Restaurant Revisited: University Grill

by in Shows, May 23rd, 2012

University Grill

At the University Grill in Burlington, N.C., Robert Irvine faced three co-owners who refused to get along. Siblings Eleni, George and Manny opened the restaurant five years ago to help provide for their retired parents, but they were facing failure when Restaurant: Impossible came along to help. We checked in with the siblings after their restaurant’s makeover to see how business is going.

A few months after Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team arrived on the scene, sales at the University Grill are up 15 percent. “Everyone loves the new decor,” says Eleni.

Salmon is the most popular dish on the new menu. Robert promised that if they switched from frozen to fresh salmon, it would be a big seller. He was right.

The owners are working on establishing formal guidelines and training for the staff. Local university students are helping them launch a new website.

Eleni is still running the restaurant, though George helps out some of the time. She has mostly kept up her promise to stay out of the kitchen, but she pitches in when they are busy or during breakfast. She is able to take one day off a week, as well as a couple of nights.

Eleni has brought on a new hostess and new servers and is now in the process of hiring an additional chef: “We’re still looking for that perfect match,” she says.

More from Restaurant Revisited:

Ristorante Barolo (May 16)

Pappas (May 9)

Mama Lee’s (May 2)

Pelican Grill (April 25)

Valley View (March 14)


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Comments (404)

  1. Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a tough time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  2. Tracey says:

    Just had dinner at this restaurant. Food was very good and reasonably priced. Unfortunately, the floors were really dirty and that turned me off. There was actually grime in the grout in the dining room. They also had shoved paper under one of the table legs to level it!

    • Scottie says:

      The grout is black, Robert Irvine chose it for the remodel. Now let me ask a couple of questions here.
      What were you doing on the floor to begin with? They have plenty of tables, booths and counters for you to choose from, they are always clean. As for the leveling of the table, again I ask, what are you doing on the floor and under the table. Most people drink themselves under the table while in a restaurant. Guess you felt that you were gonna be there eventually so you just started there, huh? It's even more amazing that the Health Department ratins are A's and you missed that.

    • Scottie says:

      If it was overpriced, why did you order to begin with? If it didn't taste right why didn't you ask them to correct the situation? You can even ask for food cooked with no seasoning. The older couple are the parents, the mom assisted with seating folks. The father has health problems, they were watching the front for Elena and staff just in case all happened to be in the kitchen at the same time. How many Zantac did you folks have to take because of that piece of paper under the chair leg? Did you have to get a tetnus shot or something because you can't tell black grout from dirt. Sounds to me like some competition paid you to complain. Hope it was worth it.

    • Michael says:

      I noticed the couple when I was there. I saw that the man would kind of wander off a little and the lady would gently guide him back. I surmised that he may have some dementia. Having just just lost my father-in-law to this I felt compassion towards them and was impressed with the lady working and helping him at the same time. I was curious though so I asked her about him when we were checking out and indeed she was the mother and he the father. She was very kind to talk with me.

      Also, the food was excellent! I tried the carrot casserole and loved it so much I went back at another date just for that! If you are looking for fattening food that is cheap, this is not the place. If you are looking for good for reasonably priced University Grill should be on your "fav" list.

      Give it another try.

  3. After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is a way you are able to remove me from that service? Cheers!

  4. Sophia I. says:

    I don't have to watch the whole hour long show anymore- the first and last 10 minutes gives enough information and the before and after of the decor- then look it up online for the updates that were the "can't miss this part" of the show.

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  6. Ed Mc says:

    I absolutely hate the fact that I have to go online after the show has ended to get an uodate on how the restaurants are doing after robert leaves. Whoever was the studio exec that came up with that idea is an IDIOT!!!! y should waste a valuable hour of my time watching the show (which i love btw), to leave me hanging at the end, then have to take more of my valuable time to now go online and get the update.

    As a result I have switched to another channel on Wednesday nites. How asinine can one be to assume u have the right to dictate my time with such an stupid and disrepectful marketing move. When the IDIOT'S change it back, i will start watching again.

  7. Beth says:

    My husband and I ate here recently and enjoyed the food and atmosphere. We thought the prices were reasonable.

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