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May 16, 2009 10:23 AM

Gordon Ramsay in Whitehouse Station

Seems that Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares is once again in central Jersey, this time at Flamangos, a rather ordinary restaurant in Whitehouse Station.

As mentioned in the link above, this could be the kiss of death for Flamangos. Over half the restaurants that have undergone a Ramsay makeover are now closed.

Maybe Gordo will take a walk up the road to visit the now defunct Ryland Inn. That's a restaurant that would be worth resurrecting, even if the odds are only 50/50.

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  1. Interesting. Flamango's (circa 1955), when it was the Union Hotel, was the site of my first taste of pizza. Made by Murphy Pfenninger (son of the owners), it is my benchmark for great pizza.

    1. Based on what I've read about Ramsay's financial situation, I don't think he'll be resurrecting any restaurants anytime soon. He's already had to vacate his restaurant in L.A. (I believe the hotel in which it's located took it over), and there have been rumors that he might have to shutter his eponymous restaurant in NY's London Hotel.

      2 Replies
      1. re: RGR

        The banks change of policy and lack of financial support during historical slower times I believe shares some of the blame for the demise of some.I personally have friends with very sound restaurants who are not getting the backing of cash flow that has previously been available to them. Anthony Worall - Thompson is one well documented case in the U.K who has had the rug swiftly pulled from beneath his feet.

        1. re: xny556cip

          I'd have to agree that the decision to close one or some of Ramsay's restaurants is certainly not an indictment against his ability to run a restaurant or provide sound advice and direction.

      2. I doubt if you can really call Ramsay's visits the kiss of death.
        These places featured on his show are generally places that are in trouble to begin with. A reputation for lousy or lackluster food and/or service (and the bad word of mouth that often results from it) can be difficult for any restaurant to shake, until a point of no return is finally reached. The article referred to in the link states that the owners had a menu that _by their own account_ was not working for them. They go on to state in the article that they had no intention of keeping Ramsay's changes, stating that THEY know the area and THEY know the clientele. Well it seems to me if that were _really_ the case, their business wouldn't be circling the drain to begin with. So love or hate Ramsay and the character he plays on TV, he can't be blamed for the final demise of a restaurant that was tanking anyway especially if the owners are determined to stick to the habits and methods that led them to where they are.

        Hell...It's a tough biz, even for some _good_ restaurants these days.

        3 Replies
        1. re: The Professor

          That's the most bizarre part of the series overall: owners/chefs who are in trouble, don't seem to have a clue WHY they're in trouble, but refuse to make permanent changes to save their own businesses.

          Do they have some odd notion that just by appearing on the show, the extra publicity will save them? The old saw "there's no bad publicity" can be a trap for the unwary; I think that's part of why some go under: rampant denial.

          I've watched some owners who clearly wanted to convince the restaurant-going public to accept their "vision" and convince diners to flock to the temple of their culinary delights whether they were looking for it or not, rather than seeing what an area is clamoring for and then bring their talents to bear to fill that need. "Sebastian's" was the league-leader in that regard.

          The restaurant business is just that: a business, not a playground for dilettantes.

          1. re: mcsheridan

            Yip. Too many (I would say the vast majority) restaurant owners simply do not know how to run a business. This is a huge part of the reason so many restaurants are a) bad, b) unsuccessful. You're not exactly seeing Wharton grads entering the restaurant industry. This series demonstrates that, if you take a look at the owners, managers, and chefs at these places. Granted, there's a good amount of editing that goes into making a TV show, but I think it should be pretty clear that for the most part these are bush leaguers.

            1. re: tommy

              .......You're not exactly seeing Wharton grads entering the restaurant industry......

              We can be grateful for some things.

        2. I passed this restaurant yesterday and it is now called "Junction". Probably a play on the fact that it is next to a railroad station. Be interesting to see how they do.

          1. I can't even believe that Flamangos has survived THIS long. I think the unbelievably overpriced food sucks and the atmosphere is ridiculous.

            Good luck Gordon.