Griffin Bufkin owns Southern Soul Barbeque, a smoke shack on St. Simons Island, Georgia (population ~14,000). The restaurant, featured in Season 9, is 40 miles from the nearest highway.
"We weren't really sure what to expect… from the show or Fieri himself," Bufkin said.
When Fieri first stepped foot in Southern Soul, he came in a plain white T and cargo shorts, his normally spiky hair flaccid and un-frosted. No backward sunglasses. No bowling shirt. Just a guy named Guy.
"I barely even recognized him," said Bufkin. "He introduced himself, talked to every one of our employees... was a real nice, down-to-earth guy."
But when he came back for filming, it was like he slipped his "Guy Fieri" persona on like a Halloween costume.
"He was all Fieri-ed up. His tips were freshly frosted. He had his flames on. And he was just amped up, you know? Still really nice, really cool -- but like an amplified version of himself for sure," Bufkin said.
Fieri did have some encouraging parting words of advice for Bufkin regarding the impact of his show.
"He told us to be ready for a 200% increase in business," Bufkin said, which seemed like a pretty lofty prediction considering the place is about an hour off the highway. "Believe it or not, that's what happened. And it really hasn't stopped ever since."