The Canandaigua eatery will be featured on the show, "The Best Thing I Ever Ate"

CANANDAIGUA — The rags-to-riches, overnight sensation known as the Rugby may just help to put Simply Crepes on the radar of foodies everywhere.

Soon enough, this great crepe take on two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese — if you’re old enough, you remember how the rest of the McDonald’s jingle goes — will be introduced to the nation.

And it might just be the best thing ever eaten by famed Chef Fabio Viviani, who starred in the show, “Top Chef,” and owns Portico by Fabio at del Lago Resort and Casino in Seneca County, among other eateries.

After sampling this crepe a year ago — and many others during visits to the Canandaigua and Pittsford restaurant locations — the colorful Viviani nominated Simply Crepes’ take on the McDonald’s Big Mac for the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”

Being featured on TV is one thing. To have someone like Viviani enjoy a dish is thrilling, Simply Crepes owner Pierre Heroux said.

“To get a compliment from a top chef, who is well-respected across America, who has very successful restaurants, you’re blown away,” Heroux said earlier this week from the downtown Canandaigua restaurant.

The Heroux restaurant family — which includes wife, Karen, who is the CEO, and daughters Nicole Williams and Michelle — have been sitting on this TV secret since taping was done last September. Just this week they were given the OK to talk about the show, which is scheduled to air April 8 as part of the show’s 10th season.

Like its title suggests, some of the biggest names in the food business talk about foods they love to eat on their travels.

“You’ve got different celebrity chefs who are talking about places they have gone to — independent restaurants that are crafting their own recipes and making unique dishes that are special to who they are,” said Heroux, adding it’s so cool to have celebrity chefs offer kind words for independent operators who are trying to make ends meet.

“To get a big high-five from a celebrity chef is pretty cool,” Heroux said.

Here’s how it went down.

Viviani, a colorful, charismatic and funny character, Heroux said, was already familiar with the breakfast crepes when he sat down to sample some of Simply Crepes’ other dishes. He loved the chicken tarragon crepe, and the chicken cordon bleu crepe blew him away. The Philly cheese steak crepe was creative and fun.

Try the Rugby crepe, Viviani was told. Completely full, Viviani and his executive chef who accompanied him said he couldn’t eat another thing.

Told the story behind this crepe, Viviani relented, somewhat reluctantly. This wasn’t something he thought he should like, let alone love, but try he did.

And like Mikey from the old Life cereal commercials, he liked it.

“It was like green eggs and ham, almost,” Heroux said.

A five-man crew visited the Canandaigua restaurant, and filmed for several hours, finally breaking at around midnight. Nicole is a primary character in some of the shoots.

The whole experience was a fun one and, frankly, a bit humbling for Heroux and family.

The first time the Heroux family served crepes in the Rochester area was in April 2003 at Frontier Field. The Pittsford location was opened that August and the Canandaigua restaurant began serving in December 2007.

Since then, the Raleigh, North Carolina, location has opened and more may be on the way, Heroux said.

“It’s been a great journey,” said his wife, Karen, who is the CEO and person behind the vision for the concept and business. “The vision was to be the best we can be, and what can we do different. It’s always a question, are we having fun? It continues to be exciting.”

So many independent restaurant owners never, ever get this kind of publicity and visibility for what they do, Heroux said, and he feels “insanely humbled” by the whole thing.

“I’m grateful for all the employees who have worked for us over the years and contributed to our success. I’m grateful for the customers who have been here religiously over the years, who provide great feedback on what we do well and what we can do better,” Heroux said. “They stuck with us and allowed us to remain in existence as long as we have.”

When the air date nears, the Heroux family expects to have some events planned to coincide with the show.

“We look at it as a celebration of our community and we’re proud to be part of it,” Heroux said.

They also are ready for a run on the Rugby, and hopefully many of their other dishes as well.

“We work hard and we hoped for big things, but we can’t rest on our laurels,” Karen Heroux said. “This will push us to do a little more.”