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National exposure brings crowds downtown

Dave Hunter shows off 'The Porker' burger, which was featured on Food Network. Photos by Trevor Keiser (click for larger version)
December 21, 2011 - After being featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," Curt Catallo sees a lot of new faces downtown.

"I just think it's a great day for Main Street to see what Kid Rock can do to put a little place in Michigan on the map," Catallo said. "It's pretty cool to see Clarkston mentioned at such a national level."

The famed rocker rolled into town in late August with his friend and Food Network host Guy Fieri to tape the show. Since the show aired, Dec. 12, Catallo said there has been an increase in requests for the burger "The Porker" and for Kid Rock's own brew of "Bad Ass Beer."

"It's definitely become the official Clarkston combination," Catallo said.

The Porker includes a pork patty, Michigan maple bacon, hot link, pickled chilies, and cold smoked cheddar, all made in house, and South Carolina mayo.

Dave Hunter, one of the Woodshop's cooks said it was great to be acknowledged for the hard work.

"Considering we're a restaurant that makes 90 percent of our stuff in house, even our bacon is made in house," he said. "It's good for business, good for Detroit, good for Michigan to have two hometown local places built from the bottom up."

Server Mike Stevenson agreed.

"I think our owners deserve it. They're great guys and put a lot of heart into the city of Clarkston," he said. "Kid Rock, being a guy that comes in quite a bit, it's awesome for us."

Stevenson has definitely noticed a difference since the show aired.

"We were busy before but we're definitely busier now then what we were," he said.

Hostess Bianca Keitel said the wait for seating on weekdays is between 30-45 minutes, and on the weekends, it can extend to more than an 90 minutes.

"I love our food and I love the fact our restaurant has gotten so much exposure," she said. "It has its own individuality, diversity in food and diversity in décor."

Fellow hostess Emily Jackson loves the food and people she works with.

"I've worked here almost a year and half," Jackson said. "I really like interacting with new people and talking to different customers while they wait."

Customers Nancy Shea and Nick Novak of Saginaw stopped to eat at the Woodshop after seeing it on TV.

"We were in Detroit shopping and we're coming back home and decided to make this our stop," Novak said.

Both ordered the Woodshop Burger.

"It was fantastic," Shea said. "It was really good."

Sue and Mark Deacon, along with Barb and Mike Schillions, ordered everything that was on the show.

"It was excellent," Mark said.

"We've been coming here for years," Sue said. "But we didn't know about the porker until we saw the TV program."

Mark said the show was "a good shot for Clarkston."

"Clarkston is a great place particularly to raise kids. It's got a sense of community and always has," he said. "It's been very nice for us living here for as long as we have."

Food Network will re-air the episode this Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at midnight.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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