A while ago, someone asked Bobby Flay what he would eat before taking his dying breath.
"It's going to be a cheeseburger and an ice cream sundae. It's not going to be some fancy meal, that's for sure," the renowned chef and Food Network star said.
A quick glance around Bobby's Burger Palace Tuesday might not give away anything exceptional. Clad in jeans and a blue button-up, Bobby Flay casually wandered through the brightly colored restaurant, shaking hands and checking up on chefs.
"Shooting TV … is my secondary job," he said. "My real job is constantly touring through my restaurants. I think it's really important to be hands-on."
And from cooking to serving, nothing is far from Flay's reach. He asked "his staff" to gather round, taking a moment to get to know each member before getting down to business. He wanted to know what questions customers often ask. He wanted to find out what could be better.
Despite having the well-spoken charisma of a television personality, it's clear that, for Flay, food comes first.
"1,000 percent I create every single thing. I couldn't let anybody else come up with something from my menu," he said. "It's what I think about all day long. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about dishes."
And while his other restaurants might serve fancier plates, there's a charm about Bobby's Burger Palace that's dear to him.
"There's something about BBP that just — look, turn around, see this person smiling," he said, interrupting himself. "It's that. That's the environment; it's a happy place."
Flay cares about food, but he also cares about people. He turns around a napkin holder revealing the hashtag "FlayForAll."
"The whole idea is I have five high-end restaurants, and they're not inexpensive and they're only in certain places," he said. "Not everybody can get to them, and also not everybody can afford them, and so the idea is you can actually taste the way I cook."
College Park is the perfect place for one of his 19 BBP locations, he said, because college students' taste buds have evolved.
"The food culture has changed so much," he said. "Even college kids who don't have crazy amounts of funds, they still want to eat something better … than just fast food."
His college-age daughter is his "unofficial focus group," helping him determine what the younger generation is craving.
"It looks like it's a simple concept because it's burgers, fries and shakes, but when you look at all the burgers, they're flavored from places around the country," he said. "It's from my travels. It's from my experiences eating and cooking in different parts of the country."
So what does the king eat when he stops by his own palace?
"I always order the Crunchburger because it's so simple," he said. "It's American cheese, it's potato chips; I use chipotle ketchup and I'm good."