Restaurant Revisited: Paliani’s Restaurant

by in Shows, September 12th, 2012

Restaurant Impossible
At Paliani’s Restaurant in Burton, Mich., Robert Irvine found a decades-old Italian eatery in desperate need of a Restaurant: Impossible overhaul. He had only two days to tackle the filthy interior and disorganized kitchen at Paliani’s, and help give owner Marina Bufalini the tools to improve her management. We checked in with Marina to see how Paliani’s is doing a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible renovation.

Marina is happy to report that since the transformation, sales at Paliani’s have increased. In June and July, the restaurant saw year-over-year growth of 46 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

Paliani’s has seen a mix of returning and first-time customers coming to see the makeover and taste the new food. While some longtime diners have struggled to adapt to the updated decor and menu, many new customers are pleased, as is Marina. Of the restaurant’s fresh look, she says, “I love the decor and how the light panels on the wall brighten everything and give the room more dimension.”

Marina has made a few changes to Paliani’s menu since Robert left. She is once again serving breadsticks, antipasto salad and pizzas, and is now giving customers the option of adding a salad to their entrée for $2 extra. She says that “the most popular dish continues to be pizza, followed by the chicken and then lasagna.” In the future, she hopes to start serving lunch, though she knows that she’ll need to tweak her menu to offer more traditional “daytime meals.”

Although Rob and Tony are no longer cooks at Paliani’s, Lisa continues to work the front of house. Marina says that she is looking to hire a kitchen manager, and thinks that she will promote someone already on staff.

While her son, Nico, still comes to the restaurant several days a week, Marina tells us that he will soon start attending daycare more often.

Marina thanks Robert and the entire Restaurant: Impossible team for giving Paliani’s Restaurant a second chance at success. “The process was difficult and still is on some days, but I am better for it,” she says.

More From Restaurant Revisited:

Frankie’s (September 5)
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 (440)

  1. Guest says:

    The two cooks are not the only people that have left since the show aired. I agree,Lisa did not want to "out" Marina,but Lisa may be the only person she "Might" I said "might" of listen too. The train wreck is still rollling in Burton,Michigan.

  2. Gail says:

    Caitlin, obviously you are either a friend to this sorry excuse of an owner or a troll who just sympathizes with someone who doesn't deserve it.

    She was given a golden opportunity to turn her business around by a world-reknown chef and what does she do? She STILL brings her uncontrollable brat into the restaurant, she's again serving crap and annoying what few customers she has left.

    She deserves to fail and close her doors. Too bad Food Network and Chef Irvine wasted their time and talent on a fool.

    • Burt says:

      The name of the only troll in this thread starts with a "G" and ends with an "l".

      trollie-troll-troll-troll :P

    • Buxy says:

      I agree Gail! Her son does not need to be at the restaurant! He’s a kid, he should enjoy it with others n not @ his mother’s job! Good thing she’s getting him to a daycare, because I would NOT eat there with a running screaming kid! I could go to Chuckie Cheese for that!!

  3. Jyen says:

    This place has no hope of surviving.

  4. Cindy says:

    We ate there 10/5 for my birthday. Food was yummy (wish they didn't use garlic salt on their bread, but otherwise quite scrumptious). We had asked some friends of ours who live near there where to go for Italian and they recommended Paliani's. Glad we went.

    • UnHappy Customer says:

      My family and I went there a few months back and the little boy was not there. But the food was horrible. No flavor, cold, and the service was horrible. There was also a couple in there while my family and I were there and they ordered the chicken wing dish to start and it came out to the table raw, and they sent it back left some money on thr table and got up and left. Our server took 30 minds to just get out drink order alone and then we decided to order our food at the same time she got our drink order….so as to not waste anymore time. But we should have gotten up and left at that point instead of staying….but we had a large party and decided to wait and see. We will not be returning….I dont see them being around much longer, they sure are dead when ever I go by!!!

  5. Julie - Florida, says:

    Caitlin, If Marina and Nico are like family to you, why don't you babysit him while his mother works?
    If Marina wants to be with her son 24/7 she should sell the restaurant and stay at home with him, and find a job that she can do at home.
    With her attitude and inexperience at the restaurant she does not have much chance of success.

  6. Diane says:

    No, Marina is not a TV show. She is the owner of a restaurant. She owes it to her customers to treat them with the same respect she wants to be treated. It doesn't sound like she has done a very good job. She was given a second chance and look what she did. Those of us who watched her go right back to her old ways won't be going back to that place again. I can understand your need to defend, i am a peacemaker too. I just chose to defend those that truly deserve it.

  7. Guest says:

    It had been over ten years since I had eaten there and Friday aug 17 my son and I went there for dinner and we were so disgusted by the food ! I ordered spaghetti and meatballs and it was so watery and had no tase whatsoever. When I told the server about the food she just looked at me with a blank stare and walked away, I will never give them my business again!!!!

  8. Viewer1234 says:

    I'm very surprised that Robert didn't point out how easily the child could be injured running around a working restaurant like that. He could also cause staff or customers to be injured. Someone send her insurance company a copy of the show! All it would take is for the brat to cause a pot of hot coffee to be dropped on a customer and his oblivious mom would spend the rest of her life paying off the judgement from the lawsuit!

  9. Viewer1234 says:

    Jessica, no one 'defaced' the child, no one blamed him. It's not his fault his mother is a selfish, thoughtless idiot. The child is her only source of affection and feeling accepted, so she selfishly keeps him in a dangerous environment. It seems you know Marina personally. Maybe you can offer to watch Nico before he is seriously injured, or perhaps permanently 'defaced' when a tray of hot food and beverages falls on him.

  10. George says:

    It seems like a lot of these RI makeovers are on their last legs for whatever circumstances. They need a lot more than a 2 day makeover to succeed, like have ongoing support, I think Ramsey does this in his shows.

    Maybe it's better for these most of these places to close up for good.

    • Carol says:

      Managers/owners that act like this one in this show will not change. You can not fix her issues by cleaning her restaurant. If she was a decent manager, she wouldn't have needed Robert Irvine to clean her place. She had 5-6 adults men in the kitchen. Her issues were mental, I believe.

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