Nov. 7—Freshly prepared food is the signature of London's Old Town Grill — and that passion for good food is what landed the London restaurant a spot on America's Best Restaurants.
Host Greg Hutson and field producer Austin Turner were at the London restaurant on Monday, filming an episode for the food series that highlights independent restaurants.
Hutson said restaurants were selected by a nomination process.
"We don't do the national chain restaurants," Hutson said. "We receive a community nomination and select the ones that we feel best portray the independently-owned restaurants."
Hutson describes himself as a "foodie," adamantly admitting that he has a passion for good food.
London OTG owner Mike Caffrey was more than willing to cater to Hutson's tastes, offering a variety of the menu items.
First came the Loaded Potato Bites appetizer — homemade potato bites smothered with ranch dressing, diced tomatoes, cheese, crispy bacon and sour cream.
Then Hutson and Turner tried their taste buds to OTG's Brisket Burger.
"That's 8 ounces of hamburger (that's half a pound), 5 ounces of brisket that is cooked for 18 hours, then cooled and grilled," Caffrey said. "Then we put two slices of cheese, a mesquite barbecue sauce and onion straws."
Hutson said the various flavors came to life individually with each bite — a quality that shows Caffrey's passion for cooking.
Caffrey's 38 years in food service has taught him many things — one of which is to prepare food fresh.
"We don't have frozen foods," he said, "and the food doesn't sit on the grill. We fix everything fresh for every meal."
Caffrey said the key to successful restaurant patronage is the reputation of the eatery — which is based on the satisfaction of the customers.
"It's the guests, the customers you have to please and yo have to be passionate about it," he said. "If I weren't, I would be out of business."
Caffrey also served Hutson and Turner one of the restaurant's most popular dishes — Sinful Chicken. He joked about the name, adding that he entices the Sunday menu by telling customers the chicken dish is so good that they will need to go to church and ask forgiveness.
After sampling the popular dish, Hutson agreed.
Sinful Chicken is a freshly grilled chicken breast dashed with OTG's own seasoning blend, served on a bed of wild rice and topped with a combination of spinach dip and alfredo sauce. Steamed broccoli is one of the side dishes accompanying the chicken.
Hutson said selections for America's Best Restaurants focuses on freshly prepared food, customer ratings and cleanliness of the restaurants.
"We're telling the stories of the independent restaurant owners," Hutson said. "We can tell that Mike has a passion for good food and good customer service."
The episode featuring the London OTG will air on the America's Best Restaurants website in the next several weeks, Hutson said.
"We have to edit this but it should air in the next five to six weeks on Americasbestrestaurants.com," he said.