It happened again on Thursday night, just before the start of the Wichita State Shockers’ game against Central Florida, which was being broadcast on ESPN – and then again at the beginning of halftime.
ESPN anchors and announcers it appears, are somewhat obsessed with Wichita’s Doo-Dah Diner, 206 E. Kellogg, and it has become one of their favorite topics to banter about while the games are being broadcast on national television.
On Thursday night, it was play-by-play announcer Adam Anin getting ribbed about his love of Doo-Dah Diner by in-studio anchors Adnan Virk, Dalen Cuff and Tom Crean.
“We gotta get some more food, though, for Adam Amin,” said anchor Virk at the beginning of the broadcast.
“The Doo-Dah Diner. That’s what he misses,” Crean said.
“Oh, Tom Crean,” Amin said in response. “He knows the spots. Doo-Dah Diner is a must have in Wichita, Kansas.”
This is not the first time the anchors have waxed on about the diner during their broadcasts. During the Temple game on Feb. 15, Crean suggested that the Shockers’ opponents were doing so well because they’d been fueled by Doo-Dah.
“I think I know the secret for Temple,” he sad, during halftime. “I think they had a pregame meal at the Doo-Dah Diner. There’s gotta be some reason.”
Timirie Shibley, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Patrick, was watching the game at Wichita Brewing Co. on Thursday when her phone started blowing up with messages. The restaurant was too loud, so she hadn’t heard the Doo-Dah shout out, but customers sent her clips they’d recorded.
“Messages came from friends and family all over the United States, Florida, New York, California, all making sure we knew and that they were so proud of us,” she said. “It's mind blowing actually. Coach Marshall already teases us about the air time we receive, even during the most stressful game times. Once the diner is mentioned, he says, they forget about the boys on the court.”
The ESPN love affair with Doo-Dah Diner started back in 2013, four months after the diner had opened. Rich Hollenberg and Mark Adams were in town for a game and stopped in for breakfast. They liked it and must have spread the word to their co-workers. A steady stream of anchors covering the Shockers have dined there over the years, including Amin, Crean, Seth Greenberg, Jay Bilas and Fran Fraschilla.
The first big TV mention happened in 2015, when Wichita State was playing Missouri State on television. The play-by-play announcers went on and on about the restaurant, one even suggesting that the diner was a metaphor for the spirit of the team, then correcting himself that Doo-Dah represented whimsy and “Playing Angry” did not.
They’ve been dropping Doo-Dah’s name ever since.
“Personally, I ask myself if it's really the food, or do they just love saying Doo-Dah Diner?” Timirie said.
Whatever the reason, it’s been a strange but thrilling ride, she said. And it’s not likely over.
During Thursday night’s game, the talk returned to Doo-Dah Diner during the halftime report.
“I’m gonna go to Doo-Dah diner down in Wichita, my friend,” Amin said to the anchors back in the studio.
“Adam Amin, always locked in to the best eateries,” replied Virk.
“You’ve never eaten at Doo-Dah diner, have you?” Crean asked Virk.
“That’s correct,” Virk said.
“Invite us in,” Crean said. “We’ll come to Wichita.”
Replied Virk: “We’ll take the Alfa Romeo halftime report on the road.”