There is some poetic justice in the fact that Guy Fieri and his Food Network hit Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’ six-restaurant tour of Delaware will come to a close this Friday night at 9:00 pm with a feature on the legendary Mrs. Robino’s on Union Street.
The fourth-generation Italian family restaurant is after all the “grandmother” of the six local eateries Fieri and his crew chose to highlight, with decades of noble tenure on the Wilmington restaurant scene. The other fantastic five faves: Farmer and the Cow, Stoney’s, Maiale, Locale BBQ Post and Pastabilities are all relative newcomers on the food firmament (Pastabilities has a little more grey hair than the others).
Winding down his magical tasting tour with Mrs. Robino’s is also gratifying for TSD: the historic 520 N. Union Street spot effectively tied for the restaurant our readers most wanted Fieri to visit when we campaigned for his red Camaro to visit the First State back in 2015.
Mrs. Robino’s owner – and the great-granddaughter of its founder – Andrea Minuti Wakefield was certainly surprised when Fieri showed up at her door in Little Italy asking for some home-cooked favorites but she took his “surreal” visit in stride. She’s looking forward to this Friday night July 26 at 9 pm when the nation – and every Mrs. Robino’s fan in Wilmington – will see Guy join her in the kitchen of the “1940s Italian family spot that’s making beef braciola and meaty ravioli from scratch.”
Wakefield says the publicity around Triple D visiting her restaurant has already been a boon to business – helping to bump traffic during the traditionally slower summer months. “Business has been so unbelievable since February, with so many new customers,” said Wakefield.
She’s planning to celebrate Friday’s episode with a watch party at the restaurant, where friends and family can cheer on her culinary creativity and raise a glass to her dear departed great grandmother Robino. “Those with reservations for our viewing party are in for a really great night. Of course, we will have specials of the items Guy sampled,” said Wakefield. “We will also have giveaways and raffles, with proceeds going to Faithful Friends Animal Society,” she said.
With 9,400 followers on Facebook, news that Mrs. Robino’s would be featured on DDD was greeted with enthusiasm from many long-time restaurant-goers. Chad Emory said, “Happy customer for over 40 years! Can’t wait for this episode!” And Sandee Miller posted, “I’ve been eating here for over 50 years. I’ve seen Italian restaurants in Delaware come and go, but none compare to Mrs. Robinos. Great food and wonderful staff. Can’t wait to see it on Guy’s show.” And from Ricki Fagan: “you GOTTA record this one! This one is the only episode that matters!!!!!!”
Wakefield had all of a week and a half to ready her restaurant for the DDD film crew when they contacted her in February. But she didn’t hesitate to jump at the opportunity to welcome the Food Network’s most famous star to her family restaurant in Wilmington. “Who would have thought in 1940 when my great grandmother opened this restaurant we would be on the Food Network’s most popular show – she’s probably smiling in heaven.”