Fieri Walks Away From The California Restaurants That Made Him

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri is walking away from his original California restaurants after 20 years.

Guy Fieri is walking away from his signature restaurants, Johnny Garlic's and Tex Wasabi's.
Guy Fieri is walking away from his signature restaurants, Johnny Garlic’s and Tex Wasabi’s.

There’s no joy in Guy Fieri’s Flavortown today.

This morning, reps announced that celebrity chef Guy Fieri will be walking away from his signature restaurants — Johnny Garlic’s and Tex Wasabi’s — in Northern California. Ironically, these are the very restaurants that made His Spikiness the reigning King of Food Network.

Fieri’s longtime business partner Steve Gruber will take over of the restaurants after signing an agreement to purchase Fieri’s stock and take sole ownership of Johnny Garlic’s Inc. The company’s holdings include seven Johnny Garlic’s restaurants in Northern California (including two in Sonoma County) and Tex Wasabi’s in Santa Rosa.

Last December, Fieri signaled his intent to dissolve the chain of seven restaurants in a petition to California’s secretary of state. Gruber counter-sued to block the dissolution by purchasing Fieri’s stake in the company. The two sides were in a standoff for several months  over the price for Fieri’s shares of the company. The sale price for Fieri’s stock was not released. Reps for Fieri have not yet issued a statement.

In what was described as an amicable ending of their business partnership, Gruber states his interest in continuing the Johnny Garlic’s and Tex Wasabi’s brand, with ownership of “all the current and future Johnny Garlic’s and Tex Wasabi’s restaurants.”

“It’s an exciting day,” said Gruber in a prepared statement. “I started Johnny Garlic’s as a partnership nearly 20 years ago and after two decades, it’s an opportunity for the brand to evolve and grow. We’re taking time to really listen to our guests, rework some of our operations, and plan for some big announcements early this summer to kick off our 20th anniversary,” he said.

Fieri continues to own several other restaurants including Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar in New York and Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar. 

The remaining Johnny Garlic’s restaurants are located on Farmer’s Lane in Santa Rosa and in Windsor, along with locations in Roseville, Dublin, San Jose, Bakersfield and Brentwood. A Tex Wasabi’s in Sacramento closed in 2013, leaving Santa Rosa as the sole location. The local location has seen its share of ups and downs, with a 19-month closure in 2009 and another recent closure “for repairs” in December 2015.

Fieri and Gruber opened the first Johnny Garlic’s in 1996, and Fieri’s outlandish dishes and in-your-face style helped propel him to superstardom on Food Network’s “Next Food Network Star” competition in 2006.

Stay tuned for more details as the story develops.


49 thoughts on “Fieri Walks Away From The California Restaurants That Made Him

  1. Wow spam and everything on here. Well I have been to guys birthday party’s in Bennett valley, Guy has a lot of love, he gives to the community hell he spent a half hour outside at his party setting up a charity event for a school. He showed up during the fires and fed people. I don’t know about his harsh personality, but anyone with that much love and giving will always be a winner in my world.

  2. Wow spam and everything on here. Well I have been to guys birthday party’s in Bennett valley, Guy has a lot of love, he gives to the community hell he spent a half hour outside at his party setting up a charity event for a school. He showed up during the fires and fed people. I don’t know about his harsh personality, but anyone with that much love and giving will always be a winner in my world.

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  4. Ate at Johnny Garlics in Petaluma years ago,was not impressed and never went back to any of his restaurants…Also His Real Last Name is FERRY…He is not Italian as the New Spelling of his last name may indicate….Very Misleading last name …

    1. He grew up with the name Ferry but when he married,he changed it back to the original spelling.His Grandpa had that name and it was changed when they arrived in the US from Italy.I suggest Don look up Guy’s bio.You didn’t bother to look it up.

      Guy Fieri was born in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Penelope Anne (Price) and Lewis James Ferry. He grew up in Ferndale, in rural Humboldt County, California. During high school, he was a foreign exchange student to France, where he developed his interest in food and cooking.His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent; Fieri changed his surname, Ferry, back to his family’s original surname, Fieri, when he got married in 1995, in order to honor his immigrant great-grandfather, Giuseppe Fieri.

      Guy has often said his Mother and her id twin sister were from Charlotte,NC.

  5. So many jealous, hateful people.

    Is your life so miserable that jealousy and hatred is your only passion?
    Look at what you’ve become.

    All the best to Guy, although I don’t know him and have never visited his restaurants, I have no reason to dislike him.

    1. Amen! I love Guy and none of us know the reason behind his decision. Like all Americans he also has the freedom and the right to make a decision that is best for him, his family and his brand. All the best Guy!

    2. Well, I don’t hate him either and I wish all the best as well. I have however met him a bunch of times and most of my encounters were not pleasant, he is an enjoying drunk that continuously attempted to scam his way into the pits at the Sonoma Raceway that I worked security at.

  6. I never understood all the hatred people express for Guy just because they don’t like his restaurants. You don’t like the food, don’t eat there.
    I’ve met Steve Gruber and he doesn’t deserve any of your well wishes; but Guy sure does!

  7. I have been going to Johnny Garlic’s since they opened. The staff there were always great with my kids. Steve and Guy should be extremely proud of what they created. Count me as one who has a lot of respect for both partners.

  8. Biteclub, April 6, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    “Please keep your comments civil. And use spell check before you call people idiots. Just sayin.”

    So much for that. The elitists around here have shown their true, self-centered, boorish character.

    1. I don’t think it’s the elitists. It’s the idiot patrol. Trust me, I’ve deleted about 30 comments that basically say “You’re a poopy head, Mr. Poopy Pants.” So juvenile. Let’s at least use our Big Boy words, people.

  9. I don’t understand why so many readers of this blog are so mean and nasty to everyone. I am a local and although I don’t care for Guy’s genre of food, I totally appreciate that he shared his success with his hometown. He has been generous with donations to local causes and has only great things to say about our county. I wish him the best with his future endeavors (except that wine event monstrosity he was trying to build.)

    1. Most readers of this blog are civil and (though sometimes testy), generally intelligent and well-behaved. Sometimes when my stories get promoted elsewhere, we get readers from elsewhere who aren’t as familiar with our customs of civility and not calling people D-bags. (I mean, unless they really deserve it). 🙂

    2. To Guy I say
      Good luck in your future endeavors. He probably wants to try new things and make more money.
      Nothing wrong with wanting to move on, I would too if I had the opportunity.
      I smell jealousy at play in many of these comments.
      Don’t like his food, don’t eat it, so simple.

  10. From someone who knows the Fieri back-story as well as future, it’s the perfect PR time for him to leave. What he displays versus what he delivers are two different lives. Too bad as initial intentions were excellent. On to the next.,,

  11. So long Guy, don’t let the door hit you in the arse on the way out and take Rachel Ray with you!

  12. They always say the time has come, time has come today.. Guy Fieri has done it big always, inside Guerneville arson comes a new restaurant designated for lassoed hot sauce. It just is the way it is done, cue the dolphin…

  13. I don’t understand the hate for Guy. He is nice and he gives back to the community in so many ways. All of us have a bad day now and then he can’t be spot on all the time.

  14. Haters gonna hate. Guy has been very kind and generous to the people of Lake County. Celebrity chefs do tend to be a bit eccentric, in case no one has noticed. He has a following of fans who think he is pretty great. He hasn’t done anything in my eyes that deserves the backlash. Good luck Guy!

  15. I’m glad to see Guy go his own way. Hopefully Steve can do good things with the menu and bring some needed changes. The food was always…marginal, to be nice about it. I have friends who work there and I hope things work out well for them. I’ll give it a try as Steve makes changes.

    I won’t miss Guy.

  16. Guy is a generous and charitable man! After the Valley Fire took 1300 homes from our community, Guy gave truckloads of donations to fire victims…Like his restaurants and business practices or not, the man loves has made a difference in people’s lives in a way none of you could touch!!

  17. Ah…why do I here Eric Clapton singing “Cocaine” every time I see Guy? (And yes- I know JJ Cale wrote it).

  18. Won’t miss him or his restaurants. Food Network ought to drop him but he apparently appeals to the middle America, idiots who follow sleazy shows and buy the crap he is pushing.

  19. I ate at Johnny Garlics a few times. Meh. Nothing so great that I had to get back there for another meal. I ate at Tex Wasabis a few times and was under impressed. Service was poor and the sushi sucked and I have never been back.
    A former co worker of mine used to work for Guy in the early days of Tex Wasabi’s. Said he was a somewhat mean spirited ass wipe that did not treat employees well. Good bye Guy. Please stay away and don’t come back.

  20. I love johnny garlic’s macaroni anxd cheese burger! And that mint chocolate cake that i got free on my birthday! I wish them all the best and I really hope it all works out!

  21. Guy had a very fresh take on food, Sonoma County wine, and being entertaining enough to win the Food Network Best Chef. I could count on a good meal at a reasonable price in any of his locations. Guy also donated time and money to Sonoma County Schools. Thanks Guido for your efforts to help grow this counties reputation as the food Mecca it has become.

  22. why so many haters? I love Guy Fieri and his restaurants. I wish Steve well with his solo endeavor, and for Guy, good luck with your next moves!

    1. Maybe because his food was utter garbage and his persona that of a monstrous douchebag??? Just a thought.

  23. Guy and his awful food -GO AWAY. One of the most overhyped Chef of all time. food sucks, he sucks. good riddens idiot

  24. Guy has had far more success than he has talent. When the food network finally realizes that his persona and look are 2002 he will get the much anticipated boot. Having no other real skills I sincerely hope he has invested well.

  25. Awful places. I actually threw out a take out meal from Johnny Garlics about a year ago and will never go there again. It was horrible.
    Also, gave up on Tex Wasabi’s a long time ago. While it’s been a few years, got tired of high prices, mediocre food, and weak service.
    Good luck to the new folks. Hope they do well.

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