On ‘reality TV’ tonight: ‘Mystery Diners’ at Zippy’s Giant Burgers

Thanks to Lance for the tip – he noticed that Zippy’s Giant Burgers is on the “reality TV” schedule tonight. It’s an episode of the Food Network show “Mystery Diners,” listed as airing at 10:30 pm. Episode synopsis: “Blaine, the owner of Zippy’s Giant Burgers in Seattle, contacts Charles to investigate rumors that his new mascot is misbehaving. Mystery Diners Nadine and John go undercover to discover exactly who is behind the mascot costume.” (Who indeed? We’ll find out tonight.)

49 Replies to "On 'reality TV' tonight: 'Mystery Diners' at Zippy's Giant Burgers "

  • Joe Szilagyi March 3, 2014 (3:20 pm)

    Now I want to eat a Great Dane Burger (Blue cheese, garlicky mayo, lettuce, tomato, and red onion), doing my diet no favors. Damn it.
    If you love burgers and haven’t been there yet you are a poor burger lover. I was a Red Mill loyalist.

  • onceachef March 3, 2014 (5:01 pm)

    I didn’t even know he had a mascot!
    I agree with Joe…I too like Red Mill but Zippy’s got ’em beat. The only comparable (in flavor) is at Jaks but it’s twice as much (unless you get it at happy hour)…don’t make it hard on me…stay away from happy hour at Jaks! :)

  • justducky March 3, 2014 (5:05 pm)

    Just checked the schedule, if you have Comcast, you can catch the 7:30pm airing on Food Network HD (HD is an East Coast feed).

  • vincent March 3, 2014 (6:52 pm)

    Redmill does awesome condiments and buns, but their beef patty’s are frankly garbage. You can tell they are pre-frozen because of how uniform they are. I heard a terrible rumor about the bacon I don’t want to believe, since I still eat the chicken club all the time.

    Zippys uses their own recipe of ground chuck, which is what makes them so out of the park good. Zippys is always a beefy lumpy delicious visit.

  • Dan V. March 3, 2014 (7:57 pm)

    Just watched the episode. It’s obviously so rehearsed and staged it’s embarrassing. I’m shocked Food Network would allow it to be aired, and I don’t understand why a successful business such as Zippys would agree to play along.

    Pathetic example of “reality TV”

  • Kaya March 3, 2014 (8:00 pm)

    This is hilarious subversive performance art meets publicity stunt. Zippy’s just totally punked the Food Network. Well played!

    Now if Zippy’s needs mascot duty, my schedule is flexible.

  • Andi March 3, 2014 (8:09 pm)

    I agree with Kaya– Zippy’s was the one that made this up. Food Network just ran with it. This show is reality in the loosest sense of the word.

  • Kristal Jolly March 3, 2014 (8:11 pm)

    That was one of the worst episodes I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe Food TV put that on. I’ve never been to Zippys and not sure I would after that farce.

  • SoBakedAndSoEmbarrassed March 3, 2014 (8:28 pm)

    If you have not yet decided to waste 30 min of your life today, then you may do so by watching this show. The owner should be so embarrassed and ashamed of himself that he allowed this to happen. For this horrible choice he should be walked all the way down 35th and pelted with Zippy burgers by the people in West Seattle with some sort of character and descent set of morals, as he matches all the way over the bridge and send him packing to Beacon Hill. Here he will sit every day and remember what he once had, as Dopey Dan takes over Zippy’s and dances in the streets of the West!

  • Tom T March 3, 2014 (8:48 pm)

    My wife, kids and I happened to be getting lunch a Zippys when this was being filmed. I was interesting to see the whole hidden camera thing go down. It was pretty clear that the story line was goofy and no one was getting busted for stealing etc. We signed releases when we left and it will be fun to see if we made the cut. Hard hitting local news like this keeps me checking the WSB!

    • WSB March 3, 2014 (9:00 pm)

      Tom, we have lots of hard-hitting local news. But it has to be leavened with the occasional, oh, say, reality-TV show listing, lest things get too heavy (crime, development, traffic, etc.). To the outrage … I haven’t seen the show, am not likely to see the show, and had never heard of “Mystery Diners” until helpful reader Lance pointed out the listing a couple days ago. I didn’t even want to mention it unless we had confirmed it was at least new – was very hard to figure that out from the Food Network website – so co-publisher Patrick went over to Zippy’s to ask about it earlier today, and proprietor Blaine said he had lost track of when it was supposed to air, so this was even news to him. I put “reality TV” in quotes because as I understand it, there’s not much reality to it in any program … including the only show I’ve actually seen, the one called something like “Cat From Hell,” where this dude with crazy glasses and a braided beard totally harasses some hapless person’s allegedly psycho cat. Anybody around here ever gets on THAT one, PLEASE let us know, I’d pay money to find out how they get those cats to act like that … Tracy

  • XXX March 3, 2014 (8:58 pm)

    Awful television show. Not sure why Zippy’s would want to be associated with this. Good burgers, bad business decision.

  • Old Man Withers March 3, 2014 (9:01 pm)

    Yum, yum, yum. There’s no way such a professional costume was created just to pull a fast one on mystery diners. Dopey Dan would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for that pesky Charles Stiles.

  • Tracy sounds crazy March 3, 2014 (9:06 pm)


    What did any of that rambling have to do with anything that had to do with this show?

  • XXX March 3, 2014 (9:13 pm)

    As for Jackson Galaxy, the dude’s legit. Saw him at the Seattle Humane Society last summer. Might want to check your facts there Tracy, before making wild assumptions like that one… I take it you’ve never had many interactions with multiple cats…

  • Kaya March 3, 2014 (9:14 pm)

    This will endure as a delicious West Side inside joke.

  • Hp March 3, 2014 (9:18 pm)

    We had just eaten there tonight! It was great. The show was a little painful to watch but a little funny. yum, yum, yum. Hire Dopey Dan!

  • Babayaga March 3, 2014 (9:26 pm)

    Jackson Galaxy, host of “My Cat From Hell” was at the Seattle Humane Society a few months ago to help promote shelter adoptions and educate veteran and newbie/potential cat owners about cat behavior and needs. The show’s production crew and budget was very limited in the beginning but with renewed seasons, he’s now able to take his show outside of the L.A. area, and he’s able to promote adoption, proper cat care, and help shelters around the country.

    Not sure how Mystery Diners and My Cat From Hell can be compared here. Of course all “reality” shows are scripted – but as crew will attest, at least the crew from My Cat From Hell and its host do work outside of the show to help community.

    • WSB March 3, 2014 (9:40 pm)

      Sorry to offend “Cat From Hell” fans. Yes, I have had interactions with multiple cats, FWIW, have shared my home with up to 4 at a time. Two, more recently, until Sweetie the tortie died last summer. Apologies, Jackson sounds like a great guy, and what a great name – TR

  • Joe Szilagyi March 3, 2014 (10:25 pm)

    Hahaha, that was awesome. My first thought was, “What am I watching?”, followed by “What the hell is that mascot? It’s making me uncomfortable,” followed by my wife and I staring at each other in uncomfortable confusion when he started on the “Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum mmhmm” dance move he kept doing. Then I still wanted a Great Dane Burger.
    This show was a perfect 22 minute absurdist commercial. When the investigator pulled out the parabolic microphone–which apparently works through the windshield of a car (!) while loudly chewing on “three hamburgers” (who orders like that!)–we lost it and couldn’t stop laughing.

  • Joe March 3, 2014 (10:41 pm)

    Blaine and Rahel are the best, they have great food and Zippy’s a such a nice change from most of these new, overpriced, pretentious Seattle restaurants. Hope they get tons of business from the show!

  • R0b0 March 3, 2014 (10:55 pm)

    Brilliant! Congrats to Zippy’s and Blaine and whoever dreamed up this charade! It’s punk rock John Waters Rat City theater on national tv. So awesome!

  • robmatthews0 March 3, 2014 (11:05 pm)

    I just watched the show 5 mins ago hahah I’m still confused about what I just watched hahaha

  • Joey JoJo March 3, 2014 (11:06 pm)

    So unbelievably fake. Mystery diners is a joke. Please do not support this garbage or the restaurant’s they “investigate”.

  • sb March 3, 2014 (11:08 pm)

    My wife works with Aaron….and that’s not at Zippy’s. This appears to be totally staged…we didn’t even know that Zippy’s had a mascot…wife will have questions to ask Aaron tomorrow :-)

    Way to go Zippy’s, great publicity…now I’ll never get in there on Saturdays! Grrr.

  • Charlie March 3, 2014 (11:19 pm)

    I thought I was watching an old Carol Burnett skit because during the big showdown in Command Central, everyone looked like they were going to burst out laughing at any moment! Maybe that part was edited out. LOL

  • DZ March 3, 2014 (11:26 pm)


    You want to line the owner of Zippy’s pockets with cash by purchasing his burgers for ammo in your shame parade? The man seems to have a sense of humor; he might agree to that daily.

    I think you are just mad that you and your roommates were not cast instead of “Dopey Dan.” From your name it sounds likely you auditioned for the part.

    It is just a prank!

  • sc March 3, 2014 (11:39 pm)

    Not sure who to be more disappointed in, Zippys or the Food Network. I always supported Zippys as a they are a local business with great burgers, but this publicity stunt makes me reevaluate my loyalty. What a shame.

  • R0b0 March 4, 2014 (12:12 am)

    Guess you haven’t been to Zippy’s in a while sb. They’ve expanded and have done tons of great work with new murals and window paintings and a bar(!) in the works. Hope they stocked up for tomorrow because business will be good – their website was overloaded immediately. Undeniably the best burgers around. All you poopy head nay sayers are welcome to stay home and miss out on the best burgers and fun times at Zippy’s. I’ll be finishing a great local beer and getting the high score on Ms Pac Man just in time for the sound of R0b0! when my order is ready. YUM YUM YUM YUM…

  • koni March 4, 2014 (5:56 am)

    Jackson Galaxy is a great guy…he really trains people on his show..not cats. Most of the cats are just responding to stupid owners ;) It is the only reality show we like… just because he seems to be doing some good, staged or not.

  • JoB March 4, 2014 (7:33 am)

    i guess it’s been a while since i ate at zippys ;->

  • Chris W March 4, 2014 (8:06 am)

    I love this entire comment thread. Will watch the show tonight on DVR.

  • miws March 4, 2014 (9:10 am)

    I’m another one that didn’t realize Zippy’s had a “mascot”, and I visit there probably about every 4-6 weeks.


    This was also my first time watching Mystery Diners, as I don’t particularly care for “reality” shows, save for a couple of them; Undercover Boss and Wife Swap. Even though they may be contrived, much as I believe other “reality” shows are, at least someone seems to benefit.


    Admittedly, there were parts I was taken a bit aback by, and I may have had a bit of a fleeting thought of “Why is Blaine stooping to this level?”, but then I remembered that while Zippy’s is heavily Retro, it is also Hip, and I think Blaine’s personality as a Rock-n-Roll Musician helps to fuel that Vibe.


    Now, admittedly, I really didn’t catch how contrived this apparently was, maybe partly because it was my first time (and likely last, save for a re-broadcast of this episode, or an episode featuring another local joint) watching, I am not familiar with how the show is generally presented, and don’t know the host/recurring “cast”.


    So, no harm, no foul. I’ll still make my regular visits to Zippy’s, and get a chuckle each time, while remembering back to watching this!



  • sam-c March 4, 2014 (9:57 am)

    lol. this thread is so funny. I kinda wish I had cable to see what all the fuss is about. and people saying they won’t go back because of the episode ? really? I take it back, this thread isn’t funny, just plain weird. and crazy cats too.

  • East Coast Cynic March 4, 2014 (10:06 am)

    Come to think of it, I too dread the possibility of longer lines for Zippy’s scrumptious, if not all that healthy, burgers after this bit of performance art:(.

  • Vanilla Gorilla March 4, 2014 (10:46 am)

    yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum
    yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum

  • Joe Szilagyi March 4, 2014 (11:31 am)

    I love it. People are going nuts on Yelp giving Zippy’s terrible reviews that have never been there because of the “Abuse” toward “Aaron” by Blaine for not letting “Dopey Dan” cover for him while drunk as the mascot. It was practically a Portlandia sketch!

  • Jordan March 4, 2014 (1:00 pm)

    Had a Lil’ Zip with bacon and cheese for dinner last night. Amazing burgers.

    Didn’t see the show and probably won’t. All “reality TV” is so scripted as to be silly. Most are little more than game shows that try to pretend they are some how real.

    On the flip side, if it gains some more customers for Zippy’s so much the better. Just don’t go on Monday nights just before 6. That’s my time with my Lil’ Zip!

  • Kravitz March 4, 2014 (4:12 pm)

    That was one of the most terrifying mascot costumes I’ve ever seen in my life; it’s right up there with murderous clowns! I was actually embarrassed as I watched the show last night because it was creepy and just plain bizarre. I liked Zippy’s before, but now I might just revert to a good ol’ reliable Dick’s Cheeseburger from here on out. Their painted bovine mascot is not nearly as horrifying. :)

  • Sparkybo March 5, 2014 (3:08 am)

    I also like Redmill burgers, but agree, most likely due to condiments and veggies. Chicken is just as good with condiments and veggies. But if you want a really, really great burger… I highly recommend U Need a Burger in Fremont! The meat alone is high quality and great flavor. Plus great condiments and veggies to add. On the expensive side for burger, but inexpensive for steak quality meat! Plus beer on tap :)

  • Agent Cooper March 5, 2014 (3:09 pm)

    I’m pretty astonished that people have taken this appearance on a “reality” show so seriously. When did people stop having fun? Zippy’s sells burgers ya know….the best I’ve ever had (and a lot will agree)..it’s not some pretentious high end over-priced, rip you off restaurant!!!!! And, it is a family and (most of all) a KID FRIENDLY place. It’s fun, it’s light hearted and if you are a regular at Zippy’s you know it wasn’t “real”.

    My family and especially my kids LOVE Zippy’s….their staff and owners. As a matter of fact our 7 year old has watched the episode of mystery diners repeatedly since it aired! She “gets it” and loves seeing one of her favorite places on TV.

    I suggest some need to quit being so “adult”….and see the levity here.

  • Scoot March 5, 2014 (6:36 pm)

    That Zippy mask was right out of H.R. Pufnstuf….

  • dapuffin March 5, 2014 (8:26 pm)

    Loved the “parabolic listening device!”

  • suze March 6, 2014 (6:56 pm)

    They suck! What a fake

  • Dee March 7, 2014 (11:14 am)

    Am I the only one that had nightmares about Zippy coming after me doing his little yum yum chant with a butcher knife? That costume is CREEPY

  • Bill March 8, 2014 (12:59 pm)

    We were cracking up knowing it was a total set up! I have to say the Zippy burger isn’t quite what it use to be and I don’t know why…Maybe it’s because I’ve just cut back on my beef intake. The chicken Zippy is ALWAYS excellent as is the bean burger!

  • goodyfoody March 21, 2014 (5:34 pm)

    Zippy’s is a great family burger place it’s a comfortable place to have some amazing and unique burgers… and if you know anybody there you know that they’re all big goofball which makes a place even lovable.

  • Chef Dex March 23, 2014 (1:28 pm)

    Image is everything……before taste! I Just happened to stumble upon this show today. First thing I noticed was that I’ve been here in Seattle since 1979 and I’ve never heard of a Zippy mascot! Well I decided to Goggle an image of one and guess what……………….there is no Zippy physical mascot.

    I don’t plan on going to a place that would put up a front….what next? Fake food!

  • Ace March 23, 2014 (1:31 pm)

    Wow, complete fake show. Who would have such an awful mascot. The whole thing is unwatchable, Food Network should bring back Paula Deen, so they don’t have to fill time with such tasteless, ridiculous and made-up shows. I would never eat at this guys place. BORING

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