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 (445)

  1. 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.

  2. Paul says:

    It's a shame the restaurant didn't work out. But I think RI was correct. The Restaurant looked great after the makeover-the presentation of the food on the menu looked good. Absolutely A+ for trying. Don't know the personals, but I understand when someone says they are going to change the way things are going & then don't. So sorry it didn't work out. I would like to know that everyone learns from this one.

    • Paula Lee says:

      Some people is so negative thinking and can not be help. Having a anger management, she will never be successful with a terrible personality, no wonder she is closed. You got to have LOVE in your business and be a blessing to your employees but be a leader at all times.

  3. amgshine says:

    I just watched the Paliana's episode tonight, I be honest I did not believe she deserved Robert's help, she seemed insincere I felt bad for her employees especially the one that worked there over 26yrs. As far as her little guy being there was just not the right thing for neither of her employees, patrons, the little guy or her. I think she had some emotional issues and I think Robert understood this once confronting her. Too many signs against the right thing to do. Sorry this happened to her and the many employees that lost their job. It was sad not only did she lost her inheritance but the inheritance to her sons.

    • WitchHazyl says:

      What does it say about her that within the first year she ran the place, her kitchen staff walked out and she was unable to keep regular employees? I agree… time was wasted on this woman. She wanted to ride on the coattails of her family's hard work and good name. As soon as she found out it was real work she didn't want to do it and blamed everyone else for her problems. I stopped going to Paliani's not long after she took over because of HER.

  4. Lorri James says:

    If the show is shot over the course of two days, then why didn't Marina change her clothes? She wore the same blue outfit for both days?! I've noticed this on other episodes as well. Makes the show feel less authentic. It's actually insulting. The shows Producers don't think the audience will notice?

    • guest says:

      this is commonly done on these types of shows… the purpose is so that when they edit the show, they dont have to worry about clothes switching back and forth if they decide to change the order of how things happened.

    • The Count says:

      Hello!!! She was on site for 2 days! It doesn't take a P.H.D. in mathematics in to understand that !

    • The commenters on this site are pretty amazing. Who cares if she wears the same clothes? 2 days to remake a restaurant, and 10k is not enough to change everything especially the people but they try. It is still up to the people who show up every day. I love this show, though the dramatics are a bit much. The only negative opinion I have seen on this site (out of the hundreds of trolls) I take to heart are the people who say the volunteers are not treated well. I hope that is an exception and not the rule. You can't do this without them and they should be respected.

    • LDC says:

      No, she didn't wear the same outfit two days in a row. She wore slacks on the first day and a dress on the second day. Marina apparently likes the color blue as both outfits were blue, but they weren't the same.

  5. KarenP says:

    Sorry to say but she has closed the restaurant. We live right by there, and she closed the doors on DEC 31 2012.

  6. Harry says:

    We ate there after we watched the show last year. We waited a long time for service and our food. Only one server on our side of he resteraunt . The owener was dressed like a "Slob" and did not lift a finger to help with the orders or service of the food. Two of the four people at our table got cold food and the best I can say for mine was it was alright but overpriced for what I got. Breadsticks were good but cost $6 extra. Not surprised it did not make it and not sad that it closed.


  7. E. Rawson says:

    We live near Pallianis….. Years ago, the parking lot was always full but my hubbty and I went there twice and both times we sat for half an hour only to be told "someone will be with you soon". We went twice and twice we walked out and went somewhere else to eat. The closing of this restaurant was no loss……

  8. Michael says:

    The restaurant is now closed

  9. D'Angelo says:

    Just from her face and already knew she was going to be annoying and hardheaded. No loss that its closed now..

  10. Jason Stuart says:

    I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. The sad part is that, the restaurant got all the help it could possibly need to improve its processes, but still ended up closing shop after showing some improvement.

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