Eat It and Like It with Jesse Blanco, the television show, will turn three years old on September 24, 2014. I don’t know if there will be any cake or celebrations, probably not. My own birthday is the week before, so I’ll likely have an extra slice of carrot cake to celebrate both occasions. So much has happened the last three years. The show has grown, evolved, changed and hopefully, gotten a little bit better.
When we started this production, there were three of us setting up shoots, filming, editing, and producing the episodes that so many of you have seen. There were episodes on Chocolate, Coffee, Burgers, Pub Grub, and Holiday Sweets. We were having a great time! All of us with day jobs. All of us working far more than forty hours a week. Who cares, right? When you are having fun, it doesn’t feel like work. Although there were plenty of times early on that it did absolutely feel like work. Making phone calls asking people if they wanted to be on a TV show was a little more difficult then because no one had heard of the show. A lot of people asked how much it cost to be on this show (it has never cost anything). Still others hung up on me and others still, never returned my calls.
Yes, I was making all of these calls, setting up all these shoots. You should have heard some of the things people said to me. I had a coffee shop owner in Pooler pretty much cuss me out and say “I don’t want to be on your show.” To which I said “That is more than fine. I’m sure I will be able to find another interested party.” That paved the way for a brand new (at the time) coffee shop on Bull Street called Foxy Loxy. The store in Pooler was closed six months later.
Now, three years later, we’ve been nominated for two EMMY awards, and have the highest rated local television show (excluding newscasts) in the Savannah/Hilton Head Island television market. We have better ratings locally than Rachel Ray and The Chew, two national programs with similar content. Everyone, it seems, has seen the show. Doctors, lawyers, grandmothers, football coaches, moms, dads, police officers, or politicians. I can’t go anywhere anymore without someone asking me “What are you cooking today?” or “Did you bring us any food?”
It’s a tremendous feeling.
With all of that as a back drop, I’m writing this to try to explain to those who may not know how we go about featuring a restaurant on our show. Our shows are topic driven. In the past, we have done shows on Sushi, BBQ, Date Night, Steak, Wings, and on and on and on. We have a list of about fifty topics that we draw from. We come up with ten to fifteen per season, and go from there. Once the topics are selected, we then start searching for places in the area that fit the topic. As you can well imagine, we had a bunch of candidates for our BBQ episode. There is so much good BBQ in the area, but ultimately we settled on Wileys, Sandfly, Jomax BBQ in Metter and Randy’s BBQ on Wheaton Street. Does that mean we don’t like the others? Of course not. It’s just that the show is only thirty minutes long, take out commercials and it is twenty-two minutes of content. There is only so much space to tell a good story.
That process is repeated until will have a full season. Sometimes someone we’d like to feature can’t accommodate us for whatever reason, so we find a back up. As you can imagine, as the show grows, those instances are becoming less and less frequent.
There are DOZENS of places in this city that I love that haven’t been on the TV show. I’ll start with Just Desserts on Skidaway Road. Some of the best sweets in the city. Elizabeth’s on 37th, for example. It’s one of my favorites spots in Savannah. It’s one of the best restaurants in our city. They haven’t even been discussed. Same goes for Dub’s Pub down on River Street and Nick Mueller’s Laughing Boar, in Guyton. All great places that I talk about often, love them. We just haven’t had a fit for an episode yet. I hope you get the point. Kirk Blaine at Driftaway Cafe is a perfect example of a talented chef that we haven’t found the perfect fit for yet. A few months ago, we talked about it and explained to him what you have just read. Our show is weekly, not daily. There is a finite amount of space.
The best way to make sure you are on our radar? Send us an email. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us what makes your restaurant special, beyond the food. We would hope your food is great, but is there more we should know?
Eat It and Like It would be nothing without you. We appreciate this community’s support more than we will ever be able to express.
On behalf of myself and the handful of us at Eat It and Like It,
Senea Crystal, Managing Partner
Joshua Jasso, Director of Photography
Melody Johnson, Creative Brand Manager
Chrissy Slater, Digital Content Manager and Social Media
We thank you.