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. Shaggy says:

    WaaaaWaaaa….computer hard to use….WaaaaWaaa…me cry….

  2. Desma says:

    Pleeease!! Post the follow up results at the end of the show as you did before!

  3. Guest says:

    Habitat for Humanity here in Colorado will come and take out what is not wanted.

  4. Donna says:

    I'm still wondering how the 10k was spent. I just don't see it in the redesign.

  5. BigDog says:

    Ate there 3 times in the last 3 days – lunch on Friday and breakfast with different folks on Saturday and Sunday. I'm a vegetarian and I was really pleased to find that they had vegetarian choices for both lunch and breakfast. Someone mentioned the "Seat Yourself" problem. No, there is no sign, but on our first visit the staff saw us as we walked in and told us to just take any seat. Lunch was great all around – one had soup, one a burger – huge and tasty, and I had the Hippie veggie sandwich. Breakfast was a little more mixed – both times I had a veggie omelet (they have 3 choices) and both times they were GREAT. One of our party had the pancakes and thought they were good, not great. Others had omelets and they though the were fair. Overall, this is a place we now have on our list to go often. The staff was REALLY friendly and kept the drinks filled and kept checking back without being annoying. All 3 times the cafe was busy but not packed. Food arrival was timely. Sunday it took a bit but it appeared we had come in after 4 tables got seated, so no worry there.

  6. debco says:

    Out of curiosity, instead of beefing/complaining about the practice,have any of you thought of SUGGESTING these ideas to the show or its sponsors? Robert appears to be a very concerned, caring individual and he would probably appreciate the suggestion. It would be a great way to get a little extra free labor to move discarded items plus provide a benefit for the community.

  7. Marvin says:

    Their Facebook page is still full of photos of the old, pre-renovation Zandi's and they say nothing about the fact that they had a total makeover. No menu. No pics of food. No zip. These girls are what? Lazy? Stupid?

    • lukebandit says:

      BOTH! They wouldn't hire a chef (a real cook) in 3 years, but in 3 hours had 2 chefs coming in the next morning at 930am. Those 2 guys that Robert got to cook were CLUELESS! How those sisters couldn't figure this one out is beyond me. If they would of hired a chef in the beginning they would of already had paid their mother back. The stress on the mother is so wrong!

  8. ponderingpastor says:

    This place still has a log ways to go. We went today for breakfast. The food was ok. The old Zandi's Grill sign is against the wall in the entryway behind a plant. Hanging on to the old? Service was poor. We waited 15 minutes for our check after our dishes were cleared. There were people there, so maybe things are better for the restaurant.

  9. Mandie Ache says:

    It looks to me that this site doesnt download in a Motorola Droid. Are other folks getting the same problem? I enjoy this web site and dont want to have to miss it any time Im gone from my computer.

  10. Kev says:

    I don't know what people expect for service. We visited last week and they couldn't have been more attentive, the food was good, hot and delivered in a reasonable amount of time. It is a nice, out of the way, local establishment. Do we really need another place where we can't get in the door? Zandi's is Millersville's best kept secret.

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