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 (111)

  1. MattfromWA says:

    It wasn't my favorite episode, but it was solid. Yeah, we got the family drama storyline again, but I've resigned myself to that being a regular part of the show because so many of these small restaurants are family owned.
    I know that a lot of people who post here don't care for Lynn, but I thought he did a great job making the place better. Roberts idea with the bricks was shear genius. The only thing about the renovation that didn't succeed for me was that blue lattice work that Tom came up with. Nobody can nail them all. I always feel better when these places are (rarely it seems) clean to begin with. I found it amusing that renovation team was actually ahead of the game for once going into the second day and not having to work at a break neck pace and then Robert had to go and give them more stuff to do!
    Robert made a big mistake by not having the two owners, who are the primary cooks, in the kitchen for the relaunch. They couldn't handle all the people that came in at the beginning of the show, why wouldn't they work during the restaurants most important night, while he is there? That way he could do his quality control and help them if they started to struggle. How does he know that those two can duplicate the new items on the menu, especially during a busy service? The practice sure would not have hurt.

  2. jenlongdon says:

    I was saddened to see the communal table appears to be bistro height. Hence, it is a segregated table. No wheelchair user can join parties seated at that "communal" table. I hope the designers will keep that in mind in the future.

  3. jenlongdon says:

    I am saddened that the designers appeared to have ignored some of the principles of universal design in this plan. The communal table appears to be bistro height, making it far too tall for diners in wheelchairs to join in. I could understand adding some interest with a few 4-tops at the higher level through-out but to deny service to people in wheelchairs who might wish to be part of larger parties at the communal table appears to be a miss. I hope they will keep the needs and interests of all parties in mind in the future.

    • Nick says:

      I don't mean to be insensitive, but why should every design element take into account people in wheel chairs? There were plenty of other tables a wheelchair could access. The table looked very nice and 99 percent of people are able to enjoy it. I think it's very selfish for you to expect the majority of people to go without something because a few are in wheelchairs.

      • Virginia says:

        Nick, I think you are terribly selfish and insensitive. How would you feel if you weren't able to be a part of something everyone else could do? Pretty shitty I would imagine. Try a little empathy, huh? You could find yourself in a wheelchair someday.

        • Eric says:

          I don't think Nick is being insensitive because he makes a good point. The restaurant is wheel chair accessible, and there are plenty of tables available. Why isn't jenlongdon complaining about the vast majority of bars in the shows. I totally agree that we should be as inclusive as possible, but not every single aspect of a restaurant needs to be wheel chair height.

    • david says:

      Stop whining, I am sure that they have tables for use by people in wheel chairs.

  4. chubby bunny says:

    So… They were lesbians, right?

  5. Sara says:

    I work right around the corner of this Bistro. I had no idea that they were on the show, and noticed a good change in the decor there. I mentioned something to the hostess and she just kind of smirked and didn't say anything. There are a few on the staff there that are awesome and cheery and very welcoming, the others not so much. One girl who works there said the owners never agree on anything and one will tell you one thing the other will tell you another!

  6. Ann Proctor says:

    The most needed makeover is the owners. Long hair, uncombed hair and messy clothing would be a turn off if I entered this restaurant. Jennifer wore the same clothing the entire 2 days and that hair.

  7. Stacie says:

    I was surprised to read I a comment that most of the people working on the remodeling are volunteers who are not treated very gratefully..I thought everyone working was part of the shows staff…are they the same customers that come in at the end and give rave reviews…..maybe this is common knowledge but I had no idea………..I really enjoy these show but after reading comments maybe is more staged than I thought…..it seems like many of the places don't do that great after RI leaves….I guess logically it makes sense….how could anyone possibly turn around such failing restaurants in two days…..blown away mr the decor transformations though

    • Eric says:

      If you watch the show, you see many of the volunteers.

      He and his crew try to help out the worst of the worst. Many of them are going to fail, quite plainly, because most of the owners have no business being in business.

  8. foody says:

    Just to hit on a few things.
    1. The ladies that own this restaurant are genuine, wonderful people. They have worked very hard to create a great new restaurant.
    2. The food is from scratch, this isnt fast food and it might take awhile to get food. Im sure that they would do anything to make anyones experience positive.
    3. The show, though it is great entertainment, is quite a farce and made to be full of drama.
    4. Support this restaurant, communicate when the food isnt quite up to your standards and remember that an ounce of sweetness makes all the difference.
    I am a previous restaurant owner. Its one of the hardest jobs in the world.

    • me. says:

      I went to this restaurant, and saw the lady owners working there. They were dressed like hobos! They were not friendly, and acted like they wanted to be somewhere else. I guess France was their plan all along. Well, France is full of rude people and they will fit right in there. If they actually followed Robert's advice, they would still be in business.

  9. Veronica says:

    Raising Sun Bistro. The new decoration is worst than before the show. The new decoration looks like a day care. Bad. Bad. Awful.

  10. linda says:

    tried the rising sun bistro for the first time a few weeks ago for dinner. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like chef Robert made a lasting impression!! Waited almost 10 minutes to be seated. There was only one server who was also hostess, bus boy, cashier,etc all by herself. The food was spendy and trasteless. No seasoning at all. Potatoes were dry and lumpy,all poorly seasoned. The chef was nice enough to come and greet us inquiring how we liked his dishes, which was a nice touch. The server was very sweet and did the best she could under the circumstances. We're going to try again for lunch today and see if there is any improvement. we like to,support the locals, but why ask for the help of an expert, but go back to your old ways that got you in trouble in the first place ??

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