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Nov 25, 2011 12:19 PM

Restaurant Impossible and Kitchen Nightmares - How Many Survive?

I saw an old rerun of Kitchen Nightmares at a place called Sebastians that I know closed some time after the show and I found myself wondering how some of those restaurants ultimately do after Ramsay or Irvine leave.

The two-day (or even week-long) fix hardly seems to address some of the problems of cash flow, kitchen hygiene, service issues and familiar cooking short-cuts like pre-prepared and frozen foods. Does anyone know what the track record is of either RI or KN?

Do you personally know of any of those featured restaurants and what happened after the camera crews left?

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  1. In Philadelphia, RI did an episode earlier this year at a restaurant called La Stanza, and I know they are still open, however, I was not impressed when I visited there (post RI visit). KN did an episode at a place called Hot Potato Cafe last year and I know that it has since closed. But that might also be a function of their concept...baked potatoes.

    KN has also just finished two new eps here that will air next year. We'll see what happens with those.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Philly Ray

      I just read that Zocalo, a Philadelphia restaurant that Gordon Ramsay visited for Kitchen Nightmares about a year and a half ago, has closed.

      1. re: Philly Ray

        Chiarella's (from Kitchen Nightmares) is still open and doing well. I've eaten there a few times (both before and after KN) and the food was always delicious. They have added some of their old dishes to the menu.

    2. The one restaurant in DE that RI did - Rascal's was doomed even before the show. I don't know of a single person that ever went there. It's my understanding that it's since closed & reopened under a new name with many of the similar problems.

      I will sometimes Google the restaurant to see if they are still open & read reviews. I know Ramsay has done "after" shows that go back to the place afterwards.

      9 Replies
      1. re: jenscats5

        In the recap show I saw, Ramsay only revisited restaurants that survived.

        1. re: chicgail

          One of the recap shows I saw Ramsay did go back to a restaurant that had been sold. He ended up calling a waiter who used to work there to talk about what happened.

          Here's a non-complete listing of restaurants that didn't survive after KN.

          1. re: Firegoat

            Downcity in Providence has also closed, and I'm pretty sure Fleming's in Miami as well.

          2. re: chicgail

            GR revisited a restaurant in Boca Raton Fl - Anna Vincenzis - in a recap show and the owner had sold it, got divorced and lost about 100lbs (not necessarily in that order). We went for dinner there a week after GR had done the initial makeover but before the show had aired and it was pretty unexciting so it was no surprise it closed down.

            1. re: smartie

              The one I saw was a seafood restaurant where Gordon bought them a big fancy lobster vending machine (like one of those toy claw things you see for toys in a supermarket). He went on and on how it was the only one like it in the area. When he went back it was closed. Sold. Reopened and redecorated with new owners, new theme. So he called in a waiter who told him one of the first things the owner did was sell the fancy lobster machine tank thing.

              Here's a link to that episode. The restaurant that closed was The Black Pearl and the last clip on the episode.

            2. re: chicgail

              it's a little hard to visit a closed restaurant, isn't it? :)

              The episodes themselves occassionaly DO mentioned during, or just before, the credits that the restaurant has unfortuently had to close since ramsey's been.

              1. re: Midknight

                That does sound silly, but while the restaurants may have closed, presumably the owners are still alive and can talk. I would find it interesting to find out what they think was ultimately was the cause of the closure.

            3. re: jenscats5

              Rascals replayed yesterday and was super disturbing on so many levels.

              I have to think that broadcasting the restaurants behind the scenes story ensured its doom.

              1. re: C. Hamster

                haha, they supported my baseball team when I was there for law random is that!?!

            4. The Burger Kitchen restaurant that was in a recent episode of Kitchen Nightmare's was filmed in April and was sold in August before the episode even aired on TV in Oct/Nov. It's still open, however.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Firegoat

                Interesting how they didn't include that little tidbit of info in the postscript when it aired.

              2. I watched a few episodes of KN today and it's enough to keep me off of restaurants forever. How can no one take responsibility for a clean food storage area, and how can food stay in a walk in so long it disintegrates? I mean, can they not smell? Are they blind to the rat poop and cock roaches? Do they not care if they kill someone?
                Sorry for the rant, but right now I'm afraid, very afraid ;-)

                5 Replies
                1. re: monavano


                  That one scared me.
                  Green chicken, moldy burgers, flies everywhere. Then you see the rat poop and the cockroaches.

                  1. re: chileheadmike

                    Yes! Dillion's and the Handlebar (not as gross). I just can not get the apathy and how an owner can idly stand by and watch the people they pay NOT do their jobs, all the while losing their own shirts.
                    If my chef said she's not a chef and it's not her passion, she's be gone. The thing is (at Handlebar), she looked to be competent in the kitchen with just a little motivation.

                    1. re: chileheadmike

                      Things didn't really get that much better after he left, later health dept inspections were just as worrying.

                      1. re: Scrapironchef

                        Note to self: Do *NOT* eat at restaurants that do not let me inspect the kitchen.

                        1. re: shezmu

                          I find the most worrying kitchens are usually found in Indan restos, they're either great or horrible.

                  2. The two he did in the Detroit area did not survive.

                    The resto on the lake went through a couple of incarnations and is now open under a different name as a part of a successful restaurant group. It was an amusing episode--GR going out on the lake in a snowmobile to talk to the ice fishermen (and WTF? Lake perch in a CHOWDER? a crime against lake perch, IMO)