Restaurant Revisited: Valley Inn

by in Shows, October 10th, 2012

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: Impossible
Valley Inn restaurant in Palos Hills, Ill., is a 40-year-old eatery with a history of success. Recently, however, the restaurant had fallen on hard times, and owner Dennis Ristucci needed Robert Irvine’s help to restore Valley Inn to its former glory. In only two days, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team tackled a dark, dirty dining space and low-quality food before reopening to a line of hungry customers. We checked in with Dennis to see how his business is doing a few months after its renovation.

Since Robert left, sales at Valley Inn have increased nearly 85 percent. Dennis tells us that the revised menu and updated decor “have drawn new interest from the neighborhood.” Among his favorite aspects of the remodel are the more inviting entry space and improved flooring.

Today, Valley Inn’s menu is a mix of the restaurant’s original dishes and those that Robert created, and Dennis says that “customers like the combination.” Additionally, he notes that the restaurant is no longer using any frozen food. Dennis tells us his staff are “more attentive to customers” and welcome diners “with big smiles and stories about the show.” He adds that “everyone has been doing their part and cleaning, too.”

In a change less obvious to diners but no less significant, Faye, Dennis’ mother, is no longer telling him how to run his business. “My wife and I are making all of the decisions,” he says. Once again passionate about Valley Inn, Dennis believes that his dad “would be extremely proud” of the restaurant’s renovation.

More From Restaurant Revisited:

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 (98)

  1. Dan S says:

    place is a joke

  2. Julie - Florida, says:

    I would hope the dinner rush would be over by then.
    Having the cops there isn't such a bad idea, if they arrest some of those drunks maybe they will stop hanging around and ruining business.

  3. @undefined says:

    Hey, was that Lisa Marie Varon (Pro-Wrestler) at the re-opening?

    • Knowledge says:

      I thought that looked like her too. She lives in Chicago, so it very well may have been.

    • Vera says:

      It's her. You can't mistake her face and how she does her hair. I watched it a second time, just to make sure. I thought the same thing, when I first saw it, but thought it was just my eyes playing tricks on me.

  4. beachinfrizzy says:

    Wasn't it the younger brother (Frank?) who saw they desperately needed help and actually decided to do something about it by calling Robert? If it weren't for him the mother would still have the blinders on insisting she didn't need help and Dennis would still be muddling along in her shadow until they ran the place into the ground.

    • Scales7 says:

      Great Point, Sometimes the outsider can see the problems more clearly. I noticed Mom didn't pay much attention to him either. It seemed kind of odd.

  5. Vinny says:

    Yep….Thanks, and you know this how? and use your real name, and quit hiding who you are….

  6. Vinny says:

    watch what you say Dan, you might hurt someone's feelings here….

  7. Gross says:

    You took the words from my mouth. Where is the health department? I know they don't nessesarily make frequent visits (maybe annual only). Just terrible!! Believe or not, I know where this dump is at. I used to live nearby. Thank God I never ate there.

  8. wade says:

    i have no respect for these boo hooing people that run this place,i would never eat there.

  9. Jas says:

    My brother lives 2 blocks north of the place and I have never been to the Valley Inn. Please inspire me and my family to visit.

  10. Jim Huyer says:

    It took a lot of courage for the Ristucci's to admit they were failing and needed help. Add to that the fact that Robert is like a Marine DI, firm but fair, who really wanted them to succeed and helped them believe in themselves again. It's a tall order getting folks to own up to their failures. I wish them a lot of luck.

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