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Norwalk's Valencia Luncheria is one of Guy Fieri's favorites, according to 'Mashed' list

May 04, 2023

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A Carlo arepa with chicken, avocado, queso and fennel at Valencia Luncheria in Norwalk.

Food Network celebrity chef Guy Fieri has been all over the country with his show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," and a Norwalk eatery is the best he's visited in Connecticut, according to a recent list.

The website Mashed rounded up "the tastiest and most funkalicious" food destinations featured on the show by state, naming Valencia Luncheria as the Nutmeg State's best. The casual Venezuelan restaurant, which specializes in arepas, empanadas and other Latin dishes, serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails.

Fieri visited the restaurant in a 2009 episode titled "Something from Everywhere," featuring "real deal dishes born elsewhere." In a Food Network blurb about the restaurant, editors noted that Valencia "took Guy by surprise," as he'd never tried an arepa before.

"Guy Fieri tried out the roasted pork arepa (via Food Network), but we've got our eye on their Nutella and peanut butter empanada," Mashed wrote. The Food Network blurb also lists three of Valencia's breakfast sandwiches as "special dishes," including the Red Smitty tortilla wrap with egg, chorizo, cheese and chipotle.

Fieri has visited several Connecticut restaurants with the show, including O'Rourke's Diner in Middletown, Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield, Black Duck Cafe in Westport and Merritt Canteen in Bridgeport. Two others, including Wilson's Holy Smoke BBQ in Fairfield and Corey's Catsup & Mustard in Manchester, have closed in the years since they were featured on the program.

Fieri also has his own Connecticut restaurant, Guy Fieri's Foxwoods Kitchen & Bar, at the Mashantucket resort casino — known for its layered "trash can nachos" served stacked in a metal tin.

The chef also opened five "ghost kitchens" across Connecticut last year, which primarily operated out of Bertucci's locations. But as three of the four remaining Bertucci's restaurants in the state shuttered between September and December, Fieri's "Flavortown Kitchen" has just two remaining sites, one out of the Glastonbury Bertucci's and another out of Brio Tuscan Grille at the Westfarms Mall in Farmington.