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. sherry walter says:

    I would like to see Chef Irvine go back and revisit the places and if they failed well then they failed but it may cut down on the heresay that is posted ..Thank-you.

  2. Ginny C says:

    I would like to know if the health inspector ever inspected Kalico Kitchen before Robert and his crew cleaned it up. This is a disgrace.

  3. Anonymous says:

    thank you for serving us. i wish u the best of luck

  4. Ronda Lusk says:

    Way to go I am so HAPPY your back on your feet and keep up the good work :)

  5. Tucker says:

    Not surprised to hear that the restaurant is shut down. Once a pig sty, ALWAYS a pig sty. I knew this guy wouldn't keep it clean!

  6. Maribel says:


  7. gary says:

    I like mama lee's episode and what is the latest like last week.

  8. samary reyes says:

    i love you show mama lee's i love this show i cry see ken cry but you robert and team are the best love oll you guys GoodBlees you Robert and you team

  9. Jo-Ann says:

    Mamma Lee's Kitchen closed about two months ago as reported in the San Antonio Express News Too bad.

  10. Tonya says:

    Not surprising that it closed down. If there is one thing that we as Americans do best is take the handout and then do nothing…. When will we learn? Ownership breeds responsibility! Instead of giving someone everything make them earn it.
    What a waist.
    Why do we reward someone who was serving the public in a roach infested kitchen a new kitchen?

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