Carl Ruiz and his wife Marie Riccio were having a busy day Thursday in their new eatery, Marie's, in the Hickory Square Shopping Center when a special guest stopped by.
"I've known Guy [Fieri] for a while," Ruiz said. "His manager called me and asked me for the address [to Marie's], and there it was, he showed up."
Fieri hosts Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Guy’s Big Bite and Tailgate Warriors on The Food Network. He was scheduled to do an event in the area Thursday and stopped in at Marie's for a bite.
"Guy comes to visit and it was freakishly busy, so he started working making sandwiches," Ruiz said. "All these kids were like, 'I can't believe Guy Fieri's making my lunch!' It was surreal."
Marie's openend on Oct. 10, according to Riccio, as an Italian deli, but Ruiz said it's taken on a life of its own. "We were just going to be this little deli, but people started using it as a restaurant. They just started showing up with their own bottles of wine. So now we're like a deli during the day and a little café/restaurant at night," he said.
Fieri's visit closely followed another special visit to the deli, this one by Ruiz's grandmother, mother and his brother's family. "They came to surprise me that Saturday we lost power because of the freak snowstorm. They showed up just as we were throwing away the food. My grandmother's there screaming out of the window from the car, 'I told you this was a stupid idea!' It's like Murphy's Law.
Marie's is open Sundays and Tuesdays through Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Riccio especially likes the Drunk Chicken, which has chicken cutlets, fontina and prosciutto covered in Marie's vodka sauce.