Restaurant Revisited: Frankie’s

by in Shows, September 5th, 2012

Robert Irvine at Frankie's on Restaurant: Impossible

When Robert Irvine visited Frankie’s in Three Rivers, Mich., he found a dusty, outdated restaurant with dangerous levels of food safety and a kitchen stocked with more microwaves than pots and pans. After meeting owners Jay Woehrmyer and Tina Wyman, however, he realized that poor management and a lack of leadership were their biggest problems. Robert had just two days to turn around this 13-year-old restaurant and attempt to fix Jay and Tina’s failing partnership. We checked in with Jay and Tina to find out how they and Frankie’s are doing a few months after their Restaurant: Impossible experience.

Since Robert left, sales at Frankie’s have risen 39 percent, and Jay and Tina report that the makeover is attracting new customers. Both count the new open layout of the restaurant among their favorite parts of the decor.

The kitchen staff is adjusting well to Robert’s popular new menu, and Frankie’s is now serving daily specials. They’re no longer serving the mussels, rib-eye and walleye as customer demand wasn’t high enough to keep ingredients fresh.

The owners have taken Robert’s food-handling suggestions to heart. They now ensure that their products are fresh and that raw and precooked items don’t mix. Though the restaurant still uses the pizza oven to prepare many of its dishes, it is no longer as dependent upon its collection of microwaves, relying on them mostly “to keep food warm” and to cook burritos.

Perhaps most importantly, Jay and Tina have taken steps to improve their professional relationship. As Jay’s wife, Debbie, told us, “they still have their ups and downs. But they are communicating with each other instead of intentionally ignoring one another. Robert did a good job pointing out that working together is what is needed to keep the restaurant running.” The pair now meet twice a week to discuss the business, and both owners say that Restaurant: Impossible has changed their partnership for the better.

More From Restaurant Revisited:

Gusanoz (August 29)

Stella’s (August 8)

Italian Village (August 1)

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 (75)

  1. TIMFOODREVIEW13 says:

    April 20, 2013. Drove 120 miles round trip to dine at Frankie's in Three Rivers. Drove up, parking lot was slightly full. Good Sign. Once entered, we stood and after a few minutes someone finally came up and seated us. Our waitress didn't know the menu, had never tried any of the dishes. She took our order. Our appetizer was served before our drinks. An associate waitress made sure our dirty dishes were removed. Our main course was delicious and well worth the trip. Service was poor. Waitress didn't have much training. The owner went to many tables circled us but never stopped to say hello. After such a drive just to visit their restaurant it would of been nice to share what a thrill it was to dine at his estabishment. I thanked the associate waitress for her great service, since she was the one that mainly took care of us. Would we go again? Yes for the food but not NOT the service.

  2. Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs rather more consideration. I’ll in all probability be again to read much more, thanks for that info.

  3. Dogwalker says:

    Frankie's was much, much better years ago when Dave was managing the restaurant. Went there once since the show and was not impressed. Not on my list of favorite restaurants.

  4. Bryan Rawlings says:

    Have been to Frankie's many times before the makeover and 5 times since. Have had a great meal every time since makeover and good service, will continue to go back. Good work Frankie's!

  5. Steve says:

    The wife and I decided to try Frankies the other night since we hadn't been there in several years and saw the show. The food was awful and will not return. I had the all you can eat fish. I couldn't even finish the first serving. The fish was of poor quality and greasy.

  6. Vicki says:

    My favorite show, I love it !!!

  7. says:

    wew, Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs rather more consideration. I’ll in all probability be again to read much more, thanks for that info.

  8. but… Frankie's has good Pizza too ;)

  9. Dan says:

    I have been to Frankies several times over the past few years. Once within a week of the show being there, Once about 6 months after the show aired, and again about 2 weeks ago. On our first visit, I was impressed. Just disappointed that the items that were Chef Robert's recipes that my girls wanted to try were no longer available. The second time I went, the atmosphere had begun to regress, back to the same as when I was there before.
    This past time I went, other than the wall paint, light fixtures, decor, you would never guess the show had been there. Not one item left on the menu from the show. TVs back up all over the walls, especially in the bar area. And the atmosphere was right back to what it used to be, just a typical small town bar. At this point, the only reason I will go back to Frankies, is if my girls and I want to watch a movie at the theater nearby and aren't in the mood for fast food.

  10. Karen says:

    Are you speaking about Frankie's in 3 rivers?

  11. betsy says:

    that is sad jen, i used to love this restaurant until i moved away

  12. Mark says:

    Shoot I was gonna give the place a try

  13. FNGossip says:

    It simply goes up due to the free publicity Restaurant Impossible brings.

  14. Chris says:

    You should go try the restuarant, then decide for yourself if it was worth the try everyone has their own opinion on how the service was and how good the food was.

  15. Vanessa says:

    I am not sure if you watched the whole episode or not, but Robert most certainly did address the food/kitchen issues. He addressed the cooking habits, the lack of kitchen utensils, and he gave them just as many new recipes as the other restaurants. He also remodeled the kitchen, because I know that I don't pay a pretty penny at a restaurant for left overs or reheated food, I would save my money, stay home and do it myself I am not sure what established nation pizza corporation/franchise you work for but it is probably Papa Johns or Pizza Hut, both of which gives everyone diarrhea. And everyone knows that any successful restaurant serves "decent" food, not delicious food.

  16. Desi says:

    No. The whole pizza thing is because they were putting RAW MEAT on the pizzas. Which you don't do. Period. Especially hamburger meat which is what they were using. You need to cook it or else you could get sick from it.

  17. tarc says:

    If they cooked it in microwaves, I wouldn't feed it to my dog. And no it's not decent – imagine the whole host of pasticizers and chemicals coming out of that packaging and soaking into your food, helped oh-so-happily but that microwave. Disgusting.

  18. Dana says:

    Their food looked so gross before. I can't believe they didn't have a stove. Will definitely stop the next time I go through three rivers.

  19. bondofox says:

    Robert was absolutely right about the issue with cross-contamination in mixing raw and cooked meats. Tell me the name of this national pizza corporation/franchise, if you're doing this every day here nationwide I want to be certain to avoid it at all costs.

  20. Dean alexis says:

    Agreed on the raw meats. They cook fine in the conveyor belt oven. Owner since 1979and no problems ever.

  21. Charles says:

    The issue with the raw hamburger meat on a pizza is that the pizza dough had been par-baked. You should not put raw meat on something that has already been partially cooked because the time it takes to finish cooking the dough and melt the cheese is not long enough to cook the raw meat. Had the hamburger been browned there would not have been an issue. Or, if the pizza was raw itself (from dough to all the toppings) then it would have been okay as well. You just cannot combine the two methods (par-baking and from scratch).
    And I doubt your pizza chain uses par baked dough. It is typically all raw foods since it is cooked to order. If you don't do it that way then you deserve to be shut down or sued. People need to take pride in their work and finished product. Also lets keep in mind that Chef Robert is a badass and knows what he is talking about.

  22. jean-guy says:

    First off Robert was upset with the fact that he was making a pizza,putting raw hamburg on a pizza
    that was half cooked already.Not mixing fresh and raw products but actually raw and cooked foods.
    The alfredo in the microwave was cooked for 2 minutes,must be like rubber.And I notice you failed
    to mention what franchise chain you worked for.As it would no longer be running as the Health board would have closed you down.Or you would no longer be working there with that ethics.

  23. Desi says:

    Excuse. I mean you don't put raw meats on pizza and put it into a microwave or cook it in an oven for ten minutes. If you are going to do that, it needs to be precooked first. If you are gonna put raw meat on a pizza, it needs to cook for AT LEAST 35 to 40 minutes to ensure that it is THOROUGHLY cooked through and not a safety hazard.

  24. Rick says:

    I apprenticed under a chef at a mom and pop pizza shop, and we did put raw pizza sausage on pizzas, under certain circumstances. the pieces had to be very small, on the very top (last item on) and only on pizzas with three items or less including the sausage. Of course, our pizzas were also cooked in a brick oven not on a conveyor, and took 15-20 minutes at 450 degrees.

  25. mitch says:

    Sounds like you got diarrhea of the mouth, sweetie.

  26. bondofox says:

    It's airing as we speak as a rerun.

  27. steve says:

    So… how do you know for fact that you've never given anyone diahrreah? When folks get it, how can they tell where they got it from?

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