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. sed says:

    You should invest in a spam blocker for your comments section – CAPTCHA or text confirmation… these hundreds of spam comments are annoying and detract from the Restaurant Impossible updates!

  2. tucson pub says:

    I am impressed to read out this content in this website at all about a bar Restaurant. A cocktail lounge is an upscale bar that is typically located within a hotel, restaurant, or airport. A wine bar is an elegant bar that serves only wine. A big thank for posting this valuable information in this website at all. Take it up…..

  3. Frank says:

    We went to THe Oleander in Olean, NY after seeing your show. We were a bit disappointed. The burger was good albeit overcooked ( oredered medium rare, came medium well), but the fries were soggy and service was major slow. I expected more.

  4. foodman82 says:

    My wife and I visited on Valentines day 2013, food was very good only issue we had was my steak e=was not seasoned but properly cooked, we drove 11/2 hours to try it was worth the trip

    • ctw says:

      Looks like they may be living up to their name and I doubt they have many if any gardeners-oleander plants are toxic!

      I think if I was the owner I'd change the name to Olean's Diner and live up to that name perhaps?

  5. Kyle, we always need volunteers! You should come by for a visit. We do station tours to help get you familiar.

  6. o12 opinie says:

    This is the paramount web blog I have read.

  7. Theron Bolig says:

    Oke, volunteers are always needed more, and I am already one of them :) come one guys, we can make it great with more of us working together.

  8. JBL says:

    I am looking at the people who appear on these programs and they are all made up and have perfect teeth…perfect. I have got to believe that everything is scripted and everyone with a speaking role has performing arts actor / actress training.

  9. nick says:

    What is this? I lived in Olean 40 years ago while attending St. Bona. Where are the comments on the restaurant? Im headed back for reunion next summer and want to visit this restaurant — if it is still there.

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