Restaurant Revisited: Rohrer’s Tavern

by in Shows, November 28th, 2012

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleAt Rohrer’s Tavern in North Bend, Ohio, Robert Irvine found an outdated eatery with an unadorned dining space and basic-at-best food to match. Lisa Kendall is the owner of this decades-old restaurant, and she needed Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team to help Rohrer’s avoid a looming closure. We checked in with Lisa a few months after the transformation to see how her restaurant is doing now.

After the renovation, Rohrer’s saw year-over-year growth of $20,000 for the month of September. Lisa explains that while the restaurant used to attract only local customers, it is now “pulling people from other neighborhoods” as well.

“Everyone loves the new look and for the most part loves the menu,” she says. Rohrer’s is still serving most of the menu items that Robert created for them, and they’ve added a few of their previously popular dishes to their list of offerings.

Since Robert left, the kitchen staff has been held “accountable for everything,” Lisa explains. She now challenges them when they tell her that something cannot be done, and says she has “made it clear that I am not just the owner. I am the boss and manager.” She adds, “Criticism is still something that no one in the kitchen likes, but I do it as constructively as possible.”

Still working in the kitchen, Stacy “finally has a staff that she can count on,” Lisa tells us. “Stacy has always been and continues to be my right hand.”

Bev and Renee are both shift leaders, and Aunt Sandy has returned to serving. “She is doing really great with the menu and the computer,” Lisa says of Sandy.

For Lisa, one of most beneficial aspects of the Restaurant: Impossible experience was the food-cost lesson she received from Robert. She says, “I couldn’t thank him enough for sitting down with me to show me how it should be done.” Today Rohrer’s spends about 34 to 36 percent on food, but Lisa notes that she is “still working diligently on making it lower.”

Looking back on the transformation, Lisa tells us, “It has truly been a blessing and brought life back to not only me but to my staff.”

More From Restaurant Revisited:

Poco’s on the Boulevard (November 21)
Oleander Bar and Grill (October 17)
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 (142)

  1. dissappointed says:

    part 2 – Will we come back?… I don't know.. I am a graduate of Taylor and the alumni like to meet up there when those who live out of town come in (whcih was this case)… but for $14 for mine, $12 for my husbands, then an additional $7 (which was an excellent price for the piece)… the meal was NOT worth it… to come on our own, I doubt it… but when we do with alumni …we will eat prior to coming and maybe just getting an appetizer just to eat something while others are eating..

    I would expect these prices in a upper class restaurant downtown (which I would not frequent due to the high cost)..

    Guess I don't have to say it, but again, we were highly disappointed…
    bowl chili needed to be sent back to get heated back up…… the cake side (cut off portion) was dry.. like cut earlier in the day other side was soft and fresh,,, but once we got past that dry part the cake was good…

    my husband said that he would not eat again there… if we met Taylor alumni he would just nurse a beer…. we just can't afford those prices…

    • Nbkat8 says:

      Go to Mcdonals then if you want a whole restaraunt meal for $6…give me a break.

    • LakerGyrl says:

      IKR?? A steak dinner for $14 and they are complaining? I don't know where they are eating.

    • kari says:

      um….upper class downtown would be 30-40 per person! Have you ever been downtown? This is great food for a better price! Stick to skyline!

    • yoopergirl says:

      Sounds like you can't afford to go out to eat at a restaurant. Seriously? $32 for dinner AND dessert? for TWO! Sounds like YOU need the reality check! I live in a dinky town in Michigan, and just went out for dinner at a similar family style restaurant with my girlfriends. My bill alone, was $31.25 for a salad, a Cajun style pasta dish and a piece of pie. That's not counting the $12.50 for the 2 glasses of wine! And a nice tip for the waitress!
      I sure hope you didn't stiff the waitress on her tip because you didn't like the prices!

    • Non-Taylor Graduate says:

      I hope you didn't earn an English degree at Taylor, or one in finance. Learn how to budget, and proper use of punctuation. Upper class restaurant at $33 for two? You been drinking, or do you consider the hotdog stands downtown upper class? Aldi's called and wants your business.

    • Scott says:

      Having worked in several restaurants over 16 years (last one being the Cheesecake Factory), I think I can speak with a fair amount of knowledge to your points, DISAPPOINTED…

      You say the meal was not worth it: honestly, you probably don't need to be going out to eat then. The average cost of a meal at restaurants similar to Rohrer's Tavern is between $8-15. Your bill was well within the price range.

      The Cheesecake Factory bill would run $25-35 per entree, $2.50 per soda, and $8.00 per cheesecake slice. That equates to $50-60 for 2 people. Sorry, for someone who has worked in upscale pricing restaurants, Rohrer's Tavern is a steal.

      Honestly, (DISAPPOINTED) it seems to me you went into your experience with negative expectations. Does everything go according to plan whenever massive changes occur? Of course not. There are always adjustments that need to be made. Having known Sandy and having coached her son Kody; I can assuredly say she (and her staff) will work tirelessly to make the food the best it can be to provide the highest satisfaction for the guests. Check your facts (regarding your misunderstanding about restaurant pricing) the next time you decide to speak about something you clearly no very little about.

      As a person who has eaten at Rohrer's Tavern before, I assure you my wife and I look forward to eating there for years to come…

    • Ralph says:

      I don't think 12-14 is upper class prices! That is average prices…
      I believe you would be looking at 19-30 for upper class.

    • Flourchild says:

      Wow, don't ever come to the NYC area. $14 for a meal is too much for you? Maybe you should just make a sandwich at home, then.

  2. Bob says:

    Have you heard of tongs? Also, she said she couldn't eat fish – nothing said about touching fish. Besides, if she is wearing those latex gloves that most restaurant cooks wear, she never touches the fish. Regardless, you can touch something and not have a problem versus eating something in many cases. It all depends on the person adn the allergy.

    • Just curious says:

      From reading the comments, I believe that's why they are asking for more information regarding her allergy. I too am curious how she is able to manage her allergy in an environment where she is surrounded by the food that she is allergic to.

  3. Coltrane says:

    How about that "subtle" FedEx Office plug? LOL. I guess the Lexus ones weren't bad enough. Always makes you wonder what else in a show like this is staged from the beginning. Quite lame.

    • Manuel Perez says:

      I guess they shouldn't try to make money….how dare they.

    • Steevo says:

      The Fedex product placement wasn't supposed to be subtle.

      They are a new sponsor. Someone has to pay the $10,000 and for all the expenses.

      That guy Tom that does the construction is great. He has to be paid, right?

    • Jack Madison says:

      It is acceptable because they are doing this for the restaurant owner for free. It is expected.
      Besides, FedEx Office is pretty great.
      I own a business and use them all the time.

  4. Sunny says:

    Design this season is a big disappointment. Even taking into account the large area to be renovated on this episode, other designers on the show have managed a more polished look.

  5. Bensisco says:

    I love the show. But when the owner keeps saying "no one ever taught me that," I always wonder if these people ever heard of taking a class at the local college. Especially, if something as important as your house or kid's college fund is at stake.

    • Glenn says:

      True enough, but sometimes you just don't know what you don't know.

    • astrostu206265 says:

      I agree with this. I keep hearing that, and ESPECIALLY at this point with this show now in the 5th season, you have to think that these folks have watched previous episodes so would know to look at this stuff. But otherwise, it just seems like common sense to have an idea of food, labor, utilities, etc. costs.

    • Bizzle says:

      I always wonder if they've ever heard of the internet, you can learn a lot about restaurant management just by searching. Maybe the internet can't teach you to be a good manager, but you should at least be able to figure out what your food cost is and what it should be.

    • rose says:

      or better yet, just watch resturant impossible
      i swear u can learn everything just by watching

    • JC - eBPD Consults says:

      It's easy to arm chair quarterback it when watching a show. Having been part of several restaurant start-ups I can tell you it is stressful, and even with depth in understanding the needs of customers, employees, and owners, there is always something more to learn. When you don't know, someone else tells you – and that person may not always be right.

      To say this owner "should have" only negates the fact "she did". She stepped out, did with what she had to do with, and when she was at her wits end, she reached out to the experts. I have to commend her on not shutting the doors and walking away like thousands of other owners. If only people would set aside their pride and seek help, we would see greater success in many small business. I commend her.

  6. Steevo says:

    They had that computer POS after the remodel, but I also saw them writing up checks.
    I wonder if the show got them the POS and they might have had none before this. I am no restaurant guy but I imagine that if used correctly can help keep a handle on your sales and expenses.
    And you know which servers are doing the job by average check $. That's important.

    About the prices, I bet a good part of what Robert Irvine does is give the owners a reality check. They don't know their costs and are charging too little. With poor quality food, a bad looking and smelling place and bad service, it's a vicious cycle.

    With proper food quality and good service you can expect to pay more, and you are now eating at a restaurant that is not poised to go out of business.
    I for one like the idea of that.

    • ex-restaurateur says:

      Having worked in restaurants for 15 years, I can tell you that even if there is a POS, you generally have to jot down the order so you don't forget before you enter it into the computer. The POS means that every order is tracked, and the chef doesn't have to decipher your handwriting. But most servers do make handwritten notes at the table.

  7. Anti Lynn says:

    Lynn is the worst designer on this show. Please please please fire him. His colors and designs are awful.

  8. Guest says:

    As so many others have already commented, Lynn, the so called designer, is horrible. Not only do his design skills lack, it doesn't seem like he has any original ideas of his own. He's annoying, hard to watch and is making what was once a never miss program, one that when he's on, I don't even want to watch anymore. RI needs to follow their own advice, listen to their customers, in this case their viewers, and replace Lynn.

  9. scaliwag says:

    I wonder if Taniya won't work with Robert anymore? Out of all the designers, I've always liked her best. I don't think that Lynn was as garish here as he was with Poco's, but it's not to my taste.

  10. Donna says:

    About the fish allergy, my son and I both work in a seafood restaurant. He is HIGHLY allergic to shrimp, but yet he was able to peel and clean them using gloves. However, if he didn't wear gloves and just touch one, he would immediately break out and swell up.

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