Poor Dave Faries. He is trying so hard to get his new website Critic’s Guide launched and his programmers just can’t get it up. So, let’s show him some much-needed love. We’ve already loved on Teresa Gubbins, Steven “Dallas Dude” Doyle, and Hanna Raskin. Hurry Dave, we can’t wait to read you guys.
Jump for an exclusive interview with Dave Faries.
SupeSideDish Exclusive Interview with Dave Faries
NN: Where were you born?
DF: Statesboro, Georgia–home of Georgia Southern University and a town made famous by the Allman Brothers in “Statesboro Blues.” I was a faculty brat, so I grew up in college towns. I didn’t know most people don’t have summers off until I was ten or so.
NN: Where have you worked?
DF: Gainfully? I spent a hell of a lot of time in grad school, but you don’t make any money grading blue books. I started my media career, as it were, in State College, Pennsylvania at WPSX-TV, WPSU-FM and WRSC-AM. I’ve worked in Indianapolis, Atlanta, in Europe and here. But I was a freelancer for live college sports broadcasts for some years, too–which means I’ve worked for two or three days at a time in a lot of places.
NN: So you did some time in Prague. How did that situation come about? And, more importantly, how could you leave Pague and come back to Dallas?
DF: Why not? It’s surprising how cities across the world share similar dynamics. For instance, there’s a section of Prague known as Vinohrady where a good proportion of the expats live. Listening to them speak about Vinohrady is a lot like listening to people in, say, Uptown. They use the same language to justify why their part of town is best. You do have a greater sense of freedom there than here, which is strange. And there’s a feeling of camaraderie among the expats that I miss. But the restaurants are better here. And I’d we’d lived in London when I was in high school, so I never had any “I’m on an adventure” sensation. I was just working—same deadlines, same schedule of restaurant visits. To the first part of the question: they were looking for a food critic and I was available.
NN: So besides writing about restaurants, you’re a jock. What is up with that?
DF: Just reliving the past. I wanted to pull a George Plimpton stunt in Prague so I played third-string quarterback for the Prague Lions. They ran a spread option and I was timed at 5.7 in the 40 yard dash, so it wasn’t exactly a great fit. Plus I tore a bicep, strained an MCL, got speared in the ribs and did something to both ankles. Fortunately stronger pain killers are available over the counter there than here. Did the same thing last year in Dallas with a minor league team, the Dallas Diesel. They put me on the defensive line. Really, I did all that because there are some interesting characters and compelling stories involved–guys in Prague who first saw American football in a movie, learned to play and sacrifice a lot to keep a team alive. Hell, the coach there once spent all his money on a ticket to Chicago after playing two years of football. He didn’t know anyone, he just wanted to be associated with football in the U.S.
NN: What is your favorite restaurant in Dallas? In the world?
DF: Can’t answer the first. As for the second, I love roadside diners just about anywhere.
NN: What question do you hate to be asked the most?
DF: You just asked it a moment ago. I have a rule not to answer the favorite restaurant question because it would seem like an endorsement. I generally respond by saying “I don’t really have one. What’s yours?” And don’t answer that—you’ll just say the same thing back.
NN: Are you a cat person or a dog person? And why?
DF: I have two cats. The second is a recent addition. She’d been pulled from her mother far too young and was holed up in someone’s garage. The older one is neurotic and clingy, but someone had dumped her as a kitten, too. My floor is covered in cat toys.
NN: Do you mow your own lawn?
DF: Don’t have one or I would. On the lawns I could afford it wouldn’t take that long, anyway.
NN: Did you ever cook in a restaurant?
DF: Yeah, at a little mom and pop place in Illinois while I was an undergrad–breakfast, mostly. I spent much more time as a dishwasher. I’ve never worked as a waiter, although I did stand behind the counter at McDonald’s one summer. I graded out badly with my manager because I refused to use their suggestive selling techniques. In other words, I wouldn’t say “you want fries with that?”
NN: Tell me something that you don’t want anyone to know about you.
DF: Think I did that with the cat comments. Or how ’bout this: I’d much rather sit at home and watch soccer or college football than go out for a drink. Spent most of my weekend in front of the TV, actually.