HERNANDO BEACH - R Beach owner Fred Javidi isn't interested in sport coats and ties or fancy flowers garnishing the plates that come out of his restaurant's kitchen.
"It doesn't make the food taste better," Javidi said. "Anybody can have good food, very seldom do you find great food with super pricing."
Javidi and his staff must be doing something right, because last month, celebrity chef and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse decided to pay R Beach a visit.
On Sept. 10, Lagasse and crew spent the morning filming for the show "Emeril's Florida," and tasted six dishes off of R Beach's menu: the seafood bisque, herb and lemon butter mussels, New Bedford, Mass., sea scallops, blackened grouper with mango salsa, the black angus steak with onion straws and Mediterranean greco pasta with shrimp.
Lagasse visiting R Beach was exciting enough, Javidi said, but then the chef asked for recipes to add to the show's website, and sent out a photo with his "new friends" at R Beach to his hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.
"It was an honor to meet him," Javidi said. "You can't get any better than that."
Javidi said he had a hard time keeping the taping a secret, but knew that if word got out, he'd have hundreds, if not thousands, of people lined up to get a glimpse of the star, who owns 12 restaurants across the country.
According to Javidi, many restaurants featured on Lagasse's show are well-established eateries on sandy beach-front real estate or in more metropolitan areas. He hopes Lagasse visiting Hernando Beach will help promote the small town on the Gulf, and bring in out-of-county visitors, not only to his restaurant but other local businesses.
Javidi expects the show will air in December or January. Until then, R Beach patrons can see a slideshow of photos from Emeril's visit, which are displayed on a screen in the indoor tiki bar, or hear the story from Javidi himself.
"We're here to make friends," Javidi said.
More information on R Beach, including the menu and event calendar, is available at http://www.rbeachrestaurant .com/.