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 (437)

  1. D'Angelo says:

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

  2. 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.

  3. Milton says:

    Her eye shadow looks like clown makeup! Everyone knows that clows can't run restaurants!!! put your kid in day care lady!!!

    • Melissa says:

      She mentioned that her son would grow up to be next owner someday and that's fine. However, he is far too young to understand that and besides its unsafe and unsanitary. Kids get hurt easily and they also pick up and spread germs.Don't get me wrong…I adore kids but its a fact. Why couldn't she just admit that she's broke and really can't afford daycare? There is no shame in that.

    • Melissa says:

      There was also the ex employee that said that she was changing her son's diaper on the prep tables in the kitchen…Hello??? Really??? Not even close to being cute or adorable.

  4. juleswinfield1 says:

    "Some day he's going to be someone's BOSS!" Horrible. She is absolutely Bat S#!t crazy. Why did they waste their time on her and not someone sane that stands a chance to succeed?

    • moberry says:

      I agree and she continues to bring her son to the restaurant. Some people never learn.

    • Joe 12-Pack says:

      Even if the kid was going to take over the restaurant someday, there is nothing he can learn at that age. She deserves her failure.

  5. Mcdonalds says:

    Everyone keeps on forgetting this is a TV show…for entertainment purposes and profit. There isn't a failing restaurant out there that could possibly be saved in a matter of 2 days! We're talking educating the owners and staff in EVERY aspect of the business. That is why formal education takes years to complete (and works!). I can't even bring myself to talk about the time it would take to truly get rid of the FILTH in some of these places.

  6. Marty says:

    I'm curious….what kind of background check do the Producers do on potential restaurants? Did they deliberatly pick this NUT JOB because it would make great TV? This was such a waste of RI's ernest efforts. I love the show MORE when people are actually grateful for the efforts of the show.

  7. Bnj says:

    Anyone and I do mean ANYONE who keeps a spoiled brat running sround a place of business and then changes a diaper in a prep table needs amvisit from both Child Services and the Health Dept. grotesque!

  8. LX3 says:

    Honestly, I only had to hear her speak a sentence before I knew she was bound for failure. You cannot ask for help and then refuse it. She didn't deserve RI's help and I'm glad she failed. It was what she earned for herself. I am upset that they wasted an episode on her, but honestly speaking, they make back that 10K + production costs pretty quickly. Wasted effort, though, that's for sure. Hope DYFS interferes and gets that child somewhere safe to live. Maybe with one of the sane relatives who abandoned that whackjob. With that said, family & business do not mix. RI, Mystery Diners, Restaurant Stakeout, etc. have all shown that pretty clearly. In this case it was even worse, because the child wasn't even an employee and only a distraction and sanitary issue. What would she do if the child decided he was hungry and took food off a customer's plate? Knocked someone's drink over? Hit someone? Took someone's possessions? Another child's playtoy? The list is endless… This woman cannot succeed at anything except reality television. TLC would love her.

    • LDC says:

      Actually, the FoodNetwork says that for each 10 restaurants they help, nine succeed but one fails. Paliani's was one that failed …

  9. Addison says:

    She's nutz. I'm assuming she lost her house? Sad – but clearly the woman has problems that go beyond the scope of a restaurant professional's advice.

  10. t.c. keith says:

    I wanna hug Marina and watch the kid while she runs the restaurant, I think she's beautiful and sweet :)

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