It’s said that the “Guy Fieri effect” is a game changer for restaurants. Based on recent experience, Whitehaven’s Trap Fusion can vouch for that, and two other local restaurants are poised to see it for themselves.
Trap Fusion, which stands for “taking risks and prosper,” was featured Dec. 15 on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” show on the Food Network. Since then, co-owner Jason Gardner said business has been “nonstop.”
“We’ve had quite a few people say that they’ve seen the show,” Gardner said. “It has been a blessing from there.”
Gardner and his long-time best friend and business partner, Markeith McCoy, opened Trap Fusion in Whitehaven in 2019. A second location opened in 2020 in Cordova, and a food truck is available for catering.
“We actually wrote this menu for Trap Fusion about 10 years ago at my kitchen table,” Gardner said. “It was our Sunday football menu.”
Trap Fusion’s menu merges Caribbean and international cuisine with “Memphis flavors.” Fieri, a celebrity restaurateur, was served Caribbean oxtails and jerk lamp chops – two of Trap Fusion’s most popular dishes, when the show visited the restaurant.
“(Fieri) loved everything — he loved it all,” Gardner said.
Gardner said that going into 2024, he and McCoy hope to stabilize the business after struggling some since the pandemic.
“We’re in the process of rebuilding and rebranding from a mental standpoint and rebuilding our workforce,” Gardner said. “In the pandemic, everyone had staffing problems in the restaurant industry. At one time, it was myself and my business partner running the front of house, back of house, side of house, all of it for both restaurants.”
Currently, Trap Fusion has four full-time and four part-time employees. Gardner also hopes to expand the restaurant into other areas and even franchise.
“We may possibly expand to the Nashville market – we’re doing market research to see what the next great thing for our business will be,” Gardner said. “We plan to franchise in the near future and grow from there.”
Trap Fusion also caters events of all sizes and hopes to grow the catering arm of its business.
“We cater events up to 2,000 and 5,000 – no event is too big or too small,” Gardner said. “We want to do more corporate events, more weddings and more birthday parties. We’re just looking to grow the business and give Memphis something to be proud of.”
Trap Fusion joins the ranks of other Memphis restaurants that have been featured on the show in the past, including Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken, Leonard’s Pit Barbecue, Maximo’s on Broad and Cozy Corner BBQ.
During his recent trip to Memphis, Fieri also stopped in at Good Fortune Co. and Little Bettie Pizza and Snacks, which is located inside Wiseacre Brewing Co.’s Downtown location.
Good Fortune Co. announced it will be featured on an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” airing Jan. 5 at 8 p.m.
Wiseacre will also appear in an upcoming show; that episode will air Jan. 12 at 8 p.m., and Wiseacre will hold a watch party at its Downtown location.
Prior to “Southern, Western & North of the Border,” the episode featuring Trap Fusion, it had been 11 years since a Memphis restaurant was featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
The episode featuring Trap Fusion will re-air on the Food Network Dec. 30 at 3 a.m.
This article was originally published at “dailymemphian.com“