MUNSTER — If you've ever stepped foot into 3 Floyds, chances are it was because of its reputation as a world-renowned craft beer company. But have you ever stopped by — just to sample its eclectic food menu?
Probably not. And Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise" is hoping to change that.
The popular brewery and pub at 9750 Parkway in Munster closed its doors for lunch Wednesday so a nine-person production team for the major television network could have free reign during filming for an upcoming culinary documentary TV episode.
The bar/restaurant later reopened its doors that same afternoon and put a callout on social media letting patrons know they can stop by “if (they) want to try to get on TV.”
“Yes, they do great beer, but they also put out great food,” said Justin Harvey, a Los Angeles-based field producer with O'Malley Productions that contracts with the Travel Channel to produce "Food Paradise.” “These chefs here are everything we look for. This is big, fun food worth talking about. Class Midwest dishes with a twist.”
When the episode airs in winter 2018, it will highlight two mouthwatering recipes whipped up by 3 Floyds’ head chef Pat Niebling and chef de cuisine Scout Hughes, producers said.
Region natives Hughes and Niebling are known for rolling out new food menu items each season featuring local ingredients and crafted with specialty beers.
An eclectic menu
It’s fantastic to be recognized for 3 Floyds’ food menu, Hughes said. Much like its craft beer, the brewpub’s food menu is always rotating based, in part, on the locally sourced produce that's available, he said.
The eclectic menu's current lineup includes a salt-baked pork belly sandwich, a ribeye paired with cinnamon Himalayan rice and a scotch egg dish that stars pork sausage, dijonnaise, cornichon and mustard seed relish.
There’s the Mac and Cheese dish with sharp cheddar béchamel and housemade lardons, and chimichurri toasted panko. Another menu item is the dry coffee rub wings — brined and smoked, with pickled watermelon and celery leaves.
“It’s awesome,” Hughes said. “The pub has sort of always been in the shadow of beer and 3 Floyds’ reputation as a beer company, but we also want to step out of that shadow and stand out as a standalone restaurant.”
The Travel Channel likes to keep secret the dishes they plan to feature so the episode is “fresh and exciting” for television viewers, Harvey said.
Not long after 3 Floyds reopened its door Wednesday, nearly every seat in the brewpub was filled with people anxious to be on TV. As people entered the building, they were asked by production crew members to sign release forms — just in case they wind up in the final edit.
'I was nervous at first'
Cousins Julie Dobrinski, 30, and Emily McEowen, 31, of Homewood, Illinois, were among the lucky few asked to take part in an on-camera interview as they sampled two of 3 Floyds’ menu items.
Dobrinkski and McEowen sat at a center table near the bar as field producer Harvey walked them through a number of takes, the camera rolling.
“I was nervous at first because no typically talks in front of a camera like that, but they helped prompt us and they gave us some ground rules,” she said.
Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise” show is far from scripted and the production crew’s primary job is to document, Harvey said.
Before the doors reopened Wednesday, Harvey and Niebling were in the back kitchen going through a few takes highlighting one of the two featured dishes.
Niebling joined the 3 Floyds staff seven years ago before working his way up from line cook to executive chef. He said he is excited to see the episode air.
“These guys were really professional, putting everything together. Me and Scout are not really camera guys, but they were super cool and they’ll make us look good," he said.