Yes, he was a real person! Hines was a pioneer of restaurant ratings for travelers. Born in Bowling Green, he originally worked as a traveling salesman. By age 55 in 1935, he had eaten a lot of meals on the road. At that time, there was no interstate highway system and only a few chain restaurants in large, populated areas. Therefore, travelers took their chances on getting a good meal at a local restaurant.
Hines and his wife, Florence, began assembling a list for friends of several hundred good restaurants around the country. The list became so popular, that he began selling a paperback book entitled Adventures in Good Eating (1935), which highlighted restaurants and their featured dishes that Hines had personally enjoyed in cities and towns across America.