Billy Costa Kiss 108 TV Diner Boston
Billy Costa has been the host of NECN's TV Diner, a restaurant review program, since 1992.
A native of Cambridge, MA,
Costa attended Merrimack College on a hockey scholarship before
transferring to Emerson College and graduating with a degree in
In 1980, Billy joined KISS
108 as an entertainment and lifestyle reporter. He has been
co-hosting the Matty in the Morning show with Matt Siegel for
the past 15 years, and is also the well-received host of the
KISS Top 30 Countdown of Today's Hit Music.
TV Diner Host Billy Costa, Herb Chambers, and celebrity chef Todd English at Herb Chambers Lexus Sharon Platinum Plate Gala!
The second annual TV Diner Platinum Plate Gala, a food-tasting event and live auction, was held at the Herb Chambers Lexus showroom in Sharon on Nov. 15. The charity event featured food from 20 of the best restaurants in New England, live entertainment and a smart car giveaway courtesy of Herb Chambers. About 650 people attended, and the auction raised more than $45,000 for the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center.
Billy Costa and 'TV Diner' spotlight North Shore eateries
By Kristin D'Agostinofirstname.lastname@example.org
Salem - “Get in tight!” the director shouts as the cameraman zooms in for an opening close-up of Billy Costa, the energetic host of the popular NECN restaurant-review show “TV Diner.”
Next, Costa invites a group of excited tourists and locals to crowd into the next frame, several sporting Halloween makeup and funky hats. They are thrilled to be extras in an upcoming episode of “TV Diner,” shot last Sunday in the parking lot of the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites.
The event has a fair-like atmosphere with about a dozen North Shore restaurants and shops set up at tables under a white tent. Hundreds of people of all ages mull about in the crisp fall air, sampling everything from pizza to fresh oysters. Featured restaurants include Salem’s Upper Crust, Finz, Capt.’s and Beer Works.
Costa, who is also known for regular appearances on Kiss 108 FM, is his usual upbeat self, flitting around to interview local restaurateurs and bantering on air with Mayor Kim Driscoll whom he refers to as a “hot babe.”
Meanwhile, a crowd gathers around a table to watch Finz’ oyster shucking contest, where knife-wielding volunteers compete to determine the fastest hand at prying open a pile of slippery shells.
Though the Salem Gazette misses the chance to talk to the champion, a mustachioed man who disappears into the crowd after clobbering his opponent, the contest’s self-professed loser, Danny Robinson, is happy to share a few words. Nursing a freshly bandaged index finger, Robinson, who has a rosy face and an Irish brogue, jokes, “I couldn’t even open one! I got my five minutes of fame.”
In addition to being great exposure for local businesses, last Sunday’s “TV Diner” taping was also a boon for the food pantry at Salem Mission. When registering for the event, guests were asked to bring canned food to donate to the Margin Street facility. Mission Director Mark Cote says with supermarket prices climbing, food donations are needed now more than ever. As the Gazette reported in the spring, supplies have reached record lows this year at the Mission and other local pantries.
“We can’t keep the shelves stocked,” he says. “This food is really going to help us …”
All in good taste
The North Shore’s “TV Diner” episode is set to debut Saturday, Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., and will also air later that week at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. It will include formal reviews of Salem’s Grapevine and Lyceum as well as a more informal review of Sixty2 on Wharf that will be featured in the show’s popular segment, “Diner for a Day,” where an everyday person is selected to review a meal.
Sixty2 on Wharf owner Tony Bettencourt says though he was notified of the “Diner” crew’s arrival in advance, he refrained from changing the menu to accommodate his dinner guest, Newburyport resident Sandy Herman. However, he admits he did sneak in extra items to give the guest reviewer an overall “snapshot of the restaurant,” which included items like steak, wild Mediterranean bass and agnolotti, a handmade ravioli served with butternut squash, sage and chestnuts.
“She seemed to really enjoy it,” Bettencourt says of the meal. “She was pretty full when she left, but that’s a good thing.”
In a phone interview later in the week with Costa, the down-to-earth TV host says that for him, Salem is not just another city du jour — it’s more like a home away from home. The Lynnfield resident says he visited Salem for a weekend in June and liked it so much he decided to stay for an extended vacation.
“I work out a lot … I started jogging around and walking,” he says, adding, “I even started using the YMCA.”
His favorite Salem hangout? The Regatta Pub at the Waterfront Hotel. “Most nights if I’m staying on my boat I’ll go there, get a glass of wine and watch the game. They just reinvented their menu.”
Billy Costa Kiss 108
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