Andrew Zimmern co-creator and host of the Travel Channel’s show “Bizarre Foods” stopped by Lyons NY recently as part of a two-week trip around Wayne County as they film segments for an episode of Bizarre Foods around the Erie Canal. When Bill Sweitzer from the NYS Canal Corporation was asked by the producers of the show where to visit, the first name and town that came to mind was Bob Stopper and Lyons NY.
Stopper said, “show producers were in the county for parts of two weeks taping and photographing Wayne County canal scenes for the show which is expected to air in September”. They were also spotted at several other Canal locations during their time in upstate NY.
On a sunny but chilly day in May, Zimmern himself was in Lyons, taking a canal packet boat ride from the dry docks off Route 31 and up to Newark and back. High waters fed by endless rains spiked plans to have Zimmern take a canal boat from the Old Richmond Aqueduct at Montezuma in Cayuga County west to Lyons. Instead he arrived by mini-van at the dry docks, where he boarded a canal boat provided by Mid-Lakes Navigation piloted by Peter Wiles Jr. and his sister Sara Wiles.
Later after another ride on a Canal Corp vessel, going east to Lock 27 in downtown Lyons, Zimmern stopped for a hot dog at the nearby Caboose Hot Dog Stand. Later he enjoyed a chicken barbeque hosted by the Lyons Fire Dept.
“He was one of the most personable people you’d ever want to meet” said Stopper. “It was just so interesting to talk with him”
At the Caboose, Zimmern homed in on a white hot dog, after his host explained the differences between whites and reds (whites have more pork). Zimmern ate his hot sauce, mustard and some sauerkraut. Stopper reported that he loved it.
After dining with guests and fire department members, Zimmern was presented with a vial of peppermint oil, courtesy of Dobbins Drugs. Lyons, as many know, was at one time the peppermint capital of the world. Zimmern told folks on hand that it still holds the title and should celebrate its history. Stopper said, “he was excited to see the episode”. He and other members of the local Erie Canal Greeters group will get a sneak peek prior to its Travel Channel premier.
He thinks the show will be a great boost to Lyons and the county tourism effort.
“The whole thing was wonderful,” said Stopper, who noted that the show’s production team was very friendly and willing to take suggestions. “It was an experience of a lifetime.”
Andrew Zimmern is a writer, TV personality, chef, and teacher. A New York City native, he began his formal culinary training at the age of 14, apprenticing with some of the greatest chefs in the world. As the co-creator, host and contributing producer of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Andrew travels the world, tasting the most unique, traditional fare he can find. From restaurants to jungle markets, it’s all about discovering the authentic, immersive experience.