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. luvs2hyk says:

    Aside from the knowledge that the show is purposefully designed to bring out the drama for entertainment and viewership – I have reservations about this particular episode due to the high degree of personality dysfunction, being not so pleasant to watch. What really was offputting besides her own temper tantrums with her adult staff members, was the fact that she blatantly defended having her two year old son running amok by saying he will be managing these people in a few years – this was one of the most offensive comments I have ever heard on this show. Not only is she breaking numerous codes of conduct herself and placing her child in danger (lack of supervision, doors unlocked, strangers coming and going, kitchen hazards, etc), she is exposing her guests and staff to constant disruptions and making them all responsible for his well-being. No wonder the staff can't stay focused and enjoy their jobs. If I were a diner there, I would not go back, and I adore children. When she became a mother, she should have made the decision to either stay at home with him, hire a nanny or put him in daycare like millions of other working parents. There has to be separation of work and home life.. He could still visit Mom briefly at work, but separate from the dining area and kitchen. I agree that this owner is not using much logic in her business and personal life.

  2. TVC says:

    I am amazed every time I see this show. There is no way in hell a restaurant can be remodeled like they do it in 2 days. I know they work through the night. I saw them do the Soup to Nuts Diner in Tavares, Fl. It has since closed. Robert Irvine is a great Chef and teacher. But these people resent him telling them they are a failure. They see that they do not belong in the business and leave. Even the family owned ones. It is a rare thing to see a family work together in any endeavor, let alone a restaurant. And succeed. Exterminators alone take two days to get rid of roaches and that does not always do it. Family owned businesses do not work

  3. Eric Gullstrand says:

    Given the fact that the owner is so independent and defensive, a new overhaul is not going to enable this place to last for more than 5 years tops. The food was great after the show, now it is marginal at best. I am in this area every month for business and don't feel that I would ever consider going back. Wow. She won a chance from Food Network and she blew it.

  4. I like Restaurant Impossible, but I wish they'd show updates. They never go back to show how the restaurants are doing after the makeover. Shark Tank always goes back & shows what happened after the deals are done.

  5. Tucker says:

    Come, enjoy dinner. We have a spoiled, unruly brat running around screaming. No extra charge for the ambience.

  6. bobojack says:

    Paliani's was doomed , with a owner who had her head up her @## , and a brat running around ? WHY is it that 98% of the people He helps NEVER know HOW to run a restruant ,Yet buy into one ?? Hey kid ! pull a hot
    pan of oil on ya face ..Hear that it closed ? GREAT ! bub bye dummy woman , let ya kid sell papers

  7. DaisyMae says:

    I have never seen an episode that I wanted to fail so much. This woman should be working at McDonalds, shes such an idiot. Glad she closed!

  8. zlite says:

    This restaurant has closed since the airing of the original episode.

  9. Larry says:

    They have gone out of business for close to a year, Can't under stand why you keep rerunning the show about helping save the business.

    • Meredith says:

      Hi Larry, I follow this show regularly and I think some of the restaurants are, unfortunately, too far gone when Robert gets too them. But I can learn as much from the failures as the successes. So I'm okay with rerunning an episode even after it has failed because of the lessons I can take from it.

  10. Bruce says:

    It is just a TV show, but if they air it years later and tell us at the end to check out how they are
    doing on website, then the website should be up to date. This "update" would make someone think that everything worked out OK. It did not and the restaurant closed. Fess up RI, or at least have the humility to NOT tell people to check out how things worked out at the end of reruns where the restaurant eventually failed.

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