Restaurant Revisited: Italian Village

by in Shows, August 1st, 2012

Robert Irvine at Italian Village

At Italian Village in Milmont Park, Pa., Rob Mellon Sr. and his son Rob Jr. desperately needed Robert Irvine’s help to return their 30-year-old restaurant to its early glory days. It was a big job: Robert and his team not only had to overhaul the menu and dark interior, but also remedy long-standing issues between father and son that were hurting the business. We checked in with the owners a few months after their Restaurant: Impossible intervention to see how the restaurant is faring.

Since Robert and Restaurant: Impossible visited, sales at Italian Village are up 18%.

The owners took Robert’s advice and reduced the number of menu items to about 30. Robert’s recipe for Drunken Penne remains on the menu and is a big hit: “Almost every night, somebody orders it,” says Rob Sr.

The new chef’s table has proven to be a great asset for private events: “We just used it for a small event — a golf outing — just last week with some of our regular customers. They loved it.”

On the weekends, the Mellons have seen crowds at the bar, with many customers eating dinner up there. They are now planning to install flat-screen TVs above the bar: “We want to make it more of a hot spot for sporting events,” Rob Sr. explains.

The mouse problem is now under control. After the show, Rob Sr. contacted the extermination company and met with their regional manager. They sent out a new exterminator who now inspects the restaurant three to four times a month. Rob Sr. personally follows the exterminator around to ensure that there are no more mice found.

The relationship between Rob Sr. and Rob Jr. has greatly improved in the past few months. Rob Sr. is opening up the books to his son so that he can help with the finances. “Rob Jr. is more engaged and interested than ever before,” says Rob Sr. “Communication between us is much better. We’re now talking instead of yelling.”

More from Restaurant Revisited:

Zandi’s (July 25)

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 (158)

  1. Gene Horner says:

    I think anyone that has a restaurant or would want to get into the restaurant business, would gain to watch
    this program.

  2. Texzilla says:

    How do the places on these shows pass health code? That much vermin does not just show up. As desiccated as those mice were they have been there awhile. I call complete bull on these people. I would never eat in this place.

    These folks got a free remodel and a big commercial. Robert should be busting on these folks much tougher.

    • Linda says:

      They had an exterminator company there and they were failing to do their job. The mice were hidden and they could not see them. They were not to blame. Robert saw to it that they were rid of them. The mouse are gone no need not to go there. If he closed all the businesses down with vermin or bugs, he would have to close down his show because most of them have some ;problem.

  3. Lisa says:

    As a local who has been to IV many times over many years I can tell you that the bar area is essentially separate from the main dining room and adding a TV behind the bar would not affect the atmosphere of the dining room negatively. Rob Sr said they were going to put a TV in the bar area NOT the dining area.

    As for the negative comments about Delco residents…..as an educated, intelligent, hard working LIFELONG resident of Ridley Township I shouldn't even waste my time responding to you but every region/town/county has residents that may be less than desirable…..maybe you are the undesirable of your precious county! If you don't like Delco, stay out!

    Good luck Mellon family!!!!

    • Nini says:

      The Mellon family needed this intervention more than anyone I have witnessed!
      they were on a downward spiral. The rodant problem was just almost unforgiveable..owners should be more on top of every aspect of their business especially cleanliness first! Restaurant Impossible is more wonderful for the paying public than the owners and have probably saved a lot of lives.

  4. Shane says:

    wow so many negativity on the board

  5. Melissa says:

    You must be a jealous ex-lover to even mention something like that. The show surely didn't mention it because that's wasn't an issue Mr. @alexanTURD.

  6. Ziggy says:

    I haven't been to Italian Village since the mid 90s – Looking forward to giving it a whirl with my wife soon. And screw the naysayers… The dude who was bashing Delco's clearly a 'burb hatin' jealous Kenso… hehe

  7. Kelly says:

    I usually do not comment on blogs but after reading all the mean spirited comments I felt compelled to voice my opinion on this particular one. Not only am I a former employee (worked there for 11years) but I am also a second cousin to Rob Sr. With that said, let me start off by saying I worked in three different restaurants, the Italian village being the last one. The reason I left the first two was due to the fact that they were filthy,over run with roaches,mice,bugs, ect. ect. After leaving the second restaurant I called Rob Sr. (Robbie) as I call him, and without hesitation he hired me.
    When I arrived on my first day and went into the kitchen I was amazed at how spotless it was! The employees were so friendly and professional, they took me right under their wing and made me feel at home. I thought I had died and gone to restaurant heaven! Rob and Jim and their wives were wonderful bosses. They had a true knack at being professional yet made you feel like you were important at the same time, a quality which is very hard to find. The restaurant business is an extremely difficult business to be involved in. I don't think people truly know the amount of hours one puts in to make it successful. Rob and his family were there day and night. There was never a time you walked into that restaurant without either Rob or Jim being there. I myself don't know how they did it and not only did they do it, they did it with a smile on their faces. Some of the best times I had were in the Italian Village.
    So now that you know a little of my background you can imagine how upsetting it was to me to read such mean spirited comments about a person I hold in the highest regards. I know everyone has a right to their opinion but to bash someone's character and parenting skills when you know nothing about them is an absolute DISGRACE in my book! Why would you take joy in kicking someone when they are down? What kind of example are you setting for our children? One of the most important tasks as a parent is to teach our children the importance of being compassionate , loving and respectful to others which is very difficult when there is this kind of hate in the world. Shame on you!!!!
    Rob Sr. Is a wonderful father,husband,son,friend and all around great person. Anyone that knows him personally knows this to be true. Let's leave the judgement of his personal life to the only one whom has the right to judge and that being God himself!!
    Best of luck to the Italian Village, I can't wait to see it!

    • Norman says:

      That's all well and good, but people don't really care how nice of a family they are. When I go to a restaurant, I want good food and good service. Cleanliness is a given, but without food and service, nothing else matters. Even if the place looks like it hasn't changed since 1965, I'd go if the food and service are tops. This is a business, and people are likely more commenting on them as business people. Clearly they weren't doing a great job: not reinvesting in their business, so-so food, lack of leadership, etc. Nice people often don't make good managers.

      • Helena says:

        What I would like to know is how many people that are judging and making negative comments followed your own dreams or started your own companies? It is common sense you only see bits and pieces on tv not the whole story.

        • mike says:

          I know where Kelly is coming from. I have worked at an Italian restaurant. I disagree, it does matter how the owner is in respects to personality. The set the tone for EVERYTHING. Do you think if you have jack for a manager or owner your getting the best out of the employees. From experience I say no. Respect is what makes a good manager. Nobody respects a jackass. They may fear him, but not for long if they walk out the door. But if you read Kelly's comment the emphasis was on the cleanliness and change of atmosphere in comparison to past experience.

    • LLM says:

      Hi Kelly. Most folks don't realize that owners of their own business work 10 times as hard for themselves as they would for someone else. Running your own business is much harder than working for someone else, and letting them shoulder all the responsibilities of having everything ready to go for you when you walk through the door. This seems like a nice family, and the son had some very good ideas. The father just had the issue a lot of management faces: he got into one way of thinking and had trouble seeing outside that box. Fears of failing not only yourself but your family can cause people to hold on as tight as they can, when letting go would actually do them more good.

      That's not the mark of a bad person: it's the mark of someone who maybe cares too much. It often takes an outside influence coming in and pointing this out to us to get us to see that we can hold onto something too tightly for our own good. It's great that the father had an opportunity like this one to make him aware of this and help him let go enough to give his son the chance he deserves. The son really did have some good ideas, but even he hadn't thought about what Robert suggested: a compromise where, for example, they bought some of the plates needed to revamp the restaurant's food presentation a few at a time as they could afford it. So hopefully he learned something from Robert in that area that he can use in future negotiations as well. Because once we quit learning, we're done, whatever our field.

      After seeing the show, I really feel these folks have what they need to be a success in their store. I'm happy that they're doing well, and hope they continue to flourish. Great of you to step in and defend them. More families need to be loyal like you. Sadly, many act more like traitors to their own flesh and blood, bad-mouthing them every bit as much as the trolls on this blog here are doing. (Kind of makes you wonder what type of 'support' they offer their own families–sad.) Nice to see your kind of loyalty, and ignore anyone who says different–they'd probably sell their own kid for a dime. (Anyone can see these trolls are just eaten up by envy.) Good luck to you and your family!

  8. Cindy says:

    He said he didn't want to be involved himself

  9. Cindy says:

    I think Tanya is the best designer/decorator and should be on every episode, love the show, love Robert!

    • Norman says:

      I like her too, although this one came out pretty nice.

    • Dave says:

      I think it is a pretty good bet that any of the designers Rob uses already have their own businesses and can't always be available when he needs them. I imagine the main reason they appear is to increase their marketing and exposure because they probably make far more from their clientele than they do from the show. It is amazing to me that the general contractor (Tim? Tom?) is there as often as he is, unless of course, business is otherwise slow for him.

  10. Norman says:

    It seems like RI has been to quite a few restaurants in SE PA/DE/NJ. But, it was neat to see a place I have a chance to visit. After watching the episode, I got the impression that the food wasn't terrible, so perhaps they have a shot at keeping food quality up. The place looked nice on TV, at least. They've certainly done worse.

    I would like to see more meal preparation and cooking and less family stuff. I'm not really interested in watching a soap opera. I found it a little odd how Rob Sr agreed with everything Robert said so enthuiastically and yet couldn't figure that out himself? It always amazes me to see struggling restaurants around here that just don't get it. If people aren't coming in, then YOU are doing something wrong.

    We love to eat out and generally I can be found in a restaurant at least 8 times a week, so I know what makes me return and there are plenty of places I won't return to around in Delco. Philly is too expensive and most places there are no better, just twice the price. I've yet to find a moderately priced restaurant in Philly with good service and good food.

    Good luck to the owners, it would be great to have a family-owned local restaurant serving great food coupled with great service.

    I will say that this Food Network web site is pathetic. Seems like a few interns developed it during the summer. Really, for such a well-known organization with such snazzy shows, this site is lame: slow, hard to navigate (try browsing recipes) and this "blog" is really silly.

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