An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Jul 30, 2013
06:25 PMThe Connecticut Table
'Best Daym Takeout' With Connecticut's Daym Debuts on Travel Channel Tonight
"Best Daym Takeout" host Daymon Patterson with deep dish pizza takeout from Pequod's Pizza in Chicago, Illinois
You’ve never experienced a food review the way you will when a larger-than-life “fam” man from the post-industrial belly of Connecticut, all 6 feet, 5 inches of Daymon “Daym” Patterson, “slides to the spot” this summer on the Travel Channel—where his own branded show will give viewers the “super official” word on the “Best Daym Takeout” in Chicago, New Orleans and other iconic food cities when it debuts July 31.
With more than 12.1 million views and counting, this YouTube sensation has become a digital age entrepreneur by focusing his palate on an everyman’s menu of items—the staples of Dunkin’ Donuts, Sonic, McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Taco Bell—breaking them down in his irrepressible style in addictive dash-cam videos shot mise-en-scene in parking lots everywhere. He makes his inimitable pronouncements from behind the steering wheel.
In the new original series, “Best Daym Takeout,” the Travel Channel says, “Daym continues to give fans his distinctive reviews and off-the-wall commentary while traveling the country in search of the best carryout in each town he visits. From big-city eats to small-town shops, his blend of comically poetic descriptions will have viewers craving delicious takeout all over America.” In addition to the cities featured in the premiere back-to-back episodes, airing at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Eastern, his other stops this summer include Atlanta, Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco.
“This is my new life. And I still haven’t changed a thing,” Patterson said by phone, breaking down the basics this way: Born and raised in Stratford, Conn., and now living in New Britain, the married father of two daughters was livin’ the blue collar life, working as a manager for such chains as Home Depot and Lowe’s. He created a YouTube channel called Ghetto News Network, acting as his own reporter, and, according to his press, creating low budget commercials for products that caught his attention.
When he jumped to Walmart, a simple shift in his lunch break was the catalyst that opened the door to his breakthrough. At the nationwide chain maligned for the dismal state of its wages, Patterson found freedom when his break was supersized to an hour from the 30 minutes he had been given by previous employers. With more time to spend on his midday meal, he turned his YouTube lens to food and his early efforts included parsing the merits of Burger King’s French toast sticks. That video got 134 views, Patterson recalled, saying, “That was a lot to me.”
“His first commercial about a food product garnered more views in one week than all his other videos received for the entire month,” his Travel Channel press says. “With this new information in hand, Patterson changed his reviews to be solely based on food – with an injection of his larger-than-life personality, and began his career of delivering hilarious and insightful commentary from the driver’s seat of his car.”
Then the feedback from his “fam” started to grow—it’s well-nourished by the 9,600 followers on @DaymDrops on Twitter, the 21,000 likes on his Facebook page and his 138,000 YouTube subscribers—and the notoriety built. Patterson introduces each of his videos with his trademark “listen now,” and the world increasingly began doing just that, including late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon. Patterson’s special guest appearances on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” have had him reviewing the Whitman’s Chocolate Sampler for Valentine’s Day 2013 and the return of McDonald’s McRib in 2012.
As the buzz continued to build about “Daym Drops Super Official Food Reviews” on YouTube, Patterson was working as a buyer at a CarMax in Connecticut and liking the job. But then a Five Guys Burgers and Fries review last year went viral—now with nearly 4 million views—and Patterson’s ticket to Internet entrepreneurship was punched, with advertisers eagerly signing on to his videos and then the Travel Channel on the line with an offer he couldn’t pass up.
“This is now my full-time job,” Patterson said with due pride, and at the end of this month, all of America will get to see why an iconoclastic food critic went from being a low-budget YouTube startup to a national brand on nothing but determination, his palate and a style that seems so simple on the surface but in reality is studied and sophisticated, however folksy it remains.
It’s unique enough that the Travel Channel posted a video in which Patterson explains his “Daymisms” to the viewing public. For example, Patterson addresses his viewers collectively as “B.” Whatever the strict derivation of that abbreviated greeting might be, Patterson has adapted it as the equivalent of a group hug. When he says it inclusively, it simply translates as friend.
Slide to the spot, meanwhile, means heading to the place to be reviewed. When Patterson announces that he’s going to “beat this up,” he’s telling the audience that the biting and assessing process is about to commence, meaning that he’s going to “let the flavors absorb all in the mouth … work around on the palate.” That can result in pronouncements on his YouTube videos that the food, and even the packaging, is “sexy.” By contrast, he’ll deliver straight-up negative judgments after a “nothing to see here” flash-up bar obscures him giving the bite he took back to the packaging.
As for the “super official” part of the reviews, no explanation is needed, right? As Patterson says, putting super in front of most things makes them, well, powerful, authoritative—like putting super in front of man to get Superman.
So get ready Chicago and New Orleans.
“The premiere half-hour episode follows Patterson as he samples some of the best takeaway Chicago has to offer,” the Travel Channel says. “From the deep dish at Pequod’s Pizza in Lincoln Park, the hot dog at Superdawg in Norwood Park to the Italian roast beef sandwich at Mr. Beef in River North, Patterson delivers his patented blend of hilarious and poetic critiques to describe each mouthful of Chi-Town cuisine. In the second half-hour episode, he heads south for that authentic New Orleans taste with some crispy fried chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House in Treme, blazing hot crawfish at Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter, and a belly-full of po-boys at the Freret St. Po-boys & Donuts in Uptown. Patterson soon discovers it’s not that easy in ‘The Big Easy’ to crown one of these local hot spots the winner.”
From there it’s on to Atlanta, Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco.
What about Patterson’s home state, Connecticut? The focus right now is on this summer’s limited season, and Patterson says, “Let’s just see if the people … gravitate toward it.” If it’s a hit, more episodes are sure to follow. If it somehow doesn’t get extended, Patterson sees only upside. “It’s taken me around the country,” he says of taping the show, adding, “Either way, I’m still going to be doing this.”
That “this” also includes Askdaym.com, his relationship advice blog, and Daymtastic.com, which features his travels, full reviews of dishes, and his thoughts on restaurants, which he updates when taking a break from his YouTube channel. And despite his culinary Hip Hop style, the proud father keeps it clean so adults and younger audiences alike can feel comfortable.
For more on “Best Daym Takeout,” head to the Travel Channel’s website—but the answer to the $64,000 question for Connecticut residents is only found here: Will Patterson name a favorite Connecticut spot?
His pick is Plan B Burger Bar—the one in West Hartford—and he rhapsodizes over “that massive handcrafted burger,” saying, “It blew my mind.” So let’s get this straight; the everyman of food reviewers, whose YouTube diet is a steady stream of fast food, prefers a gourmet all-natural burger at a place with a nice Zagat rating and a devoted following among the cloth napkin crowd?
That’s right, but Patterson makes sure to keep it real, going on to highlight the very sexy Plan B “FunniBone,” which is described on the dessert menu as “a double chocolate cake filled with peanut butter mousse, covered in chocolate ganache.”
“I fell apart,” Patterson says in reference to enjoying the FunniBone, which is a good thing. Can you dig it? We certainly can, B. Word.
The host of "Best Daym Takeout," Daymon Patterson in a Travel Channel photo.
'Best Daym Takeout' With Connecticut's Daym Debuts on Travel Channel Tonight