'Man v. Food' TV show films at Dog Central
With a set of lights, camera equipment and crowds of people — a popular Mount Pleasant restaurant had an unique Thursday.
Dog Central, 111 E. Michigan St., was chosen to be featured on the Travel Channel’s TV show, “Man v. Food.”
The show has been airing since 2008 and travels around the U.S. to different businesses, showcasing their food and competing in a challenge for each restaurant.
Filming took place during two different time slots: noon-1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. The earlier filming of the day consisted of environmental shots of the business, employee interviews and footage of the food being made.
During the earlier filming, “Man v. Food” host Casey Webb walked around to different tables talking with customers about the food and interviewing them.
The second portion of filming included close-up shots of the food for the Dog Central eating challenge, which Webb would later compete in.
The eating challenge consists of three foot long hot dogs, an order of fries, a stack of onion rings and a 20 ounce drink. Contestants must finish the food in 25 minutes or less, if they do — the meal is free, they win a t-shirt and receive $10.
If the challenger loses, they must pay the $25 bill.
Paul McFall, owner of Dog Central and a Central Michigan University alumnus, said the opportunity came in August when the Travel Channel contacted him. The channel said they were casting the next season of “Man v. Food” and asked if he would be interested.
“We were thrilled to have the Dog Central challenge featured on 'Man v. Food' and showcase our Michigan made hot dog and everything that we can do that is close to home,” he said.
Travel Channel found the Dog Central website and was interested in the challenge they had, McFall said. The program also liked that it was located in a college town.
McFall's sister, Jenny McFall of Grand Rapids, also attended. Discussing the origin of Dog Central, she said Paul McFall decided to open the restaurant in 2012 because there were no late night food options beside fast food.
Breckenridge junior Reed Schmitz and Harper Woods junior Emily Crombez learned of the filming on Facebook and quickly jumped to call and reserve a spot.
They weren’t sure what to expect.
“(Dog Central asked us) our names, how many people and my phone number,” Schmitz said. “I didn’t hear a word from them after that, but I saw on their facebook a couple weeks later (that) they wanted us here early.”
Schmitz and Crombez said they showed up, ordered their food and sat down with “no idea” what was going to happen with the filming.
Being a Broadcast and Cinematic Arts major, Schmitz said he was interested in attending to be able to experience what the filming was like.
Paul McFall said the opportunity presented great exposure for Dog Central not just in the state, but around the U.S.
“My family and my parents have always gone around when we traveled and sought out places that were on 'Man v. Food,'" he said. "Hopefully there’s other people out there that will do the same thing and that will lead them to us.”