A motorcycle that looks like a '57 Chev? You gotta see this one

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 8, 2008 - 1:51 PM

Those guys from TLC's "American Chopper" went overboard -- Steve Schussler's favorite place -- to immortalize the Twin Cities-based restaurant creator's 1957 Chevy as a motorcycle.

Mikey and Paul Teutul Sr. flew in Monday from their New York-based Orange County Choppers, the inspiration for the hit TLC show, to unveil Schussler's bike in St. Louis Park. The unveiling will be featured in an upcoming show. They know Schussler because he's working on a deal to open "Orange County Choppers: America's Roadhouse" joints around the country.

The detailing that went into the creation of this bike sounds like the usual stuff from Mike, Paul Jr. and Paul Sr. But Paul Sr. said the workmanship that went into Schussler's bike exceeded anything "OCC" has produced in 120 shows. Schussler's bike will be displayed at promotional events and restaurants.

"The trunk actually works, like a regular trunk on a car," Paul Sr. said, lifting the trunk and announcing: "Trunk works. There's not a spare in there. Look at the hubcaps; they are Chevy hubcaps. There's not too much missing on this bike."

"That car does nothing compared to this bike," Paul Sr. continued, gesturing to Schussler's '57 Chevy convertible, which was also onstage.

Schussler, who's having a big couple weeks as he's about to open a 30,000-square-foot $30 million T-Rex restaurant in Orlando, Fla., made the unveiling a fundraiser for Smile Network International. An estimated $10,000 was raised to provide facial surgery for kids in developing countries. And most of that money was raised from people who just wanted to take a photo with the Teutuls.

Folks at the event chattered about how Paul Sr. seemed more puddy cat than puma, the more entertaining part of his personae on the reality show.

Between the tats, earring, guns and fierce fu-manchu, Paul Sr. cuts a frightening figure. But he was such a soft-spoken guy that he could barely be heard over the crowd during some interviews.

"I'm really a nice guy, you know," Paul Sr. said. "Just certain things rile me. When I get to that point, I'm probably not so much of a nice guy. Basically, I'm a good-natured person." When he grows disagreeable on the show, "Usually I don't provoke it, but you don't see that part. Maybe I do provoke it once in a while," he said with smile.

In keeping with Schussler's over-the-top style, the Teutuls departed the unveiling with a motorcycle caravan sending them on their way, as you can see at startribune.com/video.

A can't-miss video

You won't want to miss a second of my moment with Kathy Griffin as she arrived tardy for Sunday's sold-out show at the Orpheum.

It's riveting startribune.com/video in a "Hi"-wiggle-your-fingers-at-the-camera-"Good- evening"-way.

The first people to leave Griffin's Friday show refused to give me their names as they stormed out 10 minutes into her performance. Both guys professed undiminished love for Griffin's act, but said they "hated" the show and complained that a guy seated near them smelled.

I assumed there was something invalid about their tickets. But that wasn't the case because they gave their tickets to me and I used them to gain entry, no problem.

I stood around in the hall about 10 minutes, as they claimed that their entertainment experience was ruined by the smelly guy in their section.

Their real story was probably more interesting than the one they told me.

He was Nate the great

Nate Berkus dined at Indio.

"Oprah's favorite interior decorating guru (and a very attractive man)," according to e-mailer "Braden Schmitt," was at the Uptown area Mexican restaurant. "He was there celebrating his mom's [Nancy Golden, who lives in the metro] birthday along with a couple other ladies. He caused quite a stir among the ladies in the restaurant. At one point someone called his name and he kindly smiled and waved at the excited lady. Gotta love a friendly celebrity."

Gotta love a restaurant staffer who knows who the heck Berkus is. The first Indio guy who answered the phone had no idea who Berkus was. The second Indio guy not only knew, but he also responded by teasingly saying, "I've been waiting for your call," even though he didn't know why I was calling.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on Fox 9 Thursday mornings.

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