Restaurant Revisited: Mama Lee’s

by in Shows, May 2nd, 2012

Mama Lee'sWhen Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team visited Mama Lee’s soul food restaurant in San Antonio, it had never turned a profit and was just weeks away from closing down. A few months after Robert’s major revamp — he even called in reinforcements from HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins — we caught up with Ken, the owner, to see how business is going.

Four months later, Mama Lee’s is closer to turning a profit. Sales are up 15 percent and Ken is seeing many new customers in addition to his old regulars. With the increase in sales, he is slowly catching up on overdue bills.

Ken still feels reinvigorated as a leader. “We’re holding staff meetings every other Sunday,” he told us, in order to address service issues and discuss customer feedback. “I’m re-energized.”

The restaurant is now a source of pride for Ken and his crew. They are cleaning the new kitchen daily, and the vents are cleaned once a week. Weekly visits from the exterminator have eliminated the roach problem. “The guys are taking pride in the restaurant, and that is reflected in our actions.”

The new decor is a big hit with customers, who talk most about the frying-pan flowers on the walls. Ken’s favorite part is the new bar. He has applied for a liquor license, which he expects will help boost sales even higher.

More from Restaurant Revisited:

Valley View (March 14)

Pelican Grill (April 25)

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Comments (1,095)

  1. Screamer_89 says:

    Wow 15 percent up in sales, he was right when the only direction this restaurant can go is UP!!! Great job on this restaurant. Keep that positive energy up.

  2. Bryan Hurdle says:

    it blows me away at all the negtive comments about this show. Out of all the crap reality on TV this show is actually making a differance in peoples lives and futures. Those of you who have complained about having to log on to get an update somehow found time to voice your opinion. I have never been angry because my show did not update me on the progress report. It sounds to me like maybe the curtains need to be opened and the butt moved from the couch and get out of the house for ten min. a day and participate in human interaction. I thought the Mama Lees episode was my favorite yet and the ending was very moving. I love the work the team does, decieving or not, 48 hors or not, pre-planned or not. The genorous gift to that family was amazing and Food Netork and Chef Irvine should be honord for the work they have done at all of their filming locations. God help us if you bloggors are ever put in a tough spot in life, like the old government check is a day late or the Golden Corral dessert bar closes early. Get a life people and try to do something nice for a neighbor instead of 3 helpings of loaded fries for yourselves. You go Chef Irvine and team, keep changing/ saving lives. My #1 fav. show on TV.

  3. B.J says:

    I see a big change in the renovation of the resturant and the food they were the most appreciative that I have seen on this show and GOD forever bless this business and I will Keep the business and the owners in prayer because GOD is a good GOD all the time and Robert heads up for all that you are doing to change these peoples lives GOD will forever reward you in all that you do and thank you so much for keeping it real with your clients it really helps them to face reality……God forever Bless you

  4. Rick Berry says:

    I went to the Mama Lees website and see they now have two locations? But, the website is very poorly done. The photos of the food look nothing like the dishes Chef RI prepared? How could you go from being so deeply in debt to opening another location… when your sales have only increased by 15%. ???

  5. Pete Wilson says:

    What a heartfelt episode,chef Irvine is. Truly a perfectionist/professional Mike his. Roles taken,I also would like to applaud the Ace supply owner for. His generosity. That was really Big of him . Love your show Thomas death. God bless you Android your teams chef…

  6. Kyandy says:

    Mama Lee's had the grossest kitchen I ever saw. Ever! I watch alot of restuarant shows but Robert, his team and Kitchen Cousins had to create magic from roaches.

    Not my favorite episode because he yelled too much this time (ok it was needed but I didn't want to see it.)

  7. Austin Texas says:

    Loved this one about Mamalee, being from Texas I would love to visit there, originally from Austin!!
    I really hope the restaurant succeeds. Seems like a great group of guys!!!

  8. Dave says:

    Seen the show on Sunday 11/25/12 and was amazed at your builders and designers did with Mama Lee's place. So good to see our vet held up by community and others. Was tearful moments throughout the show. Glad the restaurant is doing well. Great show !

  9. Brenda says:

    wow – I cannot believe you allow all the spam comments on your site to be posted. It shows that you are not paying attention to what people are saying. Because this is a wordpress blog there are settings that will help you filter some of these posts out.

    Its really too bad. I came to the site after watching the Nanny Goat restaurant but was sad to see that the comments were mainly spam. Plus you are in danger of getting flagged by the search engines.

    You guys are better than this!!!!

    If you need a few pointers I can be contacted.

  10. frankie says:

    I guess you can't predict who will do well, but they are given excellent help and can turn anything that Robert takes on. The problem can be that people revert back to their old habits. How could people around the owners allow them to do that. Well Robert you and your people do a remarkable job. Please continue to allow those that you help to stand on your shoulders.

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