Iron Chef Gauntlet contestant Jason Dady posted a curious note on Facebook earlier this week, hinting that a “certain celebrity” called his hot new San Antonio restaurant Range asking for a free meal in exchange for a social media plug.
Dady teased that if his Facebook post got 1,000 likes, he might spill the beans and, true to his promise, after a thousand fans showed their love, he dropped a GIF of Mario Lopez doing the splits on Saved by the Bell with the message: “Haters Gonna Hate, Slaters Gonna Slate.”
The Extra host shared a photo of himself at a different San Antonio restaurant on Monday:
But it’s possible that this was actually his plan B after he got rejected from Range. Dady says that after his staff received the free meal request, they “called back to decline and literally got hung up on.”
Mario has come a long way since his days of wearing Hammer pants at Bayside High — by some estimates, he has a net worth of around $16 million, so he clearly doesn’t need to be courting free meals. But this incident proves thats the influencer hustle is not limited to low level InstaStars and food bloggers — this racket extends all the way up to Hollywood’s celebrity D-list.
Update: Mario Lopez says that he didn’t try to contact Range, and the timeline doesn’t match up. On his radio show, the actor recently explained: “I went to the hotel and went to sleep and then by the time I got up — I got to sleep in, finally — I went to the event I had to go to. And then, on my way to the airport, I went to this Mexican restaurant I always go to while I'm in town and then I was gone. So, I don't know when I was supposed to have dinner."