The Real Reason Guy Fieri Fans Want To Rename Columbus, Ohio

The capital of the great state of Ohio is embracing change. The mayor of Columbus, Ohio has already announced the city's statue of its namesake, Christopher Columbus, will be removed ASAP (via The Columbus Dispatch). The largest U.S. city to be named after the Italian explorer, Columbus has even stopped celebrating Columbus Day (via NBC Washington). After all, Columbus didn't "discover" America, as old-school textbooks used to say. "Exploited" would be a better word, although that would be putting it mildly (via The Washington Post).

Enter Guy Fieri. The celebrity food guy (seems to be a bit of a reach to call him a chef) was born in Columbus, Ohio, and he hasn't done anything nearly as bad as Christopher Columbus has. Maybe that's why a petition started by a Fieri fan on to rename Ohio's largest city "Flavortown" has gotten so much action. The signature list is growing as we speak: over 50,000 (as of this writing) and counting.

Fieri is already mayor of Flavortown. Will the mayor of Columbus step down?

One of Fieri's biggest gifts to reality TV, other than frosted tips and flame shirts, is his knack for catchphrases. In fact, "Flavortown" was founded on one of Fieri's many, off-the-cuff, on-the-air quips — as in, this pizza "looks like a manhole cover in Flavortown," or, this big plate of food is "a steering wheel on the bus to Flavortown" (via The Wrap). Fieri admirers have even created a Flavortown fan page and appointed Fieri as mayor. Now, Flavortown might become a real place — although there's no word yet whether Columbus' mayor will give up his seat.

The guy who started the petition thinks Fieri is a "such a good dude, really" — and Fieri may indeed be a good guy, after all. He cooked for first-responders in Las Vegas after the mass-shooting there, and he fed victims of the 2017 California wildfires (via Delish). He also helped to raise more than $20 million for laid-off restaurant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic (via CNN).

For those who still think Guy Fieri isn't quite worthy of having a major city named after one of his catchphrases, consider this: The Columbus area is actually among the food capitals of the U.S. More than 200 food-related industries in the region do $2.8 billion in business every year, according to the economic development organization One Columbus. Maybe the Fieri fanbase is on to something.