Robert Irvine’s Top 5 Most-Memorable Restaurant Impossible Episodes

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, August 20th, 2012

robert irvine ac wine and food festival
In honor of the 50th episode of Restaurant: Impossible, “Behind the Impossible,” Robert Irvine sat down with us at the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival at Caesars Hotel & Casino (where he spent time as their culinary director at the beginning of his career) to share some of his most memorable moments from past seasons. While he did have a party in Philadelphia to celebrate the milestone, he’s already filming future episodes saying, “it’s 50 and then we keep on going.”

1. At The Main Dish in Meridianville, Ala., Robert turned a sad and neglected restaurant into a comfortable, sophisticated eatery, and gave a new lease on life for Lynn and Ken Tverberg. Check out how the restaurant is doing now in our Restaurant Revisited.

robert irvine2. The level of dirtiness at Anna Maria’s in Dunmore, Pa., is where Robert went through the worst kitchen he’d ever seen. The kitchen was so dirty that Robert wouldn’t even let the customers continue to eat after he saw the mess of dirt and filth and grease.

3. When he headed to Harrisburg, Pa., in an effort to try and save Doug and Debbie Krick’s restaurant, Dodge City USA, from closing its doors after 30 years of service, Robert was touched by the compassion shown by its owners.

4. The overwhelming success of restaurant The Trails in San Diego, Calif., and its owner Stacey Poon-Kinney ranks as a top moment that just keeps going. robert irvineThe restaurant just recently turned $1.1 million in sales, a 66% increase since the renovations.


5. Robert visited a school garden grown by the nonprofit Horton’s Kids organization in Washington, D.C., with first lady Michelle Obama, who Robert found to be an amazing human being. “She was supposed to spend an hour with me but instead she canceled an appointment on Capitol Hill to talk to every kid and mom that was there,” Robert said. Find out how Horton’s Kids is doing in our Restaurant Revisited.

Robert keeps in contact with all of the restaurants (except, apparently, one guy who he didn’t like), and they are like his extended family. Tune in to the 50th episode of Restaurant: Impossible on Wednesday, August 22, at 9pm.

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Comments (61)

  1. PB96 says:

    PLEEEESE FOOD NETWORK, JUST POST THE UPDATES AT THE END OF ALL RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE SHOWS WHEN THEY HAPPEN! I hate having to come to this website that is just awful in trying to locate things–even recipes listed! Because I have to come to this awful, very poorly constructed website, my interest in watching Restaurant Impossible has waned tremendously.

  2. Jay S. Daughtry says:

    I'd like to see a map of all Restaurant: Impossible renovations. We'll be near one on travels in the near future so it got me to thinking that there might be others for which I just haven't seen the episodes.

  3. Tom G says:

    The captain and the cowboy in Port Charlotte was made over and is now belly up. No amount of money and decor can cover for bad management. I remember the captain when the former owners ran the place and there was ALWAYS a 30-45 minute wait to get in.Just because a chef can cook doesn't mean they know the first thing about operating the front of the house. Service was better at Denny's after the current owner who Robert "helped" bought the restaurant. Such a shame, the best restaurant within 50 miles had to close because a clown bought it.

  4. Deirdre says:

    Love the show and it's intention. Would really like to know the outcomes during the show. Who has the time (even if we do have a computer) to keep looking all this stuff up? It seems strange to me that these restaurant owners call him in and then don't listen to what he "suggests". Don't they WATCH the show ????????

  5. Good day! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be ok. I'm undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

  6. MizzMinNM says:

    Initially, I loved this show because I liked the premise: help small, independently-owned businesses survive during tough, economic times, and encourage support of local businesses. But, after hearing that owners were over $300K in debt, and watching Robert Irvine blow up and verbally abuse the owners/staff, I can only stomach watching the last 10 minutes of the show. The reason why they no longer post "updates" in the trailers is because the show fails to dig people out of the hole they are in becauuse that hole is WAY TOO DEEP. Wallpaper and cheap flooring and light fixtures won't change it. The only redeeming quality of this show is exposing the filthy, disgusting conditions of commercial kitchens, so now I am more committed to cooking at home and avoiding restaurants. At least MY kitchen doesn't have dead mice decaying behind my stove, or in a cabinet. YUCK! I really do NOT want to see Robert Irvine retch on a weekly basis, and the sledgehammer/bully routine gets old after about 3 episodes.

    • GiveARat's says:

      I agree, I liked the premise too, and I respect Robert Irvine's knowledge, skills, and sensibilities. His rudeness doesn't even bother me so much, considering the framework of the show's premise. But parts of the show's formula became very tiresome very quickly. Irvine's frantic dealings with his designer and builder are ridiculous. And how anyone can call replacing a bunch of existing finishes and decorations with $10,000 worth of more junk finishes and decorations an improvement escapes me. Transformation, yes. Improvement, no. Not to mention, much of what is done truly is impossible to accomplish in the "two days" allotted.
      I am in the construction business, and without a lot of labor, very expensive equipment and unbelievable luck, paint, drywall mud, wood finishes, and such things do not dry quickly enough to allow this work to be finished in the time supposedly allotted. Suspension of belief? Sure, a little of that is OK now and then. But it gets stretched very thin, and every episode it's the same thing.
      If the show focused a little less on physical impossibilities and a little more on the impossibilities of changing people and procedures, it would hold interest a lot more firmly.

      • J Amera says:

        Agree with both of the posters above. The show was great the first few episodes but it soon became routine and predictable. Robert blusters and insults the people who are near rock bottom, then he breaks them and takes them down all the way, so he can build them back up. The urgency of the renovation is puzzling. Why does it need to be completed at the speed of light? Robert bellows commands and orders everyone to hurry up when they're already racing with the clock for some unknown reason. Why would any designer or builder put up with rude treatment like that? They wouldn't. So you see it is all an act. Then voila, everyone suddenly has an epiphany, everyone is all lovey-dovey now. People who couldn't manage 2 days ago have suddenly seen the light and have acquired the skills to succeed after years building up to failure. And it's all because the dirty carpet was replaced, some rearranging of the dining room, new upholstered chairs, Robert deciding on a new menu and showng the cooks a few pointers. My favorite episode was "Chatterbox" in Windham, NH where the widowed mother bought the restaurant for her 2 young sons to run. Robert supposedly turned it around (Staff and all). I had hoped it would work because I liked this family. But on visiting the area last month, I saw that the restaurant had closed. Robert blows a lot of wind into the sails, but it seems like that's where it ends.

  7. I signify “of cake” so yeah

  8. denisse says:

    anything else???znifff znifff

  9. Marcene Datu says:

    Wow!!! Enjoy the depth and reception pictures!! Oh, and every little thing in concerning! Gorgeous.

  10. Bruce Minder says:

    chef Irvine, You and your staff are amazing. Love what you do.
    How would I find out what flooring you use , I love the floor in Pier West Restaurant and would like to know what tile you used, And painting the ceiling was brilliant. Truly a great effort from all of you. I never miss a show.

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