Restaurant Revisited: Sapori D’Italia

by in Shows, January 23rd, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleIn addition to his expected mission of renovating the interior and designing a crowd-pleasing menu at Sapori D’Italia in Fountain Hills, Ariz., Robert Irvine faced the challenge of mending a broken family. Together with their sons David and Jonathan, owners Gasper and Maria Manno used to spend much of their time at the restaurant arguing, something that was downright disruptive to customers trying to enjoy a meal. After working with the family to discuss their issues with the restaurant and each other and spending $10,000 on renovations, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team reopened the doors to Sapori in only two days. Today, the restaurant is a comfortable eatery with a made-over menu of full-flavored Italian classics to match. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Gasper to find out how Sapori is doing today.

Immediately following filming, Sapori’s revenue shot up nearly $8,000 per week for the first three weeks. Things have settled down a bit since then, with the weekly increase averaging a respectable “$2,000 more than the same time last year,” according to Gasper.

Returning customers have been impressed with the changes at Sapori, and Gasper adds that there have been “lots of new faces” coming by for the first time.

Robert’s new menu items have been high sellers and well-received by customers. The restaurant has incorporated his cucumber salad, marinated beef and chicken osso buco into their regular list of offerings, but instead of serving the osso buco with polenta as Robert did, Gasper swapped in mushroom risotto.

While Gasper is still striving for perfection with his servers, he admits that they’re “not so bad” after all. Chan continues to work at Sapori and is “doing great,” according to Gasper. David and Jonathan are working at the restaurant, too, with David managing front-of-house operations. “Now they want to be here,” Gasper says of his sons. “The family is doing much better.”

To Gasper, one of the most important outcomes of the transformation has been “having my family back working together.” Maria, “works very hard,” Gasper notes, adding that as a couple, they “are doing much better” since the renovation. Customers, too, have noticed a change in the staff’s demeanor at Sapori, as Gasper notes, “The guests have told me many times that they are also very happy to see the whole family working together.”

To Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible crew, Gasper says, “A very sincere thank you to the entire team that showed me the light at the end of the tunnel.”

More From Restaurant Revisited:

Windseeker Restaurant (January 16)
Whiskey Creek Steakhouse (January 2)
Rising Sun Bistro (December 19)
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)

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Comments (265)

  1. suzie says:

    I honestly liked the old world Italy look they had before remodel, it looked soooo much better..Im not much for the 1950 sassafras green everywhere looks like a grasshopper threw-up in the place, and the cheap look of the so called upgrades yikes.. I have no clue why they didn't just freshen up the few parts they knew were not working and just add to the lighting decor needed to bring out the classy italiano that was missing ? heck this restaurant was only a few steps away from Olive Gardens Homey feel & I love Olive Garden and that homey feel??? why did they ruin all the brick work already done and just a few cozy nooks an some table revamps a Vino Bar and fireplace this could have been all the warm fuzzy of DINNER with the taste of MOMMA's home cooking.. here is the biggest disappointment the destruction of the Murals to bad they didn't leave them! LASTLY does nobody on this show do any research??? hello Google, it the traditional symbolic flower for Italy is Rose while, White Poppy or White Lily serves as religious symbolic flower and according to popularity Violet is considered a flower symbol in the country, so why not try to add some floral interest that actually means something ..snap dragons REALLY??? I love to watch the makeovers but I was not impressed with this horrible outcome If it were me I'd be calling a contractor tomorrow and putting it back to original ..ASAP.. as for the food never hurts to make good changes that make it more profitable and tasty..!!!

    • Rda says:

      You are so right on.. Suzie….. .Robert Irvine needs to FIRE this designer..did she train at Walmart…. Where on earth would use a green like that, on a park bench…and the plates in the squares on the wall…seriously????
      If I were the owners I would have cried ….. in disbelief….

    • Bubbette says:

      I guess you are color blind and just have no taste.

  2. Lorena O says:

    La verdad que la nueva decoración fue horrorosa, mientras antes la barra de piedra con todo su encanto, la pusieron blanca horrible. Fue un capitulo emocionante, me encanto la familia. Muy buena gente. Ojalá tengan mucha suerte en esta nueva andadura !!

  3. Returning customers have been impressed with the changes at Sapori, and Gasper adds that there have been “lots of new faces” coming by for the first time.

  4. walterr says:

    Hi, does the construction really occur in two days? I

  5. Maria says:

    I was so happy to see the family come together, as well as seeing them wanting to save their restaurant. I wish them well.
    Although some things needed to change, such as the food, staff and management, the décor definitely did not! As a fan of the show, this was the most horrendous makeover I have ever seen! Clearly, the RI staff doesn't know classic Italian décor, for what they originally had was timeless. I hope Gaspare will paint more murals in the future…he has quite an artistic talent!

    • Derek says:

      The makeover was great. One of the best I have ever seen. You need to check the strength of your prescription on your glasses.

  6. @casualglitz says:

    I love the new look! Very nice.

  7. andrescavaller says:

    La verdad es que la decoracion es horrorosa, nosotros lo hubieramos hecho mejor

  8. Arnic says:

    The most depressing makeover ever. The puke-yellow bar, vertiginous green walls, crappy framed hotel art and senseless molding that replaced the warmth and texture of the original rock wall. The removal of the original art was a travesty. They painted over original artwork to make the walls purple and yet another color green. Ug. This looks not even remotely Italian. I really dislike this designer, but I find it especially troubling the way she acts disgusted, vocally dissing whatever she's fixing, in complete disrespect to the hours of labor and love they put into the decor, however inexpert she finds it. I want the first designer back.

  9. Chris says:

    They seem to have lost sight of some of the key parts of a successful restaurant. Food cold,
    Welcome. Cold … Waitress (Kathy) great. Dessert great. Granted it was Valentine day. Very busy but what is a better time to slap on a welcome smile and impress new patrons?
    Owner/ hostess was too busy to smile, she was cooking, clearing tables and seating people.
    Will think twice before I return. Sorry food had potential yo be good, but it was sitting too long, as was salad.

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