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. Laura says:

    Spam bots are apparently running amok here. You can tell they're not real people commenting because the comments are utterly nonsensical.

    • anti-spam says:

      and the NAME of the commenter is usually in blue and a quick hover shows where the link is pointing. i got so furious with the spam, that i just spent about 2 hours down-voting and reporting "spam" on all the spam-comments.

  2. Carol says:

    Sorry but this woman's attitude, constant bawling, the way she treats people just turned me off. I see the restaurant has closed anyway and it's just as well. This woman is no manager in any shape or form. She acts to me like she's bio-polar.

  3. raven says:

    I thought this web site was about restaurants, what the hell is all this other garbage on here for?

  4. HDGalley says:

    This one needed to close … the woman that "runs it" is the problem

    • chuck says:

      I agree, to head strong

    • Tom Brooks says:

      Very true!

    • Mati says:

      You could see it coming. She treated adult employees like kids (her words) and let her spoiled baby run amok. Funny how people fail to see that not everyone thinks their little "precious" is all that cute.

      • Melissa says:

        I think she believed when she bought the place it would run itself and she would have some heritage for her son. My mom had a restaurant once when we were kids and then again once we were grown. It's much more work than one thinks. It definately does NOT run itself and being in control as an owner does NOT mean you lose your temper. As for her little boy. I agree that most people do not appreciate a toddler running free through the place while they are trying to enjoy a meal that they are paying for. As a paying customer you deserve the right to enjoy a meal in peace without having to babysit or entertain the owner's child. It appears that this is exactly what the owner was thinking when she brings her child with her to work. Same goes for her staff. I don't believe babysitter or playdate is their job descriptions.

  5. John says:

    As a sudent of process management, and followup to a narrow budget a chart should have been developed and tied to fuctions, after all finances put them out of business and that can't be taught in two days. Fuctiions I.E. daily sales required, daily kithchin output, percentages of sales, daily expenses, all can be developed from simply dropping numbers on a spreadsheet, (knowing your targets, one sheet). The comment boss vs leader was excellent. .

  6. Tacitus says:

    the mindless webmasters here are at least as clueless as Marina whatshername, who let her two-year-old destroy her restaurant and ignored Robert's advice. leaving comments open to spammers is every bit as stupid as Marina's mismanagement.

    if that brat ever came near my table, i would leave without paying, by the way. good try, Robert, but the woman belongs on public assistance.

    • LX3 says:

      The woman doesn't deserve public assistance.

    • Carrieann says:

      Public assistance??? Why should we taxpayers pay for her stupidity?? Anybody with half a brain knows that you don't have a 2 year old running amock through the restaurant and kitchen! And that you don't treat your employees as your only family. She does not know how to set boundaries — she was a mess!

  7. Peggy says:

    Could someone please translate Maurine's comment? I'm stumped.

  8. JoelH. says:

    Owner needs to wake up and put the kid out. No wonder her own family has given up on her. She does not listen even to people that are successful at what she is not. If she knows it all she should be wealthy and not on food network for help.

  9. Randy says:

    Paliani's is now closed. Seems that Restaurant Impossible wasted their valuable time on this one.

  10. RAF~Just asking says:

    1/20/2013–Today is the first time I have seen the Palianis' episode. Isn't cook Robert, the tall one with the mustache in the picture above, also the same guy who is in one of those extreme workout infomercials? Sure caught my eye on the show because I knew I had never watched this episode yet now I was seeing someone who looked familiar.

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