Food flair on the air: 'Dining Out' radio show dedicated to good food

Bob Tremblay

While foodies have plenty of chef-starring television shows to watch, local radio programs concentrating on the restaurant scene are as rare as pearl-bearing oysters.

At least MetroWest has one delectable representative, and its name, appropriately enough, is "Dining Out MetroWest," a radio show dedicated to the fine art of dining out and served with a generous amount of entertainment. Broadcast live Saturday mornings, from 8 to 9, on WCRN-AM 830, the show describes itself as "the most delicious hour on the air."

Hosted by Christina Andrianopoulos and Allan Eisenberg, the Worcester-based program concentrates on the duo's favorite pastime - food, drinks and socializing. Though the show focuses on culinary matters, it also features a potent lifestyle component. For example, topics on the show include such health issues as "Living La Vida Yoga." Other topics involve relationships, etiquette and the holidays.

That said, restaurants are still the show's bread and butter, so to speak preferably a fresh scali with a garlic-infused spread.

Since its debut last year, the program has been drawing a growing number of listeners and sponsors, according to Andrianopoulos, who owns a strategic marketing firm when she's not on the air and dining out. Eisenberg made his name in the electronic media, where he served in a variety of executive positions, including vice president of the NBC radio network.

"Dining Out" came about after a chance encounter between Andrianopoulos and Eisenberg. "It's a show I always wanted to do," says Eisenberg, who describes himself as kitchen-impaired. "So I have to eat out all the time."

Not surprisingly, he met Andrianopoulos at a restaurant. "I told her my idea and she said, 'That's a great idea, I had the same idea,"' Eisenberg recalls.

Andrianopoulos was at the restaurant because it belonged to one of her clients who was throwing a party. "I had been talking to different radio station managers about starting my own lifestyle show," she says. "When Allan said he wanted to do a show about restaurants, we combined our thoughts."

The result became "Dining Out MetroWest."

"What was so encouraging about it was we actually had three different radio stations interested in carrying the show," says Eisenberg. "We sold (three months worth of) advertising even before we had chosen a station. We went with WCRN because we believed the future was with this operation."

That future includes the station moving shortly from its current strip mall confines to new, state-of-the-art facilities in downtown Worcester. The talk radio station also has a powerful 50,000-watt signal. "People can hear us from Providence to New Hampshire, from Boston to the Berkshires and beyond," says Andrianopoulos.

Westborough listeners, in particular, are tuned in, according to Adrianopolous. "In a recent contest, about 50 percent of the calls came from Westborough," she said. "It's also popular in Framingham and Milford."

The program has furthermore benefited from good timing, according to Eisenberg. "The Worcester-MetroWest area has been experiencing an enormous restaurant renaissance," he says. "In Worcester, we used to have just a few choices. Now we have quite a few. ... I came here in 1990 and when people asked me where I lived, I used to tell them, 'I live in the Boston area.' Now I say, 'I live in Worcester,' and people say, 'That's really a happening place.' And that's very encouraging. ... This renaissance made the need for a show like this even more important and the response has been just phenomenal."

Adds Andrianopoulos, "We get asked for interviews from all over the world. Last weekend we had Luke Mangan, a celebrity chef from Sydney, Australia, on the show."

Local eateries make appearances as well. "When Ted's Montana Grill opened in Westborough, George McKerrow Jr. (the restaurant's president and CEO) was on the show," says Andrianopoulos. "We also had (Wayland resident) Geoff Gardner of Sel de la Terre in the Natick Collection, Allora in Marlborough and Lazio's in Northborough."

Sponsors now number more than 30 and include companies not in the restaurant business. Not all of the show's weekly guests are in the food industry either. "It's an eclectic group," says Andrianopoulos. The list includes Broadway star Betty Buckley. The hosts also hope to get Julie Andrews on the show when she arrives in Worcester in April for a charity event.

On Feb. 2, Stasia Hovenesian, executive director of Music Worcester Inc., will be a guest on the program.

This Saturday, the scheduled guests are Wachusett Mountain executive chef Jason Raymond; Tim Emerson, Wachusett's director of food and beverage; and Chef William Nemeroff of Cedar Street Restaurant in Sturbridge.

Though WCRN doesn't subscribe to the Arbitron ratings service, the popularity of "Dining Out" can be discerned from its Web site, according to Andrianopoulos. "We're up to more than 10,000 unique visitors a month, which is pretty good for a new one-hour show," she says.

Eisenberg notes the show's Saturday morning broadcast time has also been advantageous. "People listen then because it helps them make up their mind where they might go to dinner Saturday night.

"You have to eat so we're turning something that people have to do into something that's a lot of fun and very interesting. For many people dining out and cooking are major hobbies."

Andrianopoulos credits the popularity of celebrity chef TV shows and online food Web sites with helping fuel the popularity of Dining Out.

She says the show maintains an upbeat attitude. "We don't critique. We just want to talk about the different restaurants and the dining experiences there. In most cases, you have a good dining experience. You might not have the best food, but you have a good dining experience."

The two hosts do have favorites. Eisenberg lauded Coral Seafood in Worcester and Marlborough, Sonoma in Princeton and Via in Worcester (owned by Shrewsbury couple Robb and Madeleine Ahlquist), while Andrianopoulos praised Block Five Bistro, Bocado and Mezcal, all in Worcester, and Sel de la Terre. They both add that they have many other favorites.

"What's so encouraging about what we're doing is we're finding the restaurants opening up around here are really world-class restaurants that could probably be competitive in any market," says Eisenberg.

The two Worcester residents take different approaches to the restaurant scene. "I like trendy restaurants," says Andrianopoulos. "I like to be on the cutting edge."

Says Eisenberg, "I'm not so much into trendy cuisine. I like seafood and I love brunches. The Inn at Woodstock Hill (in Woodstock, Conn.) has the most magnificent brunch I've ever eaten anywhere, and it's so incredibly reasonably priced."

Adds Andrianopoulos, "Allan is a more traditional diner."

As "Dining Out MetroWest" enters its second year, expect the show to continue to be in good taste, literally.

"The concept of the show from the very beginning has been to offer an upscale lifestyle program," says Adrianopolous. "We feel like we've been instrumental in raising the image of Worcester and the MetroWest area."

The show's Web site is

Contact Bob Tremblay by phone at 508-626-4409 or e-mail him at