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Golden Bear hits Food Network

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A Sacramento neighborhood favorite, The Golden Bear, makes its TV debut on the Food Network early next month.

The gastropub featuring chef Billy Zoellin, a friendly staff and sloping front porch is scheduled to be one of three restaurants starring on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" at 7 p.m. Jan. 3.

Owners Kimio Bazett and Jon Modrow are bracing for a huge spike in customers once the show airs.

"I don't know if it's more of an expectation or a hope. But from talking to other people who've been on the show … Everyone said to expect anywhere from a tripling to a quadrupling of business in the year following the show," Bazett said.

Food Network promoters told them new episodes of the show, hosted by Guy Fieri, are watched by about 4 million viewers, while reruns attract 1 million. Some viewers plan vacations and business travel to include stops at the show's featured restaurants.

Bazett and Modrow expect not only more patrons, but a more eclectic variety of patrons.

Fieri visited once in August after the pub at 2326 K St. underwent a renovation. A camera crew and producers spent two 13-hour days filming for the half-hour episode titled "Pub Grub and More." Washington, D.C.'s Tortilla Cafe and the Memphis Taproom in Philadelphia will be featured on that episode.

The crew also filmed at Putah Creek Cafe in Winters and Gatsby's Hamburgers on Alta Arden Expressway in Sacramento while in town to shoot The Golden Bear. Those restaurants are being included in other episodes.

The Golden Bear will host a private party for people who were involved in filming from 6 – 8 p.m. Jan. 3. The pub will open to the public afterwards. The scheduled air date is subject to change, Bazett said.

He said he and Modrow are happy but nervous about the expected increase in business, especially after a good yet constructive restaurant review by Sacramento Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson brought a dramatic jump in customers.

"I have a feeling there will be more business than we can handle," Bazett said. "That's not a bad thing."

Photos by Suzanne Hurt, a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @SuzanneHurt.

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