For over a dozen seasons Chet Garner has hosted his Texas travel show, The Daytripper on PBS. He estimates he has covered more than 150,000 miles of road and devoured over 1,000 pounds of Texas barbecue.
Garner visited Corsicana this week and explored some well-known landmarks and encountered a few surprises along the way.
He agreed to an exclusive interview with the Corsicana Daily Sun Thursday at Across the Street Diner, one of the locations where he filmed.
CDS: You are now filming your 13th season of The Daytripper. Why did it take you so long to get around to filming an episode dedicated to Corsicana?
CG: I always want to keep good episode locations in my back pocket for future seasons. Within each season I have to make each of the 13 episodes diverse geographically but also with different food and activities. Corsicana has always been the great episode I’ve been saving for another season. But this year, the stars aligned and it is time.
CDS: What have you done and who have you met while filming here so far?
CG: Every episode I want to show good food and fun activities and I had to leave a lot of stuff out just because it didn’t balance with the rest of what we were doing on the show. We got coffee at Timbers, then headed to Collin Street Bakery, Across the Street Diner and Navarro College to meet Monica Aldama and the cheer team.
We also went to the Pearce Museum, which is unbelievable. It surprised me when the curator shared something special from the archives which he said was a bandage with Abe Lincoln’s blood still on it from when he got shot. He said it was real and had DNA tests to prove it.
CDS: What else is on your list to do in Corsicana?
CG: From here we are going to go fishing for hybrid striper bass on Richland Chambers Lake and will finish up with dinner at Indian restaurant Food Belly. If you haven’t been there yet, Food Belly is awesome. These guys worked for years in San Francisco before coming here and opened up right before the pandemic, they hung in there doing to-go only.
CDS: What were you surprised to learn about Corsicana?
CG: I knew the historic downtown was big but it is truly massive. This is one of the biggest historic downtown areas I have seen in the state. I know how much work it takes to renovate historic buildings but I see endless potential. I’m real excited for the future of this town.
CDS: From an outside perspective, what can we be proud of as residents of Corsicana?
CG: You guys should be extremely proud of your historic downtown with its history and stories. I think your downtown is more of a gem than y’all realize. This the culture and flavor of Corsicana and y’all need to support any business that opens here. If you are very intentional with your decisions on where to shop and where to eat, you can get the ball rolling and support the pioneers who are down here now, some of them betting the whole farm on keeping their small shops open.
CDS: Have other towns you’ve featured told you their business picked up once the episode airs?
CG: Oh yeah, some of the restaurant owners won’t even know the episode premiered until people line up to order exactly what I ordered on the show and sit where I sat. Some of the little diners told me they sell out of chicken fried steak every time their reruns.
CDS: When can we expect the Corsicana episode to premier?
CG: I don’t know yet but definitely a weekend in October. We may be able to come back for a local premier, which we couldn’t do last season due to COVID. I love Corsicana, it’s the type of place I would like to live if I wanted to pull up roots and settled down somewhere else.
On the Net: