WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Somers 202 is the latest Westchester restaurant to appear on the Food Network reality show "Restaurant Stakeout."
Following Division Street Grill in Peekskill, the restaurant was featured on the show in December. In the episode "Somers Almost Over," host Willie Degel helps owners Joe Mazzella and Gene Angelo save the restaurant, located in Somers but with a Yorktown Heights mailing address, from possible closure.
According to Mazzella, he met with producers and then had his place scrutinized before he was selected to appear on the show.
While filming the show, producers looked for any drama from the staff like stealing or drinking on the job, but didn't find anything, Mazzella said. To create drama, actors were brought in to present the staff with scenarios and see how they would react.
"We had never been in the restaurant business," Mazzella said. "It showed us many things that enhanced out business. It was a good learning experience."
Mazzella said it was important that Somers was represented on the show and he had a party for people in town to watch.
Since his show aired, Mazzella has received calls from friends throughout the country.
"They keep asking me, 'Why are you on TV?' " Mazzella said.
What was seen on TV was pretty straightforward, Mazzella said, though the restaurant is in no danger of closing down despite a decrease in business. He was excited for Somers 202 to appear on TV.
"We got an hour on the Food Network," Mazzella said. "That's worth $500,000 in advertising."
Mazzella also made sure he knew what he was getting himself into.
"I watched every episode two to three times," Mazzella said. "I looked at all the ways they make you look bad. I didn't want my staff to look bad."
Mazzella said he appreciated the constructive criticism from Degel, including making better use of the bar.
"He was a total gentleman," Mazzella said. "He looks brash, but everything he said was right."
Degel has even remained in touch with the restaurant since the show.
"He's really sincere," Mazzella said. "He has a passion for the business. I've called him and asked questions and he's always called me back."