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. AlistZ says:

    Do you ever go to Chucky Cheese and ask to speak to Chucky?

  2. Cathy says:

    It's totally ridiculous that I sit and watch the whole show then I am made to get up off my fat ass, go to the computer, dial in to find out how the make-over affected the success of these restaurants!! Just say it at the end of the show. What do you think I'm sitting there for??!! Jeez–so easy, why make such a big and complicated deal about it??!!

    • Melissa Kaye says:

      Sounds like you need something to get you up off your "fat ass" (your words, not mine). Maybe you should stop watching food shows if it's that draining on your body.

  3. Kathryn says:

    My uncle lives in Olean and I visited the Oleander just before Restaurant Impossible came. When we went we ordered our drink we were told they were sold out (there were only two other people in the restaurant) and then the same thing when we ordered food! My chicken was burnt and I only ate chips.
    But now after the transformation my grandfather has gone and said it was wonderful. It is good to have at least one good restaurant in a small town.

  4. George says:

    Mother should have cut her losses, unfortunately the daughter is over her head in this.

    • English says:

      Agree…hope springs eternal.

    • Dave Lipscomb says:

      I feel sorry for Kelli. Her daughter is PWT and needs to keep her legs shut!!! Bad attitude and ugly tats?? That bar must have had serious drink specials to get some guy to hook up with her. Yuck!!!! Cut yoour losses and kick her to the curb!!

  5. Renie says:

    You go, Ray!! And God forbid the masses find out that some of the world's best cheddar is made in the neighboring town of Cuba…They'll all think that the Castro regime has invaded the East Coast!!

  6. debco says:

    I would advise anyone viewing comments by Just Curius and Basil to take them with a grain of salt. It is obvious they are both trolls who have something against the owners of the Oleander.

    • Angelo says:

      It's obvious to me that Just Curius and Basil are just talking about the name, it doesn't have anything to do with the owners. They seem more interested in seeing the restaurant succeed and are offering an opinion to them. If the owners are professional people, they would listen to possible customers opinions. I think you are reading a little too much into it.

    • Themoneymaster says:

      Debco, how do you correlate constructive opinions as an attack on the owners themselves? Anything I have read from Just curius and Basil appears to be geared to the success of the business and future. It appears they are interested in seeing Kelly and Abbey succeed. I think you have a persecution complex.

  7. Trippin says:

    Wonder if Tim was on shrooms during the taping…lord knows he was everyday in college

  8. Awesome blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your theme. With thanks

  9. twitter says:

    I fully agree with your opinion on the topic above. Very nice Post, keep up the good job.

    • just curius says:

      the name is stupid.Oleander is a toxic plant that kills if eaten.

      • guest says:

        Seriously? You just go from post to post saying that because oleander is a toxic plant so the name of the restaurant is "stupid?" Are you eating the name of the restaurant or are you eating the food there? I'm sure the oleander is NOT the main ingredient in each dish they serve; it's JUST a name!

        • just curius says:

          What the hell are you talking about "post to post" Daaa the point is if they are going to make changes would a name change be out of the question ? I mean really a name of toxic pant. All I was saying is why did Robert not say anything about the name? or if he did suggest a name change I missed it.Oh well If I needed to explain what i am saying you wouldn't get it anyways.

          • steve says:

            Do you have any clue at all how much it costs to change the name of a business? Where is the owner of a failing business going to get the money? Daaaaa back atcha

          • basil says:

            Yes I do know how much.You don't know do you. it's next to nothing.

          • debco says:

            What is your big frigging deal about the name??? And yes, I have seen you post your rant several times on this thread. So what if the flower is toxic? Which by the way is not common knowledge unless maybe you are a gardener or landscaper. Back to my point, several restaurants and other businesses take on names of things that should not be ingested or may be otherwise toxic. I would bet every major city has some kind of restaurant called "Lotus" despite the fact some genuses produce toxins. Businesses choose names that they think will get customers' attention.

      • ilovemyGSD says:

        Toxic and Kill can also mean that something is good……besides many restaurants have names that don't represent stuff you'd ingest…..Try to focus on the fact that an Oleander is a beautiful flowering garden bush……that is obviously what the owners did.

      • Gomez Addams says:

        BFD ! Most people I know don't go around eating flowers.

  10. Obat Herbal says:

    Dead written subject matter, Really enjoyed studying.

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