Where it all began.
Roger and Jane Holm met on a blind ate 47 years ago. They got off to a rocky start, but things quickly turned around and they went on to marry and now have two children, two children-in-law and seven grandchildren.
Let the road trips begin.
Jane’s midlife crisis took the form of a motorcycle. After convincing Roger to take a motorcycle safety course, they were ready to hit the road. They bought a used Goldwing and began exploring. They loved traveling on their bike and taking in the fragrance of the pine trees and even, the occasional skunk. Because they traveled mostly on back roads and two-lane highways, they encountered many small town diners and mom and pop cafes. Thus began their love affair with diners, drive-ins and dives.
Go where the locals go!
They learned some valuable lessons in the early days of their biking and eating adventures. When in a rural area with multiple restaurants; look for the parking lot filled with bikers, pick-up trucks, police cars and school buses. It always excited them to encounter a cafe with ripped vinyl seats that are mended with duct tape. It means they owners are focused on the food rather than the atmosphere. They never needed a social app to find a restaurant – they just followed the locals.
When the first episode of Diners, Drive Ins & Dives (DDD) aired, Roger and Jane’s jaws dropped. It so perfectly captured what they had experienced with their dining adventures. During season one of the show, they began to take notes about each episode – owners’ names, location and featured food(s).
The Real Adventure Begins
On a road trip to meet friends on the west coast, Roger and Jane decided to hit as many DDD joints as they could. On the way home, they took a new route and hit even more. During this second leg of their journey, they reached out to the Food Network Channel as here’s how it went down:
JANE & ROGER’S PATH TO STARDOM
1) Jane contacted the DDD page on the Food Network website and recommended a few places that she and Roger thought would be great additions to the show. She also mentioned that she and her husband were on a two week trip eating at every DDD they could find.
2) The Food Network Channel contacted them almost immediately.
3) Time to meet the production crew. Roger and Jane were the first people the crew had ever heard of anyone doing what the Holms were doing. (it’s become quite popular since!)
4) The travelers were thrilled to be invited to meet Guy Fieri, the show’s host, at Victor’s in South Minneapolis the following week and bring their maps, route and pictures.
5) Their 15 minutes weren’t over quite yet. One month later, Jane and Roger were contacted by the production company and asked to grab their camera and travel to a variety of regional restaurants previously featured on DDD. This portion of their journey started out being all about the food and ended up being about the amazing owners, cooks and customers that make these spots so memorable.
6) The fall of 2008 brought another invitation for the Holms. Roger and Jane were asked to join in on the taping of a DDD entitled The Best Of.
7) The production crew also filmed Jane and Roger’s 100th DDD at Hillbilly Hot Dogs in Lesage, West Virginia.
In total, the journey thus far has included 49 states, nine Canadian provinces and 246 Diners, Drive-ins and Dives locations. Some of the DDD locations as many as 20 times!
Minnesota DDD Favorites
Although Roger and Jane have traveled across the country to visit a wide range of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives; a few of their favorites are right here in Minnesota:
The Nook in St. Paul – best cheese curds on the planet and listed in Guy Fieri’s all-time favorite burger list
The 1029 – bingo and lobster rolls
Victor’s 1959 – awesome breakfast
Pizzeria Lola – pizza with an egg on it
Donatelli’s – great pasta
Broders – more great pasta
Marla’s – spicy Carribbean
Dari-Ette – old fashioned drive-in
Q-Fanatic – super BBQ
Good news. Diners, Drive-ins and Dives just finished filming here in mid-May so we can look forward to six more local spots to check out!
Although they may not have been featured on DDD (yet!), Burnsville has tons of great spots.
Here are a few of Jane and Roger’s favorites:
Their DDD journey led the Holmes to additional unexpected adventures. They were honored to be included when Best of the Road visited Burnsville in 2012 and they thoroughly enjoyed it. Being exposed to such a variety of delicious foods has been an amazing experience as well. The tips and tricks they have picked up along the way have influenced their cooking at home.
View a few of Jane’s current favorite recipes HERE.
Thanks for taking the time to hear the Holm’s story. A special thanks to Jane for sharing their story with us. Say hi to these local celebs next time you see them enjoying some delicious, local cuisine.