This morning it fell to me to share some bad news with Alton Brown.
“Dusty Buns went bankrupt,” I told him.
I was talking with the Food Network star in advance of his March return to Fresno’s Saroyan Theatre with an all-new version of his show “Eat Your Science.” (He’s a busy guy, so his publicist scheduled the phone interview well in advance.) Brown told me he was looking forward to returning to three Fresno eateries that he sampled when he came to Fresno to do his show in 2015: the Chicken Pie Shop, Cafe Corazon (“I really like the coffee”) and, alas, Dusty Buns.
That’s when I dropped the culinary bomb. I don’t think he was too surprised, actually.
“It happens,” he said when told of the popular eatery’s closure. “Good restaurants don’t always make it.”
What I didn’t tell him, because I didn’t realize it at the time of our conversation, is that Cafe Corazon shut down, too. Poor Alton. Fresno is only batting .333 when it comes to your favorites.
One of Brown’s popular shticks while on tour with his show is asking people where he should eat in each city. He uses the hashtag #ABRoadeats on Twitter and Facebook to poll his fans, which is how he ended up at Dusty Buns and five other Fresno-area eateries.
In the interview, we talked mostly about his touring show, which he calls a “culinary variety show featuring large scale food demonstrations, live music, audience interaction, and multimedia shenanigans.” I’ll be writing more about the show closer to the March 20 performance date.
Brown has some great – and not so great – memories of his last visit to the city.
“The only time I had to go to a dentist on the road was in Fresno,” he said.
Everyone knew about it, too. He announced on social media: “Hey Fresno. I think I cracked a tooth on some bean salad yesterday. Can anyone recommend a dentist?” He used the hashtag #someonefedmearock.
Brown is a gentleman when it come to talking about tooth-altering experiences, however. When I asked where he was served the bean salad, he said, “I’m not going to say.”
But he did find something to praise in the situation.
“I can tell you that the dental care in Fresno is excellent,” he said.
And while the news about Dusty Buns and Cafe Corazon is a blow, it isn’t the worst thing that could have happened.
“If you told me that Chicken Pie Shop had closed, I would have gone ahead and cancelled the show,” he said with a laugh.