Restaurant Revisited: Barolo

by in Shows, May 16th, 2012

In Aptos, Calif., Robert and the Restaurant: Impossible team faced the daunting task of turning things around at Ristorante Barolo. Owners Giovanni Guerisoli and Cristina Locke struggled with the changing economy as well as family health problems, and could barely keep their 10-year-old business afloat. We checked in with the couple to see how things were going after Restaurant: Impossible.

Three months later, sales at Ristorante Barolo have increased by 37%. “The new decor and also all the publicity because of the show have brought new customers,” says Cristina. “People watch and really like Restaurant: Impossible.”

With Atilio in charge of the kitchen and Giovanni running the front of house, Cristina is finally able to spend more time with her children. “Atilio is doing a great job,” she says.  Despite her best efforts to reduce stress, Cristina recently suffered a stroke and is still recovering.  Because of the stroke, she was unable to finish cleaning out her office. When she recovers, she plans to ask Jessica to help her finish the task.

Giovanni’s health has remained a challenge for him, but he continues to run the front of the restaurant. “Giovanni is doing the best he can while still dealing with his health issues.” He never sold his collectibles at auction and continues to buy more.

“Doing the show was an amazing gift,” Cristina says. “I will be forever grateful for what Robert and the whole crew did for the restaurant and for my family.”

More from Restaurant Revisited:

Pappas (May 9)

Mama Lee’s (May 2)

Pelican Grill (April 25)

Valley View (March 14)

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Comments (534)

  1. Cameo says:

    Without the help of RI, this family may not have had a chance to come together and the chance to help their business. This family learned about themselves and were willing to step up and work hard. When someone is ill regardless of the illness and still trying to make a living, giving support would really go a long way.

    May this family have happiness and success.

  2. CAGirl says:

    Was just in Aptos this last weekend and the hotel and restaurant is vacant & up for sale.

    • Andy says:

      Sad, but not unexpected. Running a business is not for people with health issues.

    • Lester Hunt says:

      Sad. I just looked at online customer reviews and noticed that they never did improve.

    • Christa says:

      I work half a mile away, and eat there once a month. The hotel was never for sale, and a new restaurant was ready to make a few changes and open less than a month after Ristorante Barolo closed. The new restaurant, Booka, is much more successful, usually humming, even on a Tuesday night. The menu is modern Mediterranean, very tasty, with many unusual dishes, and very local, fresh ingredient oriented. Unfortunately, the prices have gone up to the point where my friends and I are looking for an alternative.

  3. Shelley says:

    Just finished watching this episode, and it has left me thinking…did anyone on staff at either the restaurant or the show think it was OK to leave the US flag pinned on the office door as a window covering? I understand that the window on the door needed to be covered so the owner would be surprised at the makeover, but nothing else would have worked?

    • Nicole says:

      I too just finished watching the episode, I watch religiously! I am proud they left it hanging, most producers would have taken it down for fear of offending someone in this case I feel the family hung it themselves since it was so faded and looked worn. It was a show of uninhibited patriotism. I would have been offended more if it had been the Italian flag hanging there and the American flag waded up on the desk in a heap. Much appreciation to the show and the family got their patriotism and respect.
      ~A Proud American Soldier

  4. cindy estrada says:

    I do believe he yells and goes on more then he should, but some people just don't get it ? so therefore sometimes yelling is needed to get through stubborn heads..but the whole point of his show is he's there to help those many of people who are at the last for that, i think Robert is great" but who really pays the 10,000 to fix these places up? does anyone really know? my name is Cindy "

  5. Ruth says:


    Barolo exits Bayview Hotel, Booka opening soon

    Little more than a year after its celebrated remodel, Ristorante Barolo in Aptos has closed. The historic Bayview Hotel already has a replacement in the wings for the ground-floor space: Booka Restaurant & Bar, a high-end eatery expected to open by month's end.

    Tel Aviv natives Eti and Atar Levi, who are married and live in Aptos, are partners in the new restaurant along with Sean Marom, also of Aptos. They've hired a pair of Israeli chefs to create a menu inspired by local meats and produce, Eti said, and brought on two bartenders who will tend a new dedicated barroom. The kitchen is being overhauled, too, and a local landscape designer is breaking ground this week on an outdoor seating area.

    "There's not much left to do on the interior," Eti Levi said.

    Ristorante Barolo underwent a nationally televised remodel in early 2012 on the Food Network's "Restaurant: Impossible." Owners Giovanni Guerisoli and Cristina Locke, who have seven children, bought the building in 2003 and later fell victim to health troubles and a bad economy.

    Barolo's last day was May 1. Guerisoli and Locke will continue operating the hotel side of the building.

    A soft opening for Booka is planned for next week, starting with lunch and dinner service. For updates, check next week's edition of Quick Bites or search Facebook for Booka Restaurant &

    • Mary says:

      This doesn't really make much difference it's still the same owners, they just hired on new partner chiefs to revamp their space with a new restaurant concept. They will probably use much of the same décor as before because the building is a historic building so you can't make too many alterations. The RI crew was clever in working around some of those challenges. The owners did the right thing because they both have health problems that are very serious. They should hire a hotel manager and proper staff and retire from the hotel too.

    • Guest says:

      Appreciate your comments about Bayview Hotel. It was, indeed, an interesting program for Restaurant Impossible..fascinating owners in many ways. It seemed obvious that they would close. The owners were overwhelmed and seemed as though it would not be a follow through success, as there were many problems to overcome. Sorry that Cristina fell ill. Very happy a new restaurant is going into such a wonderful site. Good luck to Booka Restaurant and Bar. Much success to you.

  6. JoAnne says:

    Are you even from this country? Robert is obviously not an American, and as such, will pronounce words differently than we do. The reason I asked that is because even in the United States, people prononce words differently. I have heard people on the East Coast say "stoa" instead of store; people down south say "y'all" instead of you. Would I ever correct them? No. Am I cultured? Very much so. Part of being cultured is NOT pointing out others' mistakes or use of idioms, correct or not. THAT, my friend, is true culture.

  7. elgee says:

    Where's Tom and Taniya or Cheryl? Missed them this episode. Didn't enjoy the designer/contractor this go-round.

  8. Munchichic says:

    I have watched this episode a few times and it's running now. I am saddened to hear both aspects of the owners' businesses have closed. I find myself wondering what happened to Cristina and Giovanni. Although no business is involved, I find I am in a similar situation maritally with my husband of 14 years. I am struggling to understand him and have tried to replace the love we shared with buying/keeping things to fill the void. My husband has a bad temper, is easily frustrated and takes it out on me.

    Actually, the "business" aspect for me is the US Navy. We made it through him making Chief, but are crippled by a bout of severe depression brought on by a heartburn medication. This was never treated which has lead to a tumultuous relationship. The reason I'm mentioning this is because there is a human aspect to the show, and this story in patricular resonates with me profoundly. What sort of help did the couple receive? In my personal situation, I believe the honest, yet firm words like Richard provided may provide some insight and motivation for us.

    My husband and I are struggling terribly and are on the verge of divorce, just because we can't talk to each other. Counseling has "helped", but my husband is in denial, and I believe an intervention like RI provides may be our last chance.

  9. William Barnes says:

    I am very sorry that the owners of Baralo were not able to keep their business going do to illness. I have been sick most of my life from affects of Encephalitis when six and Polio when I was twelve. I missed out on sports and joining a service for my country (USA). The owners did seem to try and work things out but serious illness will generally win out in the end. I consider myself a very good cook. And I would of loved to of opened a business which would of served breakfast food all day and steaks. I very good restaurant in Charlottesville,Virginia called Tip Top Restaurant has very excellent breakfast all day along with very good Italian food. Another most excellent business is Tavern on the Rail in Mineral,Virginia,it serves excellent steaks and seafood such as oaysters fried.

  10. MTR says:

    Organic is overpriced BS

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