The Buca di Beppo in Dupont Circle has assumed another identity as a delivery-only “ghost kitchen” that sells cheesesteak egg rolls, chicken “Parm-eroni,” Flavortown fries, and other items affiliated with everyone’s favorite bombastic, frosted-tipped TV chef. Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen is accepting orders from the same Connecticut Avenue NW address as the chain Italian restaurant.
A Popville reader flagged the virtual kitchen this week, and the Boston blogosphere reported sightings of jalapeno pig poppers there. The website for Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen lists locations in 23 states outside the District, including one out of the Buca di Beppo in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and one out of a Brio Italian Grill in a Fairfax, Virginia, mall.
Those Italian restaurants fall under the umbrella of Robert Earl, who founded Planet Hollywood and was previously CEO of Hard Rock Cafe. Earl is a co-owner of Virtual Dining Concepts, the ghost kitchen company behind Flavortown Kitchen and other celebrity-driven delivery brands like a Mariah Carey cookie company and chicken bites from rapper Tyga (both available from the same Dupont kitchen). Incoming Virtual Dining Concepts brands include an Italian sub shop from Jersey Shore star Pauly D and a torta company from Mario Lopez (aka A.C. Slater). Eater has reached out to Virtual Dining Concepts for more information on the operation.
Earl is also a partner in Fieri’s fried chicken chain, Chicken Guy! The ghost kitchen sells a fried chicken sandwich under the same brand, which opened an outpost inside FedEx Field to feed Washington Football Team fans in 2019. A review from the Washington Post described the Chicken Guy! sandwich as a “10-car pileup” produced by overwhelmed concessions workers, but it also said “donkey sauce” is a delicious aioli.
In addition to the bevy of small, local restaurants that have got a boost from ghost kitchens, the D.C. area also has delivery-only fried chicken sandwiches from David Chang’s Fuku that are assembled in a Reef Kitchens trailer in Arlington.