Restaurant Revisited: Zandi’s

by in Shows, July 25th, 2012


At Zandi’s in Millersville, Md., sisters and co-owners Evette Aponte and Yvonne Zandi were just a few months from closing down when Robert Irvine showed up. He was discouraged to find not only lackluster food, poor service and tired decor, but a lack of passion on the part of the owners. A few months after their emotional Restaurant: Impossible makeover, we checked in with Evette and Yvonne to see how business is going.

Since Robert’s Restaurant: Impossible intervention, sales at Zandi’s are up 39%. They’ve gone from roughly 30 customers per day up to 70. Evette and Yvonne are slowly catching up on their debt and will soon be able to start paying their mother back.

Evette and Yvonne have made great headway to get the word out about their restaurant and its out-of-the-way location. They fax out specials for the day to local businesses and have distributed menus around town. “We’re also the main sponsor for a local high school; they put our business information on their sporting event handouts such as cups, shirts and rally towels,” they explain.

“Everyone loves the new look! Our favorite changes are the new floor and [interior designer] Taniya’s wall art.” Evette and Yvonne’s mom also likes the changes and is optimistic that business will continue to grow.

The chef that the owners hired, Alan, is no longer at the restaurant. The sisters were able to find a new replacement who has impressed everyone so far. Zandi’s used to hire chefs based solely on their resumes; now, thanks to Robert, they have any chef candidate cook for them as part of the interview process.

Regarding the menu, Evette and Yvonne learned from Robert that less is more, and they’ve stuck with “fewer menu items prepared really well opposed to a lot of items done mediocre.” Customers love the burgers, and milkshake sales are picking up for the summer. They are now gearing up to start serving dinner a few nights a week and are working to secure a beer and wine license.

“Our passion is back and gets stronger as we slowly get caught up on our debt,” Evette and Yvonne say. “We are proud to say we own Zandi’s.”

More from Restaurant Revisited:

The Main Dish (July 18)

Longbranch Steak and Seafood (July 11)

Horton’s Kids (June 13)

Pollard’s (May 30)

University Grill (May 23)

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 (330)

  1. Lisa says:

    That new chef is pretty cute! Seems like he would be basis for success… Is he still running the kitchen I wonder?

    • Karen says:

      Who, Alan?
      Nah, he's currently enjoying his days with a nice steady buzz while catching some rays.
      Thanks for the compliment, I'll pass it along to him.

  2. Crystal says:

    The Mahi burger looks incredible! I wish I could have the experience of eating this burger at some point but I live in the Midwest so it seems so far to travel. Keep the place open so I can dream of stopping by!

  3. Jim says:

    Am I the only one who saw the totally over cooked omelette during the relaunch they served and some lady saying it was the best one she has ever eaten?? LOL, come on, that thing looked hideous. I see that chef left, so hopefully they are better off now then during that episode.

    • Sam says:

      Jim i know for a fact that the chef they featured did not cook that omelet, during the filming they had the chef calling tickets and doing the expo while the 2 cooks would go down for "Reality TV" purpose!!

    • sonoranrant says:

      I also noticed that over cooked omelette. But at that stage of the show I don't think they would put you or me on with our opinion. Nothing but happy diners.

    • SueB says:

      I thought the same thing. If that was the omelette that I was served…I would have sent it back. I can made a better one at home!

    • @captaindot says:

      I noticed that too, Jim. Omelets are not brown. They are very light yellow.

    • Freddie says:

      Jim. I just watched the episode and I COMPLETELY agree with your observation about the overcooked omelette! I absolutely despise any "brown" color on omelettes, scrambled eggs, etc. As my Dad says, it indicates a "lack of attention". Frankly, I can't believe they served this omelette. If the customer requested an omelette that was cooked like a fritter, by all means serve them that omelette. However, I would NEVER serve an omelette that looked like a deep fried burrito!

  4. lynda rossi says:

    So happy they are doing well. I have a suggestion to make the place easier to see. The two trees out in front shoud be decorated with lights, maybe even purple to match decor. So easy to spot the place if you see the trees all litt up with colorful lights. Easy to direct everyone to their restaurant, just look for the purple lights on the trees!!!

  5. Gail C. says:

    Poor location is continuing to hurt this business. The remodel was nice, but no one knows about the business outside of spam marketing.
    This business is on the brink of collapse.

  6. LeslieF says:

    We stopped for lunch a couple of weeks ago after seeing the episode. We stood by the door while the staff looked at us and didn't help seat us. I finally asked a waitress if we should seat ourselves and she said yes. I noticed other customers coming in afterwards with the same problem. A sign saying "Please seat yourself" would have been nice. The waitress was friendly enough. We waited about 50 minutes for our food. The last 15 minutes we were told 3 times that "your food is on its way." Finally the waitress said, "Are you okay? If you want to leave, I'll understand." I took that as "Yup! Your food is nowhere near being 'on its way.'" I politely went to the register to at least pay for our drinks and the chubby sister copped an attitude with me. "Well, your food is almost ready." I couldn't get out of there fast enough! Two thumbs down, don't waste your time, and I hope Robert reads this and the place finally goes out of business! They learned nothing!

    • Kenyatta says:

      Whe my husnabmd and I attempted to eat lunch the same thing happened soweledt!!!!

    • Hailey says:

      That's no way somebody should be treated. You would think that a restaurant that has been featured on T.V. would try to keep a good reputation.

    • Kelly from Maryland says:

      My husband and I went there for breakfast a couple of months ago. The service was awesome and the food incredible. You had a bad experience…it doesn't mean "they learned nothing". I think they have turned the place around and have a new outlook. Yes, I agree the location isn't the best but the best advertisement is word of mouth, and in this area, the word is good :)

  7. Seeing the positive says:

    I would ask Karen, then, why are you watching? I don't think the premise of the show has changed, however we are all entitled to our opinion. I do find it interesting that although true enough that some "people in the US don't have computers" you made your opinion known on a computer. Additionally, the choice to or not to have a computer or a television for that matter, is a personal choice and just as recipes are shared via the website, there is a purpose for shows to invite the viewer to their website. Finally, receiving a makeover for $10,000 is a gift. Those on the show request that gift and the help and guidance given knowing that. I find it sad that someone would take the time to pick apart something meant as nothing more than a kindness and a chance for small business owners to improve and/or save their livlihood – not to mention the free advertisement which comes with it.

    • Seeing the positive says:

      Clearly, my intellectual superior! So….what, I don't have the "secret hand-shake" to make a comment?

      • ReturnEndings2Show says:

        guess not, but i see a troll and i respond to the troll and the troll responds back :D "thanks for playing"

        • Seeing the positive says:

          Your opinions are warrented, while opposing views are not?
          Insults are your answer to opposing views?
          Name calling makes you feel superior?
          I have not intention of "playing", however it seems all too frequent that nasty, negative comments are made, and if they are challenged, the nastiness goes to a new level. I have not insulted you, simply asked that you articulate why your opinion is the only one that counts?

          • Guest says:

            Karen is the troll.

          • Gail says:

            Nah, Karen's not the troll…both you and STPos are trolls. You're a troll for getting into it and she's the troll because not only does she spout off when no one's asking for her response to a previous opinion, she also cannot spell nor does she punctuate properly. There you have it! Me? I'm a sometimes troll (like now), but usually pretty opinionated…oh yea, like now!

  8. TravisDylan says:

    So you can't be bothered to come to the site for an update on how the restaurant is doing, but you can bothered to come to the site to post that you don't want to be bothered to come to the site? Think about it.

  9. Don says:

    I had exactly the same thought when I saw that.

  10. carrie says:

    I actually have had the same complaint about some of the things they have placed in a dumpster!

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