Hey, Big Spender

Billionaire Tilman Fertitta creates buzz as reality TV series films at La Griglia

Billionaire creates buzz as reality TV series films at La Griglia

Tilman Fertitta, La Griglia, March 2016, Brandon Busch, Tilman Feritta
Cameras roll as Landry's Inc. exec Brandon Busch, left, and Tilman Fertitta discuss redecorating La Griglia in River Oaks Shopping Center. Photo by Shelby Hodge

While the La Griglia bar scene was rocking early Wednesday night, it was the CNBC cameras rolling a little later in the evening that created a buzz throughout the popular River Oaks neighborhood restaurant. 

As Billion Dollar Buyer, starring La Griglia owner and Landry's Inc. CEO Tilman Fertitta, is set to premiere on Tuesday (March 22, 9 pm Central Time), the crew was filming a few "behind the scenes" segments to augment the hour-long reality show.

It was a major surprise to diners who were wondering what the hullabaloo with the cameras and lights was all about.

"We're shooting some behind the scenes and kind of a day in the life of Tilman," Fertitta said between filming. "Where better to shoot it than La Griglia in Houston, Texas, with good friends?"

Dressed in his signature black T-shirt, black blazer and slacks, Fertitta joined a side table with Landry's in-house counsel Steven Scheinthal, Fertitta's brother Todd Fertitta, Houston Children's Charity CEO Laura Ward and, from Fertitta's native Galveston, Johnny Smecca and Bubba Koehler.

Clearly charged by the CNBC docu-series, Feritta said, "They're really heavily promoting it. Everybody feels good about the show and we all get to see it next Tuesday and we'll all find out."

In the series Fertitta looks at two small businesses in each episode — Houston companies Bravado Spice and Macaron By Patisse are in the season premiere —and decides whether he wants to place a large order that will transform their businesses and their lives.