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. lovingbears2 says:

    How hard on this family and business for the passing of the Dad, but how much even harder it must be on the son, to try to live up to the strong memory that everyone there still has? The Dad was the driving force of the restaurant, and the son is his own person. It would be so incredibly hard if not impossible. The mom and the other personnel there need to accept the son/wife team as the management, not compare him continually to his father, as he is now the owner, the boss, and the businessman running this restaurant. The mom said at the reveal, that she knew her son could do this, and I hope she truly meant that, rather than just trying to look good for the show. She would be doing her son so much harm otherwise. She is obviously strong-willed, strong personality, and her son was raised to respect her, but she is disrespecting him if she doesn't give him the confidence and reins to allow him to act as the owner/operator.

    When she challenged Robert's OWN restaurant, to be that disrespectful and rude to someone who is there to HELP? How much more is she to her son? As for Robert's OWN restaurant, I am visiting this week myself in Hilton Head, have reservations for tomorrow night at EATS!, and very plainly in the window is the big A rating from the inspectors! Haven't been to the restaurant yet, but am very excited and have high expectations for dinner tomorrow night-Thru the windows, the decor , from what we saw, looked fabulous- and from what we have heard from all the locals, the place stays packed because the food is that good! Not exactly a place I would be challenging! You go, Robert!

  2. Herbsghost says:

    Necromancy is a sin. Get over it!

  3. Vinny says:

    Good…I dont want you to like me….grow up and face the facts, thats life, everyone wishes there loved one were around for ever, but their not…deal with it like a man….

  4. Luna Ulric-Taylor says:

    I am a liberal democrat who knows how to run a business. Your comment is ridiculous.

  5. Amen Brother! says:

    I love it! Maybe it is time for Robert to do "D.C Impossible"

  6. Susan says:

    Obviously, if you are representing conservative Republicans, they can't spell or put a sentence together very well. What a true idiot!

  7. Herbsghost says:


  8. Macky Daniels Jr says:

    C'mon why be a pessimist like that no point in life thinking and acting negative, be positive and enjoy your existence the best you can.

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