Restaurant Revisited: Oleander Bar & Grill

by in Shows, October 17th, 2012

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: Impossible
For Kelli Truman and Abby Grabow, owners of Oleander Bar & Grill in Olean, N.Y., Robert Irvine’s visit to their restaurant was a much-needed effort to save the business they opened just six months earlier. This mother-daughter duo needed Robert’s help to transform the dark dining room into a comfortable space, rethink their tired menu and improve their strained relationship if Oleander were to have any chance at lasting success. We checked in with Abby a few months after Oleander’s Restaurant: Impossible overhaul to see how the business has been doing since Robert left.

In the first two weeks after the renovation, Oleander saw sales increase nearly 50 percent.

The restaurant’s updated decor has been well received by diners who “love the fresh, clean, modern look of the design,” Abby says. She also notes that “the serious burger, shrimp tempura and crab bisque are the best-selling items that Robert added” to Oleander’s revamped menu.

Though Jaye no longer works at the restaurant, Abby says that “the staff that remains is very loyal and everyone has been working together to rebuild business.”

Looking back on the transformation, Abby admits that “the food costing lesson was perhaps the most beneficial part of this entire experience.” Since Robert left, she has been following “the new inventory system to sell off the majority of the excess bar inventory.”

Abby believes that being on Restaurant: Impossible has helped improve her relationship with her mom, Kelli, who has accepted additional responsibilities at Oleander. “The show taught us that communication is everything,” Abby says, “and that even if the restaurant closed, we are family forever.” She tells us that they are now “are much more effective at compromising and finding a middle ground.”

More From Restaurant Revisited:

Valley Inn (October 10)
Whistle Stop (October 3)
The Maple Tree Cafe (September 26)
Michele’s (September 19)
Paliani’s Restaurant (September 12)
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 (241)

  1. Herbinator says:

    Gordon Ramsay is obsessed with the F word, and listening to him makes my food taste bad.

  2. Jake says:

    You do realize it is a play on of the city that restaurant resides in right??

  3. cliff says:

    vimila you might want to take your irrational thinking to a place that cares. This is just a name. If you think the name might in some fashion infiltrate your eco sense of matter just do the owner an favor and stay away. Now, how about the program?

  4. Guest says:

    Hey Vimala, if you don't like the name of the restaurant, then don't go. SImple.

  5. Masseywho says:

    is Jaye the bartender or cook?

  6. Rita says:

    I missed how Robert made the pork chops, saw only the finished dish. Anyone jot down the recipe?

  7. just curius says:

    To bad when they made the changes the name of the rest. was not part of it.I hope it works out for the Mom .

  8. justsaying says:

    Watched the show today, read the comments made by folks who have gone by since the show.. Sad to see that folks seems so determined to make a place go on tv ,then dont care about their food after is over. Something doesnt add up.. The cook can either make or break a resturant.. If the food is good ,, people will come from miles to eat ,even if its a small place, Even if you have to wait a little too long for it, if the food is good its worth the wait,, The good food draws folks back again…and again..

  9. mtnmagic says:

    I wondered the exact same thing about the name while Robert's designer was saying what a pretty flower it is. Pretty? Yes, but deadly poisonous. Strange choice for a restaurant name. Just my opinion of course.

  10. think about it says:

    So you obviously didn't realize that the restaurant is located in OLEAN, NY. I bet they were incorporating the name of the town with the name of the restaurant. The locals get it and that is all that matters!

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