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Jan 2, 2012 01:07 PM

El Greco Closed?

I'd noticed in passing that the place has been in darkness for the last two weeks, but didn't want to jump the gun. However, I saw this today:

Sad, but horribly predictable if true.

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  1. so sad, they were simply overpriced and the head dude was a temper tantrum waiting to happen almost every day. other than that the food was good. just a bad business model. Ol' Gordon Ramsay sure did in the least accelerate its demise, or at best did nothing to save it, obviously. Go Gordon, bravo. Actually on the other Greco RIP thread, someone posted a link showing that a huge percentage of Gordon's restaurant makeovers fail.

    21 Replies
    1. re: slowcoooked

      Ramsey may be a fancy cussin' n cooking clown, but some foolio invited him over.

      1. re: ieathereforeiam

        It would have closed with or without the Ramsay touch. There was no way I would go back there post-Ramsay to see if his renovations improved or worsened the experience at El Greco.

      2. re: slowcoooked

        That's a shame. I was rooting for el Greco to stay open and evolve. I saw they were closed when I went there for lunch the other day. Just thought it was for the holidays. My gf hadn't eaten there since the change and she was looking forward to eating there after I told her how tasty and fresh the new menu was (she hated it when we went before). When I went in October the owner and the staff were struggling to keep up making everything to order. But, hell, it made the biggest difference. Delish! I wonder if Gordon will do a post-makeover visit so we can see what happened.

        1. re: sasebastian

          Did the makeover ever air? If so, I missed it.

          1. re: amysuehere

            Apparently it did not. No doubt they put it on permanent hiatus when it became clear the post-makeover restaurant was failing too.

            1. re: heyzeus212

              No, they haven't Showed the episode yet, I've been waiting to see it. However, I'm sure they didn't put a "permanent hiatus" on the episode because they usually give an epilogue at the end, even if the restaurant fails.

              And BTW, the reason most restaurants fail after Ramsey visits them is probably because they were going to fail anyway because of bad business practices. Every restaurant I've seen of KN was on it's last leg, usually weeks away from closing already. Ramsey has saved a couple of them, but them man isn't a miricle worker by any stretch.

              1. re: Lucky_Skunk

                "The fate of the Kitchen Nightmares El Greco segment isn’t known. It appears that it may have been left on the cutting room floor. Its October air-date has come and gone."


                1. re: heyzeus212

                  Was it supposed to air in Oct? If memory serves me, they did the show in late August, and the new season started just a couple of weeks after that. Which would mean EL Greco was one of the last episodes for the season.

                  1. re: heyzeus212

                    from the start it was a mutual marketing plan. Unfortunately El Greco doesn't even get to see the other side of the bargain fullfilled.

                    1. re: lixlix

                      It's a messy ending but I suppose Fox could still air the show. I think I've seen an episode where Ramsay went back after a month or so and the featured restaurant was already closed down (although I did watch half a dozen episodes when I had the flu and may have been hallucinating by that point).

                      I'm sure the show's lawyers and accountants look into all eventualities and have things set up so they never lose out on their investment.

                      Also, they did some filming in Wheatsville and I think the folks there were looking forward to it....

                  2. re: Lucky_Skunk

                    You have to remember that they choose the restaurants for show business reasons, not restaurant business reasons. The places they pick are the ones they think will give them the greatest drama, to jack up the ratings. Whether or not they think Ramsay can actually turn the place into a good restaurant is secondary, if not outright irrelevant.

                  3. re: heyzeus212

                    It did air. It was on Saturday and I must say, the place was self-destructing before Ramsey ever got there. It didn't help that the owner was an abusive foul mouthed drunk. I can't for the life of me understand what some people saw in that place.

                    1. re: ericthered

                      Looking for a source, I see it on torrents. Season 5 Episode 10 El Greco. Downloading it now (350mb or so). On BTjunkie, at least.


                  4. re: amysuehere

                    I just noticed that the El Greco episode is scheduled to air on 1/20

                      1. re: pickychicky1979

                        Set my recorder! Thanks for the heads up.

                        1. re: amysuehere

                          Yep i guess we can call this closure! How unfortunate.

                  5. re: slowcoooked

                    Chef Jake and his beloved Chef Mic (the microwave) killed El Greco not Chef Ramsay. I suppose the author of this diatribe against Chef Ramsay fancies their palate to be superior to his - a multi-Michelin star world class chef who truly knows food. The author obviously ate at El Greco before and saw nothing wrong with the food, that alone makes their judgement suspect. The reason so many of these restaurants fail, even after Chef Ramsay has tried to help them, is because they have fundamental problems (lack of passion, no standards, overwhelming financial debt) which even a makeover can't cure. I've read of several restaurants which went back to their old failing menu and sloppy cooking so it's not Chef Ramsay's fault if they do fail. They asked him for help, Chef Ramsay is not a miracle worker, he can only do so much. And in the case of El Greco the head chef was in total denial, could not even be civil to his own mother, had no standards, lost all passion and thought his disgusting food was exceptional!

                    El Greco
                    3016 Guadalupe, Austin, TX

                    1. re: netrek

                      Netrek, couldn't have said it better.

                  6. I walked by El Greco on my way to the grocery store today and took a peek in the window. It looks like they got out of there pretty quickly. There's a notice on the door from a linen company saying that they want their stuff back, and there are several tables with unfinished meals on them.

                      1. re: Lucky_Skunk

                        I wonder what the original cut was like before they knew the restaurant closed. I suspect they put in more grit and make it look even worse than if the restaurant was still in operation. Jake "I don't come in because they pick on me" is certainly an ass. Of course they pick on you for not coming in. Try coming into work on time and doing some work and then maybe you won't get picked on.

                        I almost turned it off a couple times. But the Jerry Springer Syndrome sucked me into watching to the end.


                      2. $11 for a Gyro with no sides or drink. In a college neighborhood. How could this guy not succeed?

                        1. Just watched a re-airing of this. Anybody who went pre and post makeover have an opinion? Was the place already in the crapper quality wise? I honestly wonder why the mom didn' t just hire a chef and ditch her son since he obviously couldn't cook and they didn't get along

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Rptrane

                            Rptrane, A diatribe I started is linked below. It's a fun read I'd say. Lots of strong opinions. El Greco was our favorite (four of us UT profs) near UT campus restaurant by far when it was in business. They liked us, knew us, and the mother would come around and kiss a few cheeks and give us free chicken lemon soup (best version I've had). I bet we went 40 times at least and despite sometimes abysmal service, F-bombs dropped from the son to waitstaff, we never had any bad food and it was usually outstanding. Real lamb gyro (souvlaki probably more correctly), melty lamb shank, that soup, the pita was soft and great, the hummus was strong on the lemon but in a great way. I have no idea how unlucky the folks were to get bad meals there, because nothing in Austin right now comes close. The mother should have hired a nice chef, taught them up to speed, and gotten rid of the alcoholic son. Some bearded dude cooked our food most of the time and did a great job.


                            1. re: slowcoooked

                              The impression I've always gotten from other folks who have been on the show is that they amp up tension, etc. But like the food and condition, dirtiness, of the kitchen they don't make up. Do you think all the microwaving from the episode was BS?

                              1. re: Rptrane

                                yeah, for the most part. maybe they heated the soup that way. No matter, it was great. When we ordered lamb I know from watching the line cook it was taken from the cold container to the grill per order, and was always served up nicely carmelized on the outside / crispy and medium rare to medium inside and very tender and nicely flavored. certainly never microwaved.