Celebrity Chef Guy Fieri Visits New Fremont Restaurant

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Fremont Grandstand

FREMONT, Neb. – The owners of Fremont’s newest restaurant – Semo Pasta + Wine – got a special surprise on Sunday when celebrity chef and TV personality Guy Fieri visited town and later had a private dinner at the restaurant.

Chef Drew Statz, co-owner and co-founder of Semo Pasta + Wine on North Main Street, said he and other staff were preparing for the grand opening of the new restaurant, which was Wednesday, when he received a phone call from an investment partner.

“He said he was hanging out with Guy Fieri and (Guy) wanted something to eat. He wanted some privacy,” Statz said. “I got the call at 5:30 p.m. that he would be in Fremont (from Omaha) in less than an hour to come and eat with us.”

Fieri then arrived at 414 N. Main St. with members of his personal entourage and his two sons. Fieri also joined members of the Semo Pasta + Wine investment group and staff at the Wine, Beer, and Spirits store in Omaha.

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Statz said the impromptu menu included samples of ricotta and vegetables from the farm; sourdough breads, focaccia and brioche made by his wife, Michelle, who is Semo’s pastry chef; a farmhouse salad made with greens from Beavers Produce in Rogers, Nebraska; Statz’s handmade tajarin pasta with freshly shaved summer truffles; and a 40-ounce Wagyu rib eye and Birdwood beef hanger steak were the main course with herbed potatoes and asparagus from Grandview Farms in Fremont.

“He was blown away by how much we buy locally and how much we make at home,” Statz said.

Statz also said Fieri was extremely personable and offered her a range of commentary, insight and mentorship over the hours-long dinner. Fieri toured the restaurant, including the kitchens, and offered a candid contribution to Statz, he said.

“It was the first time I could be one-on-one with someone of his status. But when we spoke, the whole room was silent, and he and I just had a boss-to-boss conversation, “, said Statz. “He gave me so much insight in the 20 minutes after dinner. He was a very down to earth guy.”

Fieri was at Harrah’s Casino & Hotel in Council Bluff’s on Saturday for a pre-launch event for his new restaurant, Guy Fieri’s Kitchen + Bar. The restaurant officially opened on Monday.

For Statz, the surprise dinner and the evening with Fieri were breathtaking.

“I used to cook at J’s steakhouse here in town watching his shows, and now I’m back in Fremont, right next door, cooking for him,” Statz d. “It’s like a dream coming full circle.”

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