Restaurant Revisited: Rising Sun Bistro

by in Shows, December 19th, 2012

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleWhen Robert Irvine arrived at Rising Sun Bistro in Kalispell, Mont., he learned that this French food-focused eatery was nearly $500,000 in debt. On top of that, it was being run by three owners, Jennifer Griffith, Peggy Kirby and Sally Racine Truscheit, who couldn’t put their strained relationship aside to effectively run the business. In just two days and with only $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team put new life into Rising Sun, adding fresh, authentic French offerings to their menu, revamping the interior design and working with Jennifer, Peggy and Sally to mend their partnership and begin to ease their debt. We checked in with Jennifer a few months after the renovation to find out how the restaurant is doing today.

Since the transformation, she tells us, sales at Rising Sun have increased nearly 27 percent and diners have been pleased with the updated French-inspired decor and communal table that Robert and his team created.

While Rising Sun is no longer serving breakfast, its dinner menu has stayed largely the same since Robert left. Jennifer says that they’ve added “a cod dish, pasta [and] boeuf bourguignon” to their list of offerings, but she notes that Robert’s “brie and caramel is a big seller.”

Jennifer, Peggy and Sally have hired an additional kitchen staff member plus several more servers and a hostess. Since the renovation, the morale of the front-of-the-house staff has been “excellent,” according to Jennifer.

The relationship among the three owners has improved as well since Robert left. Jennifer explains that as a whole, they “still need to develop a more disciplined approach to finances,” but they now maintain “a more united front with the staff.” In addition, she says, “We help each other out, respect each other and support the decisions” made. They say there is “much more support” between them, and they are “more positive” than before their Restaurant: Impossible experience.

More From Restaurant Revisited:

Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri (December 9)
Bronk’s Bar and Grill (December 5)
Rohrer’s Tavern (November 28)
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 (113)

  1. K Buck says:

    After seeing the the show on Rising Sun Bistro I made it a point to see for my self on my next trip over to Montana.
    We were going on a monday only to find they were closed so we went in the next day Tuesday and were very much pleased with the food ( I had the salmon omelet that was great ) . Thank you to all those involved for their work. They too are the unspoken heroes .

  2. Pam says:

    I was excited about Rising Sun Bistro being featured on Restaurant Impossible. Several business owners & professionals in the area immediately offered our help. We were told, very rudely, by the woman answering the phone they didn't need anything from anyone! The owners have always felt they were better than the rest of Kalispell, and we were hoping things would change. We tried to make reservations for the opening night, and were told "you and everybody else!" Since the airing of the show, service is worse than ever. The new owners saw this opportunity as affirmation that the are better than the common Kalispell customer. Our group of 4 walked in, and after waiting 15 minutes to see ANYONE, we were chided for not making reservations. The place was empty! Food was slow, cold and way over priced! Too bad this couldn't help their rude attitude!

  3. foodlover789 says:

    Last I saw, the Rising Sun Bistro is closed. Food was truly unremarkable for the price, so it is understandable.

    • Know it all says:

      Yes, I agree. I went there a year ago and saw the nasty 1/2 inch dust on the ceiling fans (Robert would be pissed). The food was so gross I was sick for days afterwards. I got diarrhea from it.

  4. Former Homeless says:

    Restaurant is closed and building is up for sale.

  5. Carol M. says:

    I went to the restaurant shortly after the makeover with a group of family and friends. We asked if the large (community) table in front of the window was available and the hostess behind the front counter very rudely told us no with no explanation. Shortly thereafter a nice young man asked us if we were ready to be seated as we had all arrived. I said yes and asked again if we could sit at the larger table since there were about 8 of us and no one was sitting there. Without hesitation he said yes, we absolutely could sit there and the young man was a very good server but because of the rude hostess we never went back. I'm not surprised its closed now……

    • Jim says:

      Just read in the local paper that they're having a liquidation auction for the restaurant. Apparently the fixes didn't take.

  6. Karstin says:

    My daughter worked as a hostess on the weekends during the last few months before they closed. I loved this building when it was the Knead Café and thought that the plastic spray painted chairs were tacky. I ate there twice due to her employment and the first time I really enjoyed the very pricey French Toast I had but the second time I hated everything. I didn't like how they told my daughter the morning of, if she was to work or not. How can you have a life like that? It is no way to treat employee's no matter what their age, she was 16 and a senior in high school. She loved her co-workers and continues to babysit for one of the waitresses and one of the dishwashers is like family to us. She never speaks ill of people and only said that she wished everyone would get along. Now that the former tenant in that building The Knead Café, has reopened, I wish they could return to the Mediterranean space they once had before the tacky staged makeover.

  7. vee says:

    Maybe, just maybe, that is what she chooses to wear for a uniform? I did notice the same thing also and hopefully I am corect about it being her uniform. At one point she admited to using some of the funds for clothling & it didn't look like she did a good job shopping.

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