detail that definitely perked him up and got him listening.

When he asked the caller, "How did you all decide on The Breadfruit?" he says he was told, "We're contacting some of the area's most popular restaurants," which immediately aroused the savvy restaurant owner's suspicion.

Allen says he thought to himself, "You kiddin' me? I'm still trying to grow this thing. Nobody knows who we are!" (Which demonstrates a much firmer grasp on reality than we've seen on the program.)

Nevertheless, he listened just long enough to determine the whole thing sounded a mite shady.

Allen says the Food Network representative went on to postulate, "Let's say you have a bartender who has a soft spot for pretty women. We'll bring in the pretty women, and we'll set up the cameras so you can bust him."

"But we don't have a bartender with a soft spot for women," Allen recalls responding, adding a quick, "No thanks; we'll pass on that" before he could find out if Food Network intended to supply the bartender as well as the female lookers.

He does say, somewhat delicately, "They were very frank in explaining how the show works. I mean, I would imagine they don't have a lot of time to sit around and wait to catch this guy...."

Of course, nobody who actually signed on for this fantasy fluff will admit to its fakery -- probably because they were forced to sign a non-disclosure before the show was taped.

The real mystery is that local participants still believe such idiotic programming could be good for either their business or their branding, once the initial curiosity has worn off.

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Location Info

The Breadfruit

108 E. Pierce St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Big Earl's Greasy Eats

6135 E. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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This is the least mysterious mystery ever.  Not only is Mystery Diners an obvious fake, but the production company that makes it , TGROUP also produces 2 other very fake "reality shows":  Repo Men and Storage Wars.

Each is more obviously staged than the previous one.  A personal favorite was when a gang getting their car lifted by the repo guys came running up, guns drawn, and forced the repo guys to remove the car from the tow truck.  Now if this were real, dont you think there'd have been a news story about it, not to mention some arrests since the whole thing was on camera?

Barb Wilson
Barb Wilson

I thought it was bogus the first time I watched it. I won't watch it anymore.


The Mystery Diners is absolutely staged nonsense and all of the restaurants involved were foolish to participate, I saw the Tempe Cafe Boa episode, what an embarrasment except when the server called the owner a j*&ck ass, and now of course he has filed for Bankruptcy.. I also saw the Greasy eats one, completely staged and fake.. the owners and staff came away looking aweful.

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