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'Strongest Man in History' films at 2 Dog in Gainesville
A pile of burgers and wings — and a twist — at the 2 Dog filming
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2 Dog owner Tim Roberts prepares grits inside his Gainesville restaurant kitchen Tuesday, June 11, 2019. - photo by Scott Rogers

Eighty burgers, 150 wings and four of the strongest men on the planet — it was quite a sight around the dinner table for 2 Dog owners Tina and Tim Roberts.

The History Channel’s “The Strongest Man in History” follows four “strongmen,” athletes who compete in tests of strength, while also putting a focus on the diet and training regimens required to maintain their build. 

An episode aired this month exploring the history of a famous strongman in Toccoa, but the show made a stop in Gainesville to record a segment featuring the four huge men sliding up to a table in 2 Dog on Spring Street and digging in to literal piles of meat. 

The sight of four hulking strongmen gathered around a plate of over a hundred chicken wings and a pile of burgers would be eye-catching anywhere, and that’s just what The History Channel hoped for when it called up Gainesville’s 2 Dog.

As it happens, reality isn’t quite as it appears 

Tina Roberts, co-owner of the restaurant, says she and her husband Tim were contacted the night before the shoot took place by one of the show’s assistants, who pitched them on the idea of shooting at the restaurant. It was all so sudden Tim ended up cancelling a hiking trip to cook for the cast

“These productions companies never plan out beforehand for things like this,” said Tina Roberts. “They’ll come up with an idea, then they’ll have their assistants start making phone calls.”

In the show’s second episode, “Stronger Than a Russian,” cast members Eddie Hall, Brian Shaw, Nick Best and Robert Oberst paid a visit to 2 Dog, where they descended into a wing eating contest. 

According to Roberts, the restaurant made 80 burgers and about 150 wings to create the display of food that appeared in the episode. But there was a twist that viewers of the show didn’t see.

“They didn’t eat it, of course,” Roberts said. “They actually do eat a lot of protein — a ton of protein — and some of it’s red meat, but they didn’t eat that. They’d already eaten dinner.”

Roberts says the show’s assistant was very particular about what they wanted the restaurant to serve, which was to make it “look like a ridiculous amount” of food for the camera, and meeting those parameters meant making food 2 Dog doesn’t typically serve, as well as making changes to their process to compensate the show’s needs. 

In short, you can’t usually walk into 2 Dog and order 150 wings.

“They tried everything because they wanted to try our food, but … this isn’t really representational of our food,” Roberts said. “The burgers, we didn’t use our local beef for that shoot. We normally have our local cows … and we didn’t use that. But they did try the sauce.”

While the strongmen may not have eaten most of the food they were served, they did pay for it all, which helped alleviate the cost of closing down the restaurant for five hours for privacy during the shoot. All the other patrons seen at the restaurant during the episode were friends and staff of the restaurant. The leftover food was taken to Set Free Ministries, who Roberts said was “thrilled” to receive the donation.

Roberts says she and her husband are fans of the show and all four strongmen, adding that they were kind to the staff during the five hours of shooting.