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Lodi’s A&W to be featured on new TV show

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Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:21 am, Fri Apr 20, 2012.

Lodi resident Nick Krantz smiled at the camera as he took a huge bite of his bacon cheeseburger. He tried to cover his mouth as he spoke to the camera, saying how delicious everything tasted.

He was raised to not speak with his mouth full.

A couple of takes later, Krantz, 14, and his father, Robert Krantz, had powered through half a cheeseburger, half a hot dog, part of a chocolate fudge sundae and even some of a root beer float at A&W Root Beer on East Lodi Avenue on Thursday.

The father and son duo were being filmed for "Fast Food Mania." It's a new television show debuting on the Discovery Network's new channel, "Destination America."

The "Fast Food Mania" segment will premiere June 3, with host Jon Hien heading across America to munch on any and all types of fast foods, from McDonald's to obscure joints in the middle of the country.

Director Meghan Smith said the draw of the show will not only be the hometown hubs of food and drink that are featured, but that viewers will get to go behind the scenes to see how menu items — from burgers to root beer — are made

As Lodi is the home to the oldest fast-food franchise in the United States — A&W was created in 1916 — it was fitting to have the show feature the root beer restaurant, owner Pete Knight said.

Smith said the goal of the show is not only to dig into the history of these restaurants, but to get a glimpse of how much work it actually takes to get your food to you in a jiffy.

"Fast food has an iconic status in America, and this show highlights what goes on behind the counter," she said. "I had never been to an A&W before, and today I learned how they make everything. It's fast food, yes, but it is so complex."

For Knight, the filming was great for business, but not necessarily for his nerves.

He watched as Krantz and his father bit into their burgers, snapping photos with his phone.

"I have been filmed before, and I didn't think it would be a problem," he said. "But I got nervous. I just want us to put our best foot forward."

A sign on the door to the restaurant warned camera-shy customers that film crews would be around Thursday, but those who wanted a cool beverage to battle the 80-degree weather did not seem to mind.

For Nick Krantz, even having to repeat himself over and over to the camera did not deter him and his father from eating a hearty meal.

While he certainly did not expect to be filmed eating his lunch, Smith said Krantz had convinced her she should pick up a bacon cheeseburger before she left for the day.

"We usually order the No. 2 combo," Robert Krantz said. "And let me tell you, as a man, you can never go wrong with a bacon cheeseburger."

Lodi's A&W Root Beer is scheduled to be shown on "Fast Food Mania" on the new "Destination America" channel in mid-July.

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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