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 (261)

  1. jre says:

    We went there before and after the remake and frankly the service after the remake was worse as was the food, I don't think ri made any positive difference. We live in the Town and would not go back. FYI the family member son who was the waiter had to be chased by us to get a glass of water and was not attentive

    • FHresident says:

      Same here. They're food and the service has always been hit or miss, but the worst meal I've ever had there was after RI. We couldn't believe what they did with the decor. It's awful. We're not going back.

  2. Sam says:

    Food network RUINED this family's decor in my opinion. Took a classy restaurant and made it look cheap and tacky. I've always been impressed with the improvements after this show. However, this was the first time that I literally CRINGED! WHO put such a hideous shade of green on the wall…. with purple accents to the stone and old world feel. I think foodnetwork should send design network in to FIX THIS HORRIBLE FAUX PAU (Hope I said THAT right) oi!

    • gwen says:

      i know!!! I totally agree with you…. and How dare they to paint over the amazing art Gasper made?!!! Apparently, the "designer" doesn't appreciate art at all!!!!!!! Why did she had to cover his art work with plain paint and horrible decor!!! Plates? c'mon!!! Before the makeover it yelled italian!!!! beautiful artwork! That was sad.. I think they should have left ALL the murals intact..
      And the bar, they shoulda made it look better.. the bar makeover was awful!! so old fashion..
      well…. Hope Gasper makes his art again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Cindi says:

    I loved the wall murals sorry to see them painted over with a bad green color

  4. sohbet says:

    very blog thanks admin

  5. gwen says:

    Gasper's art wall was GREAT.. whyyy whyyy whyyyy did they had to change it???? i felt sad that they took the italian charm with that new interior design. it was so lame, it did not have personality.. whilst before the place was very nice, with the italian feeling that the mural art brought together. I hope Gasper paints his murals again utilizing the spaces available and takes out that awful decor with some Plates that meant Nothing!.. the bar "makeover" also looked sooo old fashioned with that colors.. Hope he changes that. Hope gasper incorporates his art again .. i was really sad to see the art gone..

  6. newg says:

    How dare they to paint over the amazing art Gasper made?!!! Apparently, the "designer" doesn't appreciate art at all!!!!!!! Why did she had to cover his art work with plain paint and horrible decor!!! Plates? c'mon!!! Before the makeover it yelled italian!!!! beautiful artwork! That was sad.. I think they should have left ALL the murals intact..
    And the bar, they shoulda made it look better.. the bar makeover was awful!! so old fashion..
    well…. Hope Gasper makes his art again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Margoux says:

    i love the fact that the family business is doing better….. and the family dynamic is much better….. can't get any better than that….. the people who criticized the new decor….. you could have helped by going there in the first place to help the business… .then they wouldn't have needed the help of FN

  8. Sam says:

    Great family who truly love each other. Wish them the best and hope they are still doing well.

  9. David says:

    This was a very emotional show,…and I loved it!!! Congratulations to the family on their new found perspective and optimism. I wish u guys all the best with the business and with each other. I look forward to the day that I'm ever in the area just to be able to stop over!!! For all the residents in the community, go out there and support these people!!!

  10. Gwin says:

    best show every loved the family. loved Roberts handling everythins

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