Restaurant Revisited: Whistle Stop

by in Shows, October 3rd, 2012

Restaurant: ImpossibleWhen Robert Irvine arrived at Whistle Stop restaurant in Hot Springs, Ark., he found an outdated dining space and dirty kitchen in desperate need of a makeover. Linda Todd, employee-turned-owner of Whistle Stop, needed Robert’s help to transform her restaurant into a profitable business and effectively manage her staff. We checked in with Linda to see how the restaurant is doing a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible renovation. Hear from the owner below then take a photo tour of the restaurant and see before-and-after snapshots of the Whistle Stop’s dining room and buffet station.

Since Robert left, the restaurant has begun breakfast service, which Linda says “is doing pretty well” so far. “We started doing breakfast a little over 2 weeks ago and it is doing pretty well. Hopefully it will continue to grow.” She also notes that Brett does not work at Whistle Stop anymore.

In terms of the decor, Robert turned to designer Lynn Kegan to take what was once a dark and drab dining room with multicolored holiday lights, faux greenery and dated black chairs and turn it into a bright, relaxing area with comfortable, contemporary silver seating.

Restaurant: Impossible

Restaurant: Impossible

Additionally, the team improved the flow of Whistle Stop by moving the buffet station from one side of the restaurant to the other.

Restaurant: ImpossibleRestaurant: Impossible

“What I love about the Whistle Stop,” said Lynn, “is that we took an outdated buffet and layout that just consumed space and reimagined the look and layout to make it more customer friendly.”

Tell us: What do you think of the new space?

More From Restaurant Revisited:

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 (298)

  1. TOMCAT says:

    GOOD GOD.what the hell is wrong with this place,the titanic did not even go down this fast…wow.

  2. Jack Taylor says:

    I'm all about redemption and Brett let me down….

    • Lou says:

      Seems (from the blog comments) that the Whistle Stop is now closed, only seven months after the show aired on TV. But why no statement or disclosure to that effect on this website? RI likes to take credit for turning things around – but doesn't even disclose its own failures? Surprising! Or maybe not…

      • Cathy says:

        The restaurant failing is not RI's fault. The restaurant was given the tools and a new opportunity to succeed. Once the show is over it is up to the staff and owners to keep the hype up and make their restaurant a success…. Not RI.

      • Terry says:

        I wonder if Restaurant Impossible is even aware when these places close down…they are in such a big demand to help these places out. I visited in November 2012, loved the decor not the food.

  3. … would make an awesome music venue…

  4. Scott says:

    I cannot imagine just how hard it is to run a small business, much less run a restaurant, successful or not. I admire all men and women in this industry, but admittedly haven't given this industry much thought. Thanks to this program, I can now (finally) begin to understand what you go through. Never again will I take another restaurant meal for granted, and for that I can thank the producers of Restaurant Impossible. Chef Irvine also makes me wonder how we ever got free of Mother England and he makes me ever so grateful that we did. Seriously, dude…you're scary.

  5. Apraple says:

    I try and catch Restaurant Impossible and all other shows that help owners make their restaurants better. I think the way he gets tough really helps turn many of them around. Thank you. It is enjoyable to see something positive on TV.

    • Terry says:

      I really love watching how he handles these owners with the reality of why they are there…some owners don't change well, which is a shame because Robert really seems to care if these folks make it or not. I was surprised that he actually came to a place that I had visited he had done the make over (No one hardly ever comes to Arkansas for a TV show). It was kinda cool watching the process and remembering…"Yep, that's what it looks like now". But I recently drove by this place in June 2013, it's now a pizza joint.

    • Hank Harrison says:

      Another con job by a restaurant owner with Restaurant Impossible paying the price. I'm gussing the owners just sell the business as soon a they can after the refurbish. Anyone know the success/failure ratio for Restaurant Impossible?

  6. sharonda e says:

    I love watching food network and was cheering for linda.

  7. sfofoodie says:

    The restaurant is closed, according to Yelp. What a shame… :(

  8. James & Suzanne says:

    We went by in April of 13' and found that it had been closed and reopened as a pizza restaurant. What happened ? Where did Linda go? Did she turn it into a pizza restaurant? Can anyone tell the story? Why do they keep showing the Whistlw Stop improvements when the restaurant is gone?

    • Terry says:

      I was unaware that this was a makeover by Robert Irvine…love his work. I visited The Whistle Stop in early November 2012, was extremely disappointed in my Fettuccine Alfredo. It was flavorless & mushy. The restaurant was empty except for our party of 4 and one other table of 4. Two of our party had the endless crab-legs…they liked them, I thought they were waaay overpriced…and they had to serve themselves their own side dishes from the buffet. I had made a first impression on me of "No, Thanks…won't be back".
      I don't know if FN is aware that the place is no more, but am curious if she owns the pizza place or if she walked away from restaurant.

    • Christy says:

      Where she go? Possible do another con business

  9. Todd holt says:

    The food gave me terrible diarrhea.

  10. Your Face says:

    UPDATE: The Whistle Stop in Hot Springs has closed and is now Crispino's Pizza. Source: I live near there.

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