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Mario Lopez denies claim he asked San Antonio chef for free meal in exchange for Instagram post

Called reports 'fake news headlines' in radio segment title

SAN ANTONIO – Mario Lopez took to the airwaves on Friday to address claims his staff asked a San Antonio restaurant for a free meal in exchange for publicity.

Local chef, Jason Dady posted to Facebook in late September saying a mystery celebrity called his restaurant, Range, asking for a free meal in exchange for a post on Instagram.

I typed it. Deleted it. Retyped it. Deleted again. Driving me
Bonkers. A certain celebrity called Range tonight Asking for a free meal
In exchange for a single instagram post promoting it. Quote. Unquote. "We'll put you on the map". We
Called back to decline and literally got hung up on. My wife. Brother and PR team thankfully convinced me to delete my response. But WOW. I mean think about it. Googled it. Net worth 16 mil. And wants a free meal.

Don't ask. Won't tell. But this is beyond mind blowing, even in today's social media driven marketing.

If I get 1000 likes. Maybe I put em on blast. 

I typed it. Deleted it. Retyped it. Deleted again. Driving me Bonkers. A certain celebrity called Range tonight...

Posted by Jason Dady on Saturday, September 30, 2017

Lopez just so happened to post a photo of himself at Mi Tierra in Market Square with the following caption: "Quick visit to San Antonio, Tx. Always make a stop at Mi Tierra. Love this town..."

While local chef Jason Dady withheld Lopez's identity, all signs pointed to Lopez -- down to his net worth being $16 million. Dady also posted a throwback gif of Lopez from his "Saved by the Bell" days.

But, Lopez said his schedule wouldn't have even allowed him to eat at Range.

"I landed at something like 11:30 p.m. and I was still really tired," Lopez said on his radio show "On With Mario Lopez." "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."

Mario Lopez has always been a longtime paying customer of Mi Tierra and is welcome anytime he’s back in San Antonio. #conmuchogusto

Posted by Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery on Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Lopez suggested Dady's staff was being punked, or the victim of a prank call... "Or he's got a shady publicist and they're trying to get press but I just think it's really really funny."

But does Chef Dady, recognized as one of the “Top 50 Chefs in the World” by Texas Monthly, need the press?

Mi Tierra also defended the celebrity saying, "Mario has always been a longtime paying customer of Mi Tierra and is welcome anytime he’s back in San Antonio."

When someone suggested Lopez didn't pay for his meal at the iconic restaurant, Mi Tierra fired right back.

"The story alleges that he called for Saturday, but Mario dined with us on Sunday," the Facebook comment made by Mi Tierra staff said. "He doesn't need to call around to know where to get his Sunday breakfast fix."

Despite the stories, Lopez spoke highly of San Antonio.

"San Antonio is one of my favorite towns," Lopez said. "The people are awesome and ironically a lot of great places to eat, very romantic city to with the River Walk. I always look forward to going there."

Listen to Lopez's remarks titled "Mario Debunks Recent Fake News Headlines" here.