HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
What's your latest food project? Tell us about it
TELL US

I just found out one of my favorite restaurants will be on Restaurant Impossible...

AmblerGirl May 22, 2011 06:54 PM

I saw Restaurant Impossible a few times and was never really impressed with the work they did, the menus are not all that great, the makeover looks pretty cheap and generic. Well, I just found out one of my favorite restaurants will have an episode taped there soon (Mamma D's in Pipersville, PA). I was surprised because they do a good business but I heard the owner is doing it for more publicity. Its a kitchy decorated old Italian place with great homemade food, I'm nervous about how the show will transform it. Worse, I know they never seem to paint a positive picture of the kitchen, the cleanliness, or overall sanitary conditions of the restaurants on the show. I am nervous to even see the episode since I've eaten there alot! Anyone have any experiences with restaurants they know being on Restaurant Impossible (or similar shows like Kitchen Nightmares...)?

  1. natewrites Dec 17, 2013 07:18 AM

    What a fun post, even if it's old.

    Many of the episodes have the same problems over and over again, so much so, that you can already spell out what's going on: 1. the restaurant doesn't make any fresh food, only gross canned and frozen. 2. someone on staff is an ogre. 3. someone on staff is a pushover 4. someone on the show always has to have a hissy fit then burst out bawling. 5. two family members do not get along. It's really the same show everytime, just a different restaurant. Although, I find myself drawn in anyway.

    1. Firegoat Dec 10, 2013 11:28 AM

      I could see the temptation if I owned a failing restaurant of going on one of these shows already knowing ahead of time I planned to close and sell it. You'd get publicity to help find a buyer, and some new equipment and upgrades to up your price.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Firegoat
        jrvedivici Dec 10, 2013 11:37 AM

        I don't think the majority of these places wind up getting sold, but rather shuttered and closed. I guess they can get better price for the equipment if they auction it off.

        There have been two restaurants in my immediate area that have been featured; one on Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares and the other on Restaurant Stakeout. Kitchen Nightmare closed within 1 year of the show, Restaurant Stakeout was on about 4 mos. ago and the place is barely hanging in there. Both gave an absolutely pathetic look into the ownership of the restaurants.

        1. re: jrvedivici
          Ruth Lafler Dec 10, 2013 01:07 PM

          Actually, if you read the RI follow-up, quite a few of them are eventually sold. Lots of times the problems aren't so much with the restaurant itself but with (or within) the ownership.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler
            jrvedivici Dec 10, 2013 01:13 PM

            99% of the shows I watch the problem is with the management/ownership. I mostly watch Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares, I only watched the Restaurant Stakeout because it was a local restaurant. My own "research" on Kitchen Nightmares is about 75% closure rate when I Google the restaurants on the show. Mind you......some of the shows are 5+ years old so the information isn't the most current, but the majority seem to close.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler
              TrishUntrapped Dec 11, 2013 08:06 PM

              Found info about RI open/closings on this site:

              http://www.foodnetworkgossip.com/p/re...

        2. l
          lawgirl3278 Dec 5, 2013 01:24 PM

          I was a fan of Chiarella's in South Philly before they were on Kitchen Nightmares. Thankfully, the place was clean and sanitary. The problem was the menu was too large, outdated and the owner is a bit, well, colorful. They redid the inside and trimmed the menu and it is still very good.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lawgirl3278
            p
            Puffin3 Dec 10, 2013 06:25 AM

            I will not RI do anything.
            The fact that anyone would actually pay him to act like the BSer jerk he is on TV is jaw dropping. But nothing surprises me anymore.

            1. re: Puffin3
              s
              sal_acid Dec 10, 2013 06:30 AM

              Of all these type of shows, I think that Ramsay's is the best. It at least seems less phoney. And GR is a likable sod.

          2. Firegoat Dec 5, 2013 04:55 AM

            Looks like RI didn't help much. According to the Food Network Gossip site this restaurant has closed.

            http://www.foodnetworkgossip.com/2013...

            21 Replies
            1. re: Firegoat
              jrvedivici Dec 5, 2013 05:48 AM

              Pretty funny this post is from 2 1/2 years ago and the only three responses (well now 4) are from within the last 24 hours. You should have looked up the status of the restaurant 2 years ago Fire, perhaps you could have saved it!!

              1. re: jrvedivici
                TrishUntrapped Dec 5, 2013 06:04 AM

                Sheesh, I just saw that this post was from 2011. Why did it show up as a current post I wonder?

                1. re: TrishUntrapped
                  jrvedivici Dec 5, 2013 06:59 AM

                  Well it showed up as a current post for me because you posted on it! (and everyone else followed) lol

                  This is better than a thread that has a title like;
                  "Looking for a recommendation for excellent Italian Restaurant this Friday night"

                  You open the thread to see someone has made a recommendation to the OP, then you see the thread is 5 years old! lol Those drive me crazy !!!

                  1. re: jrvedivici
                    Firegoat Dec 5, 2013 07:22 AM

                    At least this restaurant just recently closed. Sometime this fall it appears.

                    1. re: Firegoat
                      Veggo Dec 5, 2013 07:33 AM

                      It seems that the show is appropriately named.

                      1. re: Veggo
                        Firegoat Dec 5, 2013 08:15 AM

                        I suppose Restaurant F*cked Up was already taken

                        1. re: Veggo
                          TrishUntrapped Dec 5, 2013 08:56 AM

                          Eh, I'm sick of the show. In 48 hours you can't fix a failing restaurant, it takes a lot more work.

                          But hey, you can slap a coat of paint on the joint, redecorate, create drama and pretend to fix it, and stand back in awe of yourself.

                          P.S. Robert Irvine is now on tour. He came to my area recently. I was offered comp tix and declined. A friend went and told me the "show" consisted of Irvine telling stories of how great he was and him dancing. Fun.

                          1. re: TrishUntrapped
                            p
                            pine time Dec 5, 2013 09:01 AM

                            I've always wondered if those restaurants don't reek of paint fumes and cheap MDF rather than the new menu's cooking smells. Don't think I'd be enticed to go, either.

                            1. re: pine time
                              janetofreno Dec 5, 2013 09:16 AM

                              lol....I've had the same thought. And yes the restaurant gossip site listed above did confirm that the Maple Tree had closed.

                            2. re: TrishUntrapped
                              Firegoat Dec 5, 2013 09:10 AM

                              I like to watch, in declining order, Kitchen Nightmares, (because I love me some Ramsay and the Amy's Baking Co. episode was just beyond epic) Bar Rescue (Spike TV) and then Restaurant Impossible.
                              Of the 3,, If I owned a place, I would pick Ramsay, (just to meet him.) Economically, I think Bar Rescue is the best deal. They seem to blow giantic wads of money on new TVs, sound systems, etc. Far more than the other shows have budgeted for. On the flip side, Bar Rescue seems to just put up signage, etc., without following local building codes, so it leaves the owners with lots of clean up afterward with the city.

                              1. re: Firegoat
                                jrvedivici Dec 5, 2013 09:23 AM

                                I only go out of my way to watch Kitchen Nightmares, it still amazes me at how lazy most of the owners on that show are. Every single show follows the same format, so why, why, why, why won't owners clean their kitchen and walk-in's prior to Ramsey showing up? No offense but that just shows you how some people have no business being in the restaurant business. Or any business for that matter.

                                1. re: jrvedivici
                                  p
                                  pine time Dec 5, 2013 09:43 AM

                                  I've wondered the same about those home improvement shows: "why hasn't my house sold?" and then they have dirty underwear laying about and filthy kitchens and baths. Theory: it's all part of the game show production--make the home/restaurant as gungy as possible, then the clean up is all the more spectacular. I'm cynical.

                                2. re: Firegoat
                                  bagelman01 Dec 12, 2013 04:59 AM

                                  These shows send there designers in months in advance to scout the location and make preliminary plans, order materials, etc. They pull all the required permits and arrange for inspections during the tight construction schedules.

                                  I was involved with the permit process for a RI restaurant here in south central CT, and the as no variances were needed and therefore no required public meeting. The town government agreed to not voluntarilly release info until after the show aired. The town thought the economic boost was worth it. Had a citizen walked into the town hall and looked at the building permit logs the info was there

                                  BTW>>one generally doesn't need a permit to change the glass/writing on a sign and existing signs are generally grandfathered. This is why you often see signs at the road and the building already demolished. The new building can use the existing pole and frame without going thru the process, especially important if the preexisting sign was larger than what is now permitted.

                                  1. re: bagelman01
                                    Firegoat Dec 12, 2013 05:37 AM

                                    That may be true for RI, it hasn't seemed to be the case for Bar Rescue.. A couple of examples:
                                    http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/20131121scottsdale-bar-owners-share-perils-of-reality-tv-rescues.html

                                    http://www.thewesterlysun.com/news/st...

                                    1. re: Firegoat
                                      bagelman01 Dec 15, 2013 04:45 PM

                                      I can't answer for Bar Rescue, as my hands on experience was with RI.

                                      The restaurant has survived two years since RI, but it still isn't very good, just no longer losing all that money

                                3. re: TrishUntrapped
                                  C. Hamster Dec 5, 2013 04:08 PM

                                  Robert was no doubt dressed in something to show off his midlife crisis guns.

                            3. re: jrvedivici
                              C. Hamster Dec 5, 2013 04:06 PM

                              Someone opened an 11 year old thread about a month ago. Replying to the OP.

                              1. re: C. Hamster
                                jrvedivici Dec 5, 2013 04:10 PM

                                Please do share!

                        2. re: Firegoat
                          Ruth Lafler Dec 10, 2013 10:05 AM

                          Actually, considering the overall percentage of restaurants that fail, and considering these restaurants are already in deep trouble, I think the RI track record is decent. That it lasted two years after the show is really pretty good.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                            TrishUntrapped Dec 10, 2013 11:22 AM

                            But we don't know if RI had anything to do with the surviving restaurants staying open do we?

                            1. re: TrishUntrapped
                              Ruth Lafler Dec 10, 2013 12:50 PM

                              No, we don't. Except that the owners always say they are on the brink of closing (whether that is true is, of course, open to speculation).

                        3. janetofreno Dec 4, 2013 04:56 PM

                          There is (was? No idea if it s still there...)a restaurant in Las Vegas that I used to like for breakfast when I lived there: The Maple Tree (or something like that). They were known for their pancakes and the like. But I hadn't gone there in a year or so and then they were selected for Restaurant Impossible. (I can understand why; that was during the time period that just about every restaurant in Vegas was having financial problems....along with everyone else). I was invited via email to the filming of the re-opening, but never went....mainly because it was the middle of summer and waiting in very hot temps to get in was on the menu:-) Never saw the show or heard how it turned out. Would be curious to know if anyone knows.....

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: janetofreno
                            Steve Green Dec 5, 2013 06:12 AM

                            I can confirm from personal experience that the Maple Tree deserved to close. Although they had some tasty dishes, they also had a hostile cook with such an attitude, that no amount of "patching things up" by the nice waitresses could have helped. I placed a fairly simple special order that was read back to me accurately by the waitress, and I could hear the cook bitching loudly about it from the kitchen. Then he deliberately gave me the opposite of what I asked for, and the waitress tried to cover for him by blaming herself (which is when I should have walked out, if not earlier).

                            When I later wrote the owner about this (rather than posting on CH), she said that the cook could be abrasive, but he was family. Then she invited me back. Um, no. Not to mention, the place had ratty decor that belonged in the trash can.

                          2. TrishUntrapped Dec 4, 2013 04:22 PM

                            I went to Pastori's in Ellington, CT afterwards. Worst restaurant meal ever. And trust me, I've had my share. Here's my CH post.

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/794814

                            Show Hidden Posts