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. Guest says:

    If the show is a 2-day makeover, why was Jennifer wearing the same outfit through out the entire show? Even if they edit portions of the show, she wore the same clothes through out the 2 days. Really?????

  2. Andy says:

    It takes more than a two-day makeover to help a slow kitchen. I don't care how good a restaurant is, if it takes forever to get your food, you ain't coming back.

  3. @SexyGirl06 says:

    I visited the restaurant the day they started shooting the before stuff. I was not impressed with the service or the food. We then returned about a week after the show was done shooting and the food and service were the same. Looked like nothing changed. So I waited to see the episode last night and now very disappointed that the changes were not kept (other than the decor), I won't be back.

  4. @SexyGirl06 says:

    I wonder if Robert reads any of the comments to see how things are going. I would think these comments could be more accurate than some of the report from the owners. Customers like us really don't know how the finances are going, but we do know how the service and food are improved.

  5. Judy says:

    People – do all your negative comments matter? This show is doing a GOOD thing. It is TELEVISION.
    However, some of these comments should be heeded by the owners…

    • MattfromWA says:

      I can respect the negative comments if they are true and don't attack people personally or take cheap shots about them (like saying one of the owners needs a bra, which was in a comment I just read). At the risk of sounding preachy: reality isn't always pretty. I am sure Terri's son from 12-21-12 wanted to have a better experience than a long wait for food and snotty service, but the reality is they still have some work to do and maybe the owners will handle these problems now that they are in the open again.

  6. Terri says:

    My son went there today(12-21-12) and it took him 45 minutes to get a cheese burger and fries. Said the front of the house was very rude and uncaring. Asked him if he said anything when he left and he said "Have a nice day". Was questioned as to why he had said that and he told them "My mom always said if I couldn't say anything nice not to say anything at all." This from a 39 yr old Says he won't be back.

    • Annie says:

      Terri, out of curiosity did your son complain to the management at all?
      I was a restaurant manager for some time and something many people don't realize is that roughly 96% of customers that have a bad experience at a restaurant complain about it. That means those 5% that do speak up are invaluable to any halfway decent manager. How can you fix something if no one tells you there's a problem?

      The best way to have your voice heard is to be calm, level-headed and reasonable and to list the specific things you had a problem with. Say "Our server looked at the floor every time she came to the table, and mumbled even when asked to speak up" rather than simply "the server was rude."
      Some managers will let it go in one ear and out the other, but most will be eager to prove to you that they can fix the problems and make up for the bad experience on your next visit.

      I'm not trying to be bossy or rude, I just really wish more people would speak up about poor restaurant experiences rather than keeping it to themselves and just never returning.
      It may be that this specific restaurant can't turn things around (it's really sad and discouraging to read that they are still having a problem with apathetic employees and outrageously long wait times), but it's always nice to give them that chance.

  7. vanessa says:

    THEY KILLED ALL THE PLANTS just watched the show and i was shocked that all the plants that were in the reviel were missing from the actuall resturant. food was ok but way to pricie for the area sadly not a kalispell resturant that will make it.

  8. chuck in kalispell says:

    what viewers don't realize is that the actual staff of resturant impossible is very small, they depend on a hundred or so volenteers to do alot of the work and they feed you for your help. now don't get me wrong i really enjoyed working on this resturant and helping my community,but(of course there is always a but) there are things that don't go over so well.(1) they brought in a catering company to feed the resturant impossible staff and the food looked awsome and they ate like kings but the volenteers got papa johns pizza for 2 days and of course it was just the cheap boring cheese pizza.(2) you would expect that at the end of each shift that chef robert would gather the volenteers and say thankyou for all the hard work that everyone put in, well that never happened. (3) you would hope that the volenteers would be acknowleged on the show in the credits and thanked or an email sent to the volenteers thanking them for their help, that never happened either. as far as the pizza ok they feed us but its the thankyou that didn't happen thats most important and they cannot put on this show without them.

    • Debbie says:

      you know….last time I checked volunteering was doing something without expecting something in return

      • jbiowa says:

        But it's nice to be appreciated for your efforts …. especially when you donate your time and energy. Volunteer recognition is important for organizations that depend on volunteers.

        How hard would it be to send a thank you?

        • Dddd says:

          Thank you then. Stop ur whining!

          • MattfromWA says:

            I have to go with chuck in kalispell and jbiowa. I recently donated my time at an event and wasn't thanked before leaving. It just leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. I think pretty highly of Chef Robert and realize he is juggling a thousand different details, but he should make an effort for at least someone on his staff to take a minute to thank these unsung workers.

          • CherrieRed says:

            I also believe a thank you is in order for any volunteer. Especially in this case, if without them there would not be a show. Notice the key word is 'if'. They are "using" volunteers because they do not want to or can not spend the money and pay people, and it is very hard to imagine they can't afford to pay the extra hands if they had too, every big business is in business to make money and the less they have to pay out the more they have to put in there own pockets. If in fact they are using volunteers to save money it is shameful to pretend they did not help! Why is it so hard for people to show some respect, especially to the people working for 'free' not making the salary! People really need to be grateful there are volunteers willing to help. As well these 'volunteers' are helping re-make a 'failing business' at the end of which the people who own the business failing business are going to be making 'more money' so at the very least the business owners should be thanking the volunteers who are helping them. Have a little respect for the people who are actually willing to do something and not get paid for it and at the very least acknowledge they took part and thank them, it is callus to ask for volunteers, expect them to work hard and do a good job, then ignore them like they did nothing in the end.

          • MattfromWA says:


          • Mr. Fish says:

            When you volenteert you feel good because you're helping others, and the others feel good because they're getting help. Nothing wrong with pizza. Next time please stay home. No one likes a complainer.

    • katrandy says:

      Volunteerism is it's own reward. If you are in it for praise, accolades, fifteen minutes of fame, or even "cheap, boring, cheese pizza", you aren't in it for the right reasons. You should feel warmed to the bottom of your soul for the experience, and that should be enough. Do the world a favor and quit volunteering. Seems to me that you don't do it with the right spirit.

    • non says:

      you are a VOLUNTEER. you should do it just to be a part of it, not because you want to 'eat like a king' or seem to expect some sort of thanks or credit. Douche.

    • Cherri says:

      Knew there were volunteers but didnt realize they werent treated well. There really should be a THANK YOU TO….in the credits at the end of each show.

    • UncaYimmy says:

      I cannot fathom why you or anyone else would volunteer if not to be associated with the TV show. You got that, didn't you? Sounds like a fair trade.

      Maybe I'm just a little cranky tonight, but it sounds to me like the volunteers were treated like they deserved to be treated. Robert "thanking" them so that he can make a for-profit TV show that props up a for-profit business would be insincere at best. He's running a business, and he's getting free labor because he's famous.

  9. Mister_Tooty says:

    In my opinion Tanya's designs are hands down better than anyone elses. The guy's (I think its Lyn?) designs are just not cutting it. Colors are way too loud.

    • Another Tanya says:

      I completely agree! Tanya's designs are far better than all others and Lyn's always include some crazy shade of a neon color!!

  10. Kathy says:

    Wish they could redo the Wooster with the short, brown air – she seriously needs a good bra

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