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Tune Inn joins DC reality television craze, crushing hearts more than their mozzarella sticks
The successful opening of Chef Spike’s tourist-beloved We the Pizza and the Silk Road-length lines outside Georgetown Cupcake have proven that television celebrity can add cold hard cash to District businesses’ bottom lines in the otherwise unforgiving summer heat.
But one legendary Capitol Hill dive bar may have just eaten its own scrapple.
The Tune Inn, holder of the oldest liquor license in Washington, D.C. and celebrated for its gritty pretentiousness, recently re-branded itself after Food Network personality Guy Fieri following his April visit for the show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
Menus, once crinkled and historied as a two dollar bill from your grandfather, now feature Fieri’s cartoon face recommending approved dishes of along with photos of him posing with staff and serving customers. The restaurant’s logo itself if now overlapped with a seal announcing that Fieri certifies these once hallowed walls as an “official dive.”
A giant poster of Fieri lurks outside of the bathrooms with an indignity that has made some regulars wish the urinals were relocated slightly below his trademark bleached blonde hair.
The move seems to contradict the image what one Yelp reviewer described as “a warm-welcomed refuge from the hectic, wannabe ‘trendiness’ of several other late night establishments in D.C.”
Ask the Tune Inn’s servers why the establishment re-branded from the unpretentious Capitol Hill watering hole where Congressmen sit in booths beside known vagrants in a mutual pursuit of a taste of home to a tourist-baiting trend based around one appearance by the winner of the “Next Food Network Star” show, and they seem perplexed themselves.
Once popularly known for walls covered in taxidermy animals, now the atmosphere is defined by the endorsement of a television personality who many current patrons would not have asked the opinion of in the first place.
Will Fieri’s endorsement lead to wrap-around lines of patrons waiting for ice cold cans of Natural Bohemian beer and scrapple hamburgers? How the change will affect the establishment’s regular clientele is yet to be determined, as the Tune Inn’s episode in “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” airs Sept. 16.