John Catucci has a tasty gig. Lots of travel and free food–it’s almost like being a TV critic!
Catucci is back for a second season as the host of You Gotta Eat Here! New episodes of the Lone Eagle Entertainment series air Friday nights at 9 p.m. ET on Food Network Canada. (It can also be seen Mondays at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.).
The series is like a Canadian version of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in that the host visits favourite neighbourhood joints known more for their artery-choking burgers, ribs or sausages than any kind of healthy, good-for-you fare.
The only difference, as Catucci himself admits, is that instead of a chef like Guy Fieri hosting the deal, You Gotta Eat Here! is hosted by a stand-up comedian.
Catucci did work in his uncle’s restaurant as a youth, but he’s no chef. He does like food, however, and will chow down on pulled pork smothered in blueberry sauce or any other concoction placed in front of him.
He grew up in Toronto, and, goofing on his Italian heritage, was part of a comedy singing duo known as the Doo Wops.
The York U grad also has some Second City touring company mileage under his belt.
The amount of traveling he does for this show, however, is at a whole other level. Catucci goes from P.E.I. to Whitehorse this season alone. This coming Friday he visits the Black Forest Inn in Hamilton, Ont., to sample some of their massive Bavarian schnitzels and then it’s off to Kamloops, B.C. for a Mexican feast at Fiesta Mexicana Restaurante & Cantina. The treat there: a chocolate enchilada. “Before this show, I knew Ottawa and Montreal from doing the comedy scene,” he says, “but discovering places like Charlottetown and The Yukon has been a huge treat.”
In Whitehorse Catucci visited a place called Antoinette which specializes in Caribbean food. What he discovered there was that “people come from all over the world to see the Northern Lights and just check out this beautiful country.”
I’ve had the good fortune to visit the far corners of Canada in chasing TV stories, especially the past four or five years. In Yellowknife there is a legendary log cabin diner called Bullock’s Bistro that would be perfect to feature on future seasons of Catucci’s show. The locals are a little eccentric and so is the menu. You haven’t tasted Arctic Char until you’ve had it at Bullock’s.
Most Canadians can point to a favourite eating spot in their neighbourhood. If you grew up in central Etobicoke, like I did, you’ll always have time for an Apache burger. The Anchor Bar is the place for wings in Buffalo, and Heid’s of Liverpool, N.Y., have made the lowly hot dog a work of art.
Eating all this stuff all the time will kill you, however. Catucci says he simply cannot finish all the greasy goodies placed in front of him or he’d be starring in You Gotta Die Here! Fortunately, he finds the crew will help him out by constantly asking, “You gonna finish that?”

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